Knowledgeable Worship

Knowledgeable Worship

Thursday’s Column: Captain’s Blog

Carl Pollard

Each Sunday, Christians come together to worship our Creator. But before we can properly worship God, we need to know what He wants from us. We can’t just come together and do what we think God would want. There is no guesswork required because God has plainly told us. This isn’t an article on our singing, taking the Lord’s supper, or reading scripture. But worship requires knowledge, and this knowledge will help us to properly prepare when we come together. 

If our knowledge is lacking, what happens? In Leviticus 10, Nadab and Abihu offered God something He did not ask for. “Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. And fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord” (1-2).

“Strange fire?”

Depending on your translation there are several different interpretations of what they offered. 

  • ESV “Unauthorized” 
  • NKJV “Profane” 
  • RSV “unholy” 

None of these translations speak well of their actions, and we read the consequences of their actions. They offered God a sacrifice without proper knowledge. Some would say that how God responded was uncalled for, and while His actions may seem extreme, there are several facts we learn about Worship. 

We learn that when God tells us how to do something, we better listen. We learn that proper knowledge of how to worship is essential. We learn that God takes worship seriously. 

I’m thankful that God doesn’t deal with us today in the same way. The times that I’ve caught my mind wandering in the songs we sing, or when I loose my train of thought during the Lord’s supper, I’m sure that God has had plenty of opportunities to strike me down. 

Leviticus 10 is a sobering reminder. And we need to ask ourselves, “Are we offering strange fire to God?” 

We can avoid doing this by having the proper knowledge of what God has commanded. 

It’s not about what we think sounds good, or what we think God would like. 

It’s about our Creator. We don’t need to guess; He has clearly told us. In John 4:23-24, Jesus in speaking with the Samaritan woman says, “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews, But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.”

What does God want us to know about worship? The people God seeks to be His are the ones who worship in Spirit and Truth. 

The word Spirit literally means, “As the source and seat of insight, feeling, and will.” 

Basically what Jesus is trying to convey is that:

  • When we sing, we sing with feeling
  • When we pray, we pray with feeling
  • When we remember Christ, we feel the weight of the sacrifice. 
  • When we read God’s word, we do it with feeling. 

God wants our hearts to be in worship. 

A knowledge of God helps us accomplish this command. Which is exactly why Jesus says to worship in spirit, but also in Truth. Our emotions and feelings are based on the truth that God has revealed. The truth that comes from divine inspiration. If we worship in spirit and neglect the truth, we are offering strange fire. If we worship in truth alone without emotion, we are offering strange fire to God. 

In order to worship, we must have a knowledge of what God wants from us.

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