Answer: “It’s butt.”
Okay, forgive my crude humor but I bet you snickered.
The first time I was asked that question, I started analyzing an answer. I assumed the bug would be human and have fear of death, or sadness for leaving loved ones, or higher thinking skills to try evasive measures.
When given the punch line, I laughed. It was a good ‘gotcha’ moment for my friend and it taught me yet another lesson.
Don’t always overthink things. God keeps things simple so even a child can obey.
So now let me ask, “What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘worship’?”
Did any of these words pop into your head?
Church, Christians, traditional, contemporary, choruses, hymns, praise band, musical instruments.
These are the most common synonyms to worship.
But maybe you are more poetic by nature and these images formed in your mind.
Sunrise, sunset, rainbow, rushing waters, ocean breezes, baby’s laughter,
Though all or some of those things may help you in worship, there is only one word synonymous with worship.
The only component necessary for true worship is God. When The Almighty is present every responsive heart will worship.
Too often believers argue about worship style. One group loves the hymns of old while another group can only ‘worship’ with modern choruses. Many churches try to offer both to appease the desires of the people. These churches are destined to inhibit worship.
Yes, I truly meant to say that church leaders with intent on making people happy have instantly squashed any hope of true worship. Sadly they don’t even know it. In these churches everyone leaves humming their favorite tunes, satisfied that their needs were met, and therefore assume that true worship transpired.
But scripture teaches that worship is a response to God. Therefore without God’s presence there is no worship. So you say, well God is always at my church. God is always in my heart. God meets me everyday when I have my devotions. Oh how I hope that is true.
But for most, it is not.
In the coming weeks, I will share scriptural examples of worship, how to know God is in your presence, how to prepare our hearts to respond to Him, and the effects of true worship in our lives. Along the way, I hope we’ll learn the mistakes we make to hinder His presence. In other words, I hope we’ll learn to quickly discern false worship.
True worship is a sign that God is truly in our midst.
By faith Jacob, when he was dying blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff. Hebrews 11:21
Once strong masculine hands are now twisted around his staff unable to loosen its grip.
Unable or unwilling?
As long as Jacob had breath and his heart still beat, he would grasp that staff and worship His God.
As a young man Jacob fled his home with only his staff. His staff was in his hand when he wooed his beloved Rachel. I imagine they carved their initials deep into its bark to symbolize their undying love.
I wonder how many times Jacob bashed his staff against the boulders of afflictions hurled at him from Laben or pounded the earth over his frustrations at the injustice of Leah.
That staff staved off danger from the beasts that threatened his family and his flocks. It supported little hands as his children and then grandchildren wobbled to walk.
After an all-night angelic wrestling match, I wonder how much that staff bent to hold his limped weight for the rest of his steps on this earth?
Somehow I suspect that after his beloved Rachel died, that staff shortened in stature as Jacob drug it along side his broken-hearted body.
I imagine the notches marking the growth of his blessed Joseph covered by hideous indentions as he bit hard into that wood in hopeless attempts to silence his sorrows when Joseph was lost to him.
That staff told his life. That staff was a symbol of the faithfulness of God.
In Genesis 32:9-12 we hear Jacob pray, “O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, O LORD, who said to me, ‘Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will make you prosper,’ I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant, I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan, but now I have become….
Now at the end of his life, his eyes beheld a resurrected Joseph. His feeble gnarly hands blessed his descendants. His grasped tightened as he replayed every chip, notch and bend of his life engrained in his staff.
Absent from the stage were choirs, instrumentalists, priests, or Bibles. In this scene, there is a man grasping as tight to his cherished staff as his dying body grasped his adoring heart.
One other was there. His God.
Worship is the response of an adoring heart to the magnificence of God. In the highest sense of the word, it is the occupation of the created with the Creator Himself. It is the pure joy of magnifying the One whose name is above every other name. Dr. Henry Blackaby
Jacob worshiped because his God was there with Him in every memory of his past and in every promise of his future. He could worship for he had the assurance of the mighty hand of God holding him tight. His staff was proof God had never left him or forsaken him.
What in your life is equivalent to Jacob’s staff? What bears the bends of bruises of your life? What reminds you of His faithfulness through the years?
For me it is my Bible. I bought it over 20 years ago, the day after God revived my heart. He took an arrogant selfish heart and created in it an undying passion for Him and His holiness. Through the years, I have recorded personal messages in the margins, crinkled the pages with my tears, and wore the book ragged until it nearly falls apart in my hands.
But every time I open it and read, God is there, and I worship.
Jacob is a man worthy of reflection. He was a man of many failures. He loved the Lord. He respected the covenant of God. He knew he was the chosen son. He manipulated when circumstances looked bleak. He deceived when it suited him.
He knew blessings. He knew curses. He had much, then little, then much again. God opened heaven to show him the staircase. Later, he wrestled with the Angel of God. He was dramatically changed by each experience.
He was hated. He forgave. He showed favoritism in wives and children. He suffered because of it. He knew firsthand the heartache of mourning a beloved wife and child.
His life is much like any believer of the One True God. Not one of us is perfect. Yet we are all blessed.
Jacob’s story spans 20 chapters of Genesis (Genesis 29-49). Only Moses surpassed that much ink. Yet when Jacob’s life is summed up in Hebrews Hall of Fame it is one sentence.
He died well. His greatest accomplishments were his son Joseph who was used of God to save the nation and his blessings to his descendants. The last recorded words concerning Jacob, he worshiped.
I want to die well. I would be honored to have as my epitaph : She blessed her children and worshiped her God.
For this reason, I will use the coming Wednesdays and share with you what I’m learning about worship. True worship. The kind of worship that blesses God, who blesses me, so that I can then bless others.
Come, let us worship together.