The Who of Worship

Written by Jonno Warmington.

As you may or may not know we are running a course on worship for one of this term’s Bible School subjects. We are now into our fifth week of the course and I’ve just been struck with what is really such a basic truth; God is big! He’s huge!

I know you may be thinking, “Ok, we already knew that.” but sometimes an old, familiar truth gets a fresh spark of life thrown at it and suddenly you really believe it all over again. Exploring the subject of worship is like trying to fully explore God Himself. It can be a daunting thing, simply for the sheer volume of it and yet, it is an incredibly rewarding thing to do.

To study the ‘whys’ and the ‘hows’ of worship is to discover the “Who” of worship. Without knowing the object of our worship all we do is make a noise. All our clever musical arrangements, all our catchy songs and refrains, our dancing, clapping and general carryings on come to nothing if they are an end in themselves. But to truly know the One for whom the “carrying on” is for – that is worship. Let me qualify that further; God does not require our worship as if He were somehow in need of constant affirmation from us. He is the eternal one, the Alpha and the Omega. He is wholly self-sustained. For “who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?” (Rom 11:35).

Actually, when we worship Him it is for our own good. When, according to John 4:23, we worship in Spirit (because God is Spirit) and truth, as Wikus reminded us last week, we worship in the truth of who God is. The “truth” part of that scripture is the truth of God’s eternal nature and not our own, often grossly inconsistent truth. When we gather together to worship, or indeed when we worship on our own, we are not meant to try to “stay true to ourselves”. We don’t just honour Him when we feel we are being sincere about it. Our hearts are so deceptive and will readily lead us down a path of introspection at the expense of fixing our attention on Jesus where it belongs. Our worship would therefore be as inconsistent as we are prone to be. Thank God that He is consistently awesome and always worthy of praise! When David was feeling melancholic he would often speak to his own heart as if it were something apart from him, sometimes questioning it, “why are you downcast?” and encouraging himself to, “put your hope in God…” and he would urge himself to “yet praise Him, my Saviour and my God.” (Ps 42)

God is always worthy to be worshipped and He is seeking worshippers who will worship Him in Spirit and in the truth of who He is. We cannot attempt to look more deeply into the subject of worship without looking deeply into the nature of God Himself as He has revealed to us by His Spirit and His word. And we certainly cannot do that without responding in true worship.

To reiterate; to truly know the One for whom the “carrying on” is for – that is worship.