II Samuel 24:24, And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.
When you think of worship, what comes to mind? Is it a church service that is marked by reverence and formal public ceremonies? Perhaps, your idea of worship would be best expressed by a less formal, more contemporary type of service where praise music, worship leaders, and a wave of upraised hands fill the house. Maybe, you don’t think of public gatherings at all, but rather, think about time in prayer alone with God. As you know, there are an innumerable number of ideas that seek to define what worship is and how it is best expressed. However, if we want to know how God wants to be worshipped, we must look to the Scriptures to understand what kind of worship pleases him, and secures his divine favor.
We are continuing our thought on, “Worship: A Key to World Evangelism.” But, before we can understand the benefits and outflow of worshipping God, we must know how to worship. Last week we learned that Abraham went with a singular purpose in mind – to worship God. Abraham fulfilled that holy purpose, and was blessed by the Almighty. There are at least five things that marked Abraham’s worship. They are significant to note, because they made his worship acceptable to the Lord and produced eternal fruit. I will mention one of them in this article.
Sacrifice. Abraham willingly offered to God that which was immeasurably dear to his heart. This exemplifies “spirit and truth” worship (John 4:24). We live in a day of cheap, frivolous, light hearted, feel-good, undedicated, what’s in it for me “Christianity.” However, true worship does not always feel good. It is often demanding. For God will sometimes lay claim to our most cherished possessions as an offering of devotion and love. Such sacrifice, test the credibility and depth of our worship.
Notice how the children of Israel ignored this precept, and met with God’s disapproval and judgment in Malachi 1:13. “Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the LORD of hosts; and ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? saith the LORD.” They offered up second rate worship, and for some reason believed God would accept it. In verse 8 of this same chapter, God told them to try offering such pathetic sacrifices to the governor and see if he would accept it. The obvious answer is no, he would not. Make no mistake, casual, frivolous, stingy and unwilling sacrifices, equals unacceptable worship.
David recognized the importance of this truth in II Samuel 24:24, when he said, “neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing.”
As with Abraham and David, true worship brings the worshipper prostrate before their Lord in sacred and humble devotion; freely offering that which cost, is dear, and may be painful, as an expression of their unflinching and sincere worship.
Are we truly worshipping God? If we are, it will be marked by sacrifice. Don’t forget, the sacrifice the Lord really wants is us (Romans 12:1). This kind of worship will be proceeded by divine favor and blessing. I want my Lord’s smile, don’t you?
Pastor Brooks Suttle
Royal River Baptist Church