Friday, February 18, 2011

Ever Wonder About Worship? by Vicki Hoodikoff

    In Revelation 7:9 we read about God’s dream of welcoming all nations around His throne.  “Every tribe, people, tongue, language,” It states.  A future kingdom, composed of a multitude that is uncountable, gathered before the throne of God worshipping Him.
     I often wonder how that scene will sound. .  How did he know they were from every tribe?  John said that he saw.   Did he see the faces of the Buriati people of Siberia?  Or perhaps he heard the melodious tongue of the Ukrainian people?  Whatever the explanation, John saw it and this vision confirmed Jesus’ last words for His followers to “go and make disciples of all nations.”  It is God’s desire to see the multitudes, a myriad of people.
     The very first time the word worship appears in the Bible is in the book of Genesis.  Chapter 22:5 reads: Abraham said to his servants, Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there.   We will worship and then we will come back to you.
     I find it somewhat intriguing that not one mention of a musical instrument is recorded.  In fact, it continues to say that Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son’s back, while he himself carried the fire and the knife.  This is the first recorded picture of worship.  Abraham displayed this in a complete, obedient act of homage to his God.  The hebrew word for worship is shachah; meaning to fall prostrate, bow, crouch or fall down, flat position, do reverence, humbly beseech, make homage to royalty or God.  Ironically this understanding of worship has nothing to do with musical instruments or styles of music, genres, etc.  It has everything to do with a lifestyle of absolute surrender and obedience to one’s God.  
     The apostle Paul further supports this idea of worship throughout his writings to the church.  In the Greek it is translated into “proskuneo”, which means to kiss toward, to crouch to, to pay homage, do reverence to.    In antiquity times it is the likening of a dog licking his master’s hand. 
     The sacrifice God provided for each and every nation causes us to bow ourselves in worship before a worthy God.  YAWEH is our worthy-ship, our master in whom we are indebted and the focus of our complete adoration and homage.  This is the true meaning of worship.  Abraham set the example when he was willing to sacrifice his only son, a foreshadowing of God who actually sacrificed his only son.
      So all this led me to one question.  How would the nations express their gratitude and honor to God for sending us His son?  How do the Slavic people whom I live amongst display their reverence and thankfulness to God for supplying them with the “Lamb” of God?   Would they even use musical instruments to convey their thoughts to God?  What we refer to as “worship time” in some churches really is meant to be a life style, but can be expressed in part through the medium of singing, praise and dance.   I believe God loves to hear the unique sounds of the nations expressing their heart-felt love to Him.  The” song” may be the same one of adoration, gratitude and worthiness, but the style and  the instruments are varied as the people that use them.  The nose stringed instruments of Central  Asia may just sound as lovely to God as the grand piano of Europe when both are played in a manor of a “dog licking His master’s hand”.

     While the Biblical understanding of worship is really about a daily, obedient life-style to God, living in complete submission to His word and adoration to Him, as Abraham modeled, there is a place for us to set aside time corporately to focus on a worthy God.  Yet, how we “kiss toward” or  express that sincere love to Him will vary depending on each individual, each culture, etc.  Can you imagine the scene in Revelation that John saw?  Can you hear the multitude of the nations expressing there love to Him?  This Lamb of God that took away your sins, your neighbor’s, also took them away for those in the far reaches of Siberia and the ethnic groups beyond.  So let’s worship in deed and song and moreover from our hearts and minds remembering that the God we revere is worthy of praise from all nations.  
Vicki Hoodikoff has been a missionary in the Eastern Europe for the past 18 years.  She lives there with her husband and 2 children.  

1 comment:

  1. Vicki, I love this devotion. I can't wait to read your next one!