|THE INEVITABILITY OF WORSHIP
HIS GLORY REIGNS
Oct 23 2009 08:00 AM
Ultimately, a man's choice is not whether he will worship, but only whom he will worship.
This issue is stated very clearly in the words God spoke to Israel from Mt. Sinai, words we refer to as the Ten
Commandments. Here is what God said to Israel on that occasion:
Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee
any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is
in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God
am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children into the third and fourth generation of them
that hate me." (Exodus 20:1-5)
I want to draw your attention to certain important points in this passage. First, God will not share worship with anyone or
anything. If we worship God, we worship Him alone, and He only has the right to receive that worship. There is no
other person or being or object in the universe to which we may offer our worship except to the true God.
Second, bowing down is always an indication of worship. Referring to forbidden idols, God said, "You shall not bow
down to them" (Exodus 20:5). Bowing down and worshiping are synonymous.
The third point is very serious: the evil consequences of misdirected worship extend to our descendants. God says He
will punish the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation. This type of generational
punishment does not result from other sins that men commit; this particular sin is so unique and so grievous -
worshiping any other God than the true God - that God says it will be carried on in its consequences to the third and
fourth generation of those who practice it.
The Grain Offering
The book of Leviticus refers to an Old Testament material offering, but, as with many Old Testament practices, it relates
to the spiritual realm and particularly to worship.
upon it, and put frankincense thereon." (Leviticus 2:1)
This grain offering was meal or flour that had to be ground into very small particles. As I stated before, this typifies our
offering - our lives - to God. God wants our lives ground very small. He wants everything so He can deal with it without
our resistance or opposition to His will.
When we offer our lives to God there are two figurative actions we must take: we must pour oil on it, and put
frankincense on it. All through the bible, oil in invariably a metaphor for the Holy Spirit. We cannot offer anything to
God unless the Holy Spirit enables us to offer it.
Frankincense is a kind of aromatic gum that comes from trees. In its natural state, it is usually white in color and has no
particular attractive qualities. But when it is burned, it sends forth a beautiful and distinctive aroma that typifies
worship. In fact, in most instances in the Bible where you find the word describing incense or scent or aroma, it refers to
So, when we offer ourselves to the Lord, we have to do it by the Holy Spirit, and we have to do it with worship. But
something different happens to the frankincense:
of the oil thereof, with all the frankincense thereof; and the priest shall burn the memorial of it upon the altar, to
be an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD." (Leviticus 2:2)
There has to be a priest to make the offering. He takes a small portion of flour and the oil and casts it into the fire of the
offering. But - and this is very important - he includes all of the frankincense. The worship (the frankincense) goes only
to the Lord. It is a sin to offer worship, to give frankincense, to anyone but the Lord. I believe this is a lesson that many
high profile Christians need to learn. In recent decades, we have seen too many distinguished, well-known figures
come tumbling down in disaster and disgrace. I think one reason may be that they have sometimes permitted their
followers to take a little of the frankincense and give it to the preacher.
As a preacher, I never want frankincense. Often people will approach me with flattering words, for which I am grateful,
but worship goes to one person only - and that's God. Remember, anyone whom we worship becomes our god. If we
worship the preacher, we are making him our god. And that is a terrible thing to do.
Worship and Service
In many biblical passages relating to worship you will notice that worship inevitably leads to service. Whatever we
worship, ultimately, we will serve. This is brought out very clearly in the dialogue between Jesus and Satan when Jesus
was tempted to fall down and worship him. Of the three temptations in the wilderness, this was the ultimate temptation.
and the glory of them; and saith unto him, All these thing will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
Then saith Jesus unto him, "Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, THOU SHALT WORSHIP THE LORD THY
GOD, AND HIM ONLY SHALT THOU SERVE." (Matthew 4:8-10)
Notice the order and the connection here: worship first, then serve. So many Christians try to reverse the order, but it
does not work. Serving without worshiping is not the same thing.
But there is also a functional connection. The more we worship any person or thing, the more certain are the
consequences that will emerge in our lives: first, the more complete becomes our commitment to the person or thing;
and second, the more we will take on the identity of the person or thing. Worship inevitably leads to commitment and
identification. Hence, worship is the ultimate decision, and none of us can evade it. Man was originally created to
worship. He cannot change this aspect of his nature. All he can change is the direction of that worship - from the true
God to a false god.
Let me give you a few examples of the false gods men commonly worship. First are actual idols. All over the world, in
every culture, you will find idols of wood and stone that are worshiped. The common term we use for this is idolatry.
Second, people frequently worship their own physical desires and pleasures. These become their god. The name
often used for the worship of pleasure is hedonism.
Third are money and material possessions. Millions of people around the world have made money their god. The Bible
refers to this form of idolatry as covetousness.
Fourth would be human political leaders, such as Hitler or Lenin. It is interesting that those who reject the Bible and
reject the true God with their political philosophies often end up with an alternative, human target for their worship.
Last, there are the founders of various cults and false religious ideologies. The tragic events associated with
Jonestown, Guyana, and Waco, Texas, are the results of worshiping the leader of a false cult.
Worship and the End Times
What do these types of false worship all have in common? They all lead to the same ultimate person: Satan. Satan
desires worship because it uniquely sets forth his claim to be equal with God. Earlier I stated that worship belongs to
God alone. So when Satan can receive worship, it reasserts his claim to equality with God. This was what caused
Satan's fall in the first place, as described in the book of Isaiah: "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the
morning!" (Isaiah 14:12). Morning Star and Lucifer were two of Satan's titles. In the verses that follow, the prophet
reveals the inner motivation of Satan that caused him to rebel against the true God:
also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I
will be like the most High." (Isaiah 14:13-14)
Notice the one phrase that is repeated five times: "I will." That is the essence of Satan's rebellion, the setting of his will
in opposition to the will of God. And, in the last words, we find the ultimate ambition of Satan: "I will be like the Most
High." Again, equality with God remains the ultimate goal of Satan. And the one way he can claim it is by receiving
worship, because when he does, he is identified, in a certain sense, as a god.
According to Scripture, there will be a brief period of time when Satan will come close to achieving this ambition here on
horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw
was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the
dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority." (Revelation 13:1-2)
A full study of this passage reveals that the beast is a human ruler, but the dragon is Satan himself. Now look at the
is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?" (Revelation 13:4)
This is the way human history is headed in its rebellion against God. Satan is moving and working throughout the earth,
upon nations and upon political leaders everywhere with the one supreme objective of gaining their worship.
Eventually, he will find a political leader whom he can so empower that this man will receive humanity's worship. And
through him, Satan will receive worship as well.
Because of this, we really need to be crystal clear on one question: Whom do I worship? Who is my God? Jesus
provided us with the only correct answer to that question:
GOD, AND HIM ONLY SHALT THOU SERVE." (Matthew 4:10)
Are you willing to say that? "I will worship the Lord" and "I will serve Him only?" That is the most important decision you
can make. It will determine your eternal destiny.
ENTERING THE PRESENCE OF GOD, by Derek Prince, Copyright 2007, Whitaker House.
|LIFE IN JESUS-MINISTRIES