On a typical Sunday morning in churches around the world, we spend time in “worship” . . . which typically is translated as singing. I completely agree we are able to worship God with our singing, but is this the only, or even the main, way we worship God? What if there is more to worship than singing? What “view” of worshipping God do we give the children . . . and adults . . . in our ministries if we just refer to singing as “worshipping” God, but do not give the bigger, fuller view of worship as we find it in the Bible?
I think it is so easy for children . . . and adults . . . to get the mistaken impression that worship is what we do at church when we sing, and not realize worship is what we do everywhere, every day with our whole lives. If we want children . . . and adults . . . to have a fuller understanding of real worship, they need to understand what worship is by looking at examples God has given us in His Word of people who were real worshippers.
God’s Word teaches obedience is a key part of worship. Let’s look in the Bible to see what examples we can find of obeyers who were worshippers of God. Consider the following . . .
I love the account of Abel and Seth in Genesis 4 – not Bible people who you would initially think of as having much to teach us about worship? Oh, but they do! The reason Abel’s offering pleased God and was an act of worship is because it was an act of obedience. Cain didn’t worship as God wanted him to; he disobeyed and disobedience resulted in a life filled with anger. When we obey God, as Abel did, then worship becomes the result of our obedience. As we know, Cain killed Able and God gave Adam and Eve another son, Seth. Seth and his sons obeyed God and Genesis 4 ends by telling us this “was when men began to call on the name of the Lord”.
Don’t forget Noah. Noah worshipped God because he was serious about obeying God . . . obedience is essential for real worship. Genesis 6 tells us,
“5 The Lord saw how bad the sins of man had become on the earth. All of the thoughts in his heart were always directed only toward what was evil. 6 The Lord was very sad that he had made man on the earth. His heart was filled with pain.” [Genesis 6:5-6, NIrV]
Man didn’t want to obey God and this disobedience filled God’s heart with pain. What an incredible sentence. Genesis 6 goes on to say in verse 8,
“But the Lord was pleased with Noah.” [Genesis 6:8, NIrV]
And in verse 9 we see,
“Noah was a godly man. He was without blame among the people of his time. He walked with God.” [Genesis 6:9, NIrV]
Noah walked with God . . . he made the choice to obey, as we see in Genesis 6 – 9. Imagine being asked to build a big boat, far from water because it was going to rain . . . something it had never done before. Noah is a great example of someone who obeyed. He is a great example of someone who worshipped God!
These are just two examples we find in the first six chapters of the first book of the Bible. Continue reading and you’ll learn of other obeying worshippers such as Joshua, Caleb, David, Josiah and of course ultimately, Jesus!
Help your children understand daily obedience is a major part of daily worship because without obedience they can’t worship God. I’ve long been a huge “fan” of providing specific ideas for children to take what they learned out the doors of the church to live in their everyday lives. The first step to making worship a part of children’s everyday lives is to celebrate acts of obedience! Consider the following . . .
- Worship in class
- Allow children to share in their small groups what they did in the previous week to worship God through obedience.
- Worship in church
- Provide time at the beginning of your church worship service for children to share their experiences of obedience and worship!
- Worship in class and church
- Allow children who share to also select a song to lead others in worshipping God together by singing songs to God!
As children understand how obedience is lived in their everyday lives they’ll see worship as the natural outflow of obedience and a major part of their everyday lives!
Next week I’ll look at how real worship involves giving of our whole selves!