In the Word of God, David says in II Samuel 24:24, “…nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing.” (NKJV)
What does this really mean to us today as we attempt to find out what God really wants from our worship? Obviously, we no longer need to bring burnt offerings to the Lord, for Jesus Christ fulfilled this requirement for sin when He died upon the cross 2,000 years ago. He became the “sin offering” or “burnt offering” for us as the sinless Lamb of God. So, in reality, He has completed the work and there is nothing more for us to do to atone for our sins if we have received Him as our personal Saviour!
However, I believe that God is pleased with our praises when we offer them up to Him as “a living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1). Another great reference about this is Hebrews 13:15 which reads, “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” (NKJV) So, actually, we are offering up a sacrifice to God every time we open our mouths to praise Him! The “fruit of our lips” is the joyful noise we make in word and song as we praise and worship the King of Kings! David also wrote in Psalm 22:3 that God “inhabits (or lives in) the praises of Israel.” We have all the promises of Abraham available to us today, including the assurance that our Lord will “inhabit” or live in our praises! How exciting is this! If you want to feel God’s presence dwelling with you each day and experience His blessings, protection, guidance, healing and abundance, just begin to lift your voice up to Him in praise! I assure you that He will be very present in every area of your life as you begin to do this.
Praise and worship are not just limited to church. It is not necessary to have a robed cleric speaking eloquently or a magnificent choir singing anthems of praise to enter into God’s presence. Nor is it necessary to have a praise band with loud music blaring and strobe lights flashing to feel the spirit! Perhaps you like the traditional, beautiful, anointed hymns of the church revered for centuries! Maybe your taste is more to the three-chord contemporary songs played with guitars and percussion. You may like the foot-stomping “Pentecostal” choruses, the toe-tapping Southern Gospel songs or the powerfully sung Black Gospel melodies with intricate jazz chord patterns! We all have our favorites; I know what mine are and you know what you prefer. The real heart of the matter is this: None of these things alone can bring, or are necessary for, the presence of God in your life! You can worship Him anywhere, anytime, day or night, and He will hear and respond to your praise. He will hear your cries for help; He will answer your longing, searching heart! You will know that He is on His throne and that He has everything in your life under control. It is a very freeing experience, because true worship transcends denominational barriers; it transcends barriers of style as to types of music; and, above all, it is pleasing to God. It is not about us; it is about Him and how we can proclaim His “worth-ship”, if you will. We were created to worship; God made us for His pleasure and if you are not worshipping there will be a huge void in your life that only companionship with Him can fill! No lover, no spouse, no child, no close friend or relative can ever fill the void that God has reserved for Himself alone! As we communicate in this way with Him, He communicates back to us in our spirits and we are filled, in the same way one feels full after a good meal.
If you have never been in the habit of worshipping, I urge you to begin today! Putting on some great praise music (any style you enjoy!) is a great idea. Then, get alone and just begin to praise and worship your Creator for who He is. Download worship music on your iPod or play background music on the radio. Worship involves every area of our lives, not just music, but this is certainly a good place to begin. It is truly the foundation for the other acts of worship (such as kindness to our families and neighbors, serving God in our communities by feeding and clothing the homeless and suffering, ministering to our church families, etc.) that should be a part of every Christian’s life! I challenge you to give Him your sacrifice of praise daily!