August 6th, 2009
(Portions adapted from an evotional by Mark Batterson of National Community Church)
Worship Is Our Response To What We Value Most Worship is about saying, this person, this thing, this experience (this whatever) is what matters most to me… it’s the thing of highest value in my life. Worship, in essence, is declaring what we value most.
To Ascribe Worth. Worth-ship to what matters most.
We are Hardwired to Worship Human beings are hardwired to worship. There isn’t a single non-worshiper here today. Everybody worships someone or something. Worship is non-negotiable. You can’t not worship! It’s impossible. Either you will worship God with a capital “G” or you’ll worship gods with a lower case “g.” You are hardwired to worship. Not everybody worships the right thing. Not everybody worships the right way. Worship is what we were designed to do!
The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. The Westminster Catechism
Vacuums (Exodus 32) Moses is on top of Mount Sinai for forty days. When the cat’s away the mice will play! (Exodus 32:1) “Nature abhors a vacuum.” Aristotle That isn’t just a law of physics. It’s a spiritual law. The Israelites couldn’t go forty days without worshiping. Moses was gone for a few days and it created a spiritual vacuum. The Israelites had to find something to fill the spiritual vacuum that was created. Why? Because we can’t not worship!
Gold Earrings Exod 32:2-3 Aaron answered them, "Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me." So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. (NIV)
These aren’t any old earrings. These gold earrings were a gift from God. Exod 12:36
The Israelites turned a gift from God into an idol. The Israelites literally used a gift from God capital “G” to make a god little “g.” If we aren’t careful, God-given gifts can become idols. In fact, the greatest blessings pose the greatest danger.
Exod 32:4 He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, "These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt." (NIV)
How could they worship a golden calf? But we worship little green pieces of paper with numbers on them. Is that really any different? I think our idolatry is much more refined and civilized. But if we’re worshiping anything other than
God Almighty then we are bowing down to a golden calf.
Doodle Squat Worship is Worth-ship. Worship is giving credit where credit is due. Sin is the exact opposite. Sin is giving credit to anyone besides God for anything. (Job 34:14-15) God, without you I’m Doodle Squat.”
We must realize that every ounce of energy, every penny, every second of time, every thought, every talent, every opportunity, every blessing is a gift from God.
Thank You for Your Gifts Worth-ship is saying “Thank You.” “Please” and “Sorry” and “Thank You” aren’t just good manners. They are the key to spiritual maturity. (1Thes 5:18) “No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you.”
Dance Party Exod 32:5-6 They built an altar before the calf. They sacrificed, they danced, and they partied like it was 1999. Moses comes down the mountain with Joshua and they hear this ruckus. Joshua said, “It sounds as if there is war in the camp.” Moses said, “No, it’s neither a cry of victory nor a cry of defeat. It is the sound of a celebration. He is not happy! Exod 32:19
I’m embarrassed for the Israelites! They were getting excited about the wrong thing.
There is nothing wrong with getting excited. The word enthusiasm comes from two Greek words: En Theos. It means “in God.” Christ followers ought to be the most enthusiastic people on the planet.
Consider this. Mark Batterson of National Community Church has a personal conviction:
He said, “I don’t think our biggest problem is not feeling bad enough about what’s wrong with us. I think our biggest problem is not feeling good enough about what’s right with God.
He said, “I think our greatest sin is under-celebrating!” I think I agree with him! Heaven is going to be a cosmic celebration. One of Satan’s tactics. The enemy tries to get us to focus on what’s wrong with us so that we won’t worship what’s right with God. Don’t let what’s wrong with you keep you from worshiping what’s right about God.
Here’s the bottom line: the Israelites celebrate the wrong thing. We were hardwired to worship something so much bigger and so much better than our manufactured idols.
Idol Excrement The Israelites were bowing down and dancing around the golden calf when Moses descended the mountain…To make a long story short, Moses melted the golden calf. He ground it into powder. He mixed it with water. And he made the people drink it. Why?
He showed them the idol was powerless to save itself, much less the people. The Gold that was once a blessing from God was now reduced to dust. (1 Cor 8:4 b) When you eat something, Nutrients are digested and everything else is excreted. They literally excreted an idol. I don’t want to be crude, but I think God was making a graphic point. Look at your idol now. I think it was God’s way of saying: your idol stinks!
Praise or Pride Every blessing becomes the source of one of two things:
1. a source of praise
2. a source of pride. There is no in between. It’s one or the other.
The gold earrings were a gift from God, but the blessing became a curse. Why? Because the gift became a source of idolatry! If we aren’t careful, the blessings of God can become a source of pride. And if they become a source of pride it would have been better not to have been blessed in the first place!
The blessings of God can so easily become a golden calf. We take the gifts God has given us and turn them into an idol. We bow down to the blessing. We have a choice every time we experience a blessing. We can take credit or give credit.
I love the lyrics from Blessed be Your Name: “Every blessing you pour out I’ll turn back to praise.” Not a source of pride! But when we turn blessings into praise they become a double blessing!
So here’s my question: is there a blessing in your life that has become a source of pride?
Is there a golden calf that needs to be melted, ground into powder, mixed with water, and excreted?
Don’t settle for a golden calf. You were hardwired to worship someone so much bigger and so much better!