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“They made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped the molten image. Thus they changed their glory into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass.” – Psalm 106: 19-20

There is a fascinating secret in worship. And by God, we shall uncover that secret in the few lines of text that follow.

Worship is intrinsic to human nature and whether we know it or not, we worship in most of the things we do on a daily basis. From the young man who adores his high-performance car to the young lady who thinks the world of her beloved, we’re all worshippers. Indeed Jesus put it succinctly when He said to the woman at the well “you worship what you do not know”.

She was a worshipper but she either did not know that she was one or did not know what it was she worshipped! Do you know that you are a worshipper? Do you know what or who you worship? Wouldn’t it be beautiful if you knew without an iota of doubt that you were a worshipper of the true God in spirit and in truth?

The truth is that everyone who believes in Jesus Christ is a king and a priest unto God (Revelations 1:6). In Hebrews 9:6, the Bible says that priests accomplished the service of God and in Romans 12:1, we are told that presenting (or offering) our bodies (or lives) as a living sacrifice to God is our reasonable service. Interestingly, the word service used in those two verses of scripture is translated from the Greek word “latreia”, which actually means “worship”. From these, we come to understand that God called us to Himself to worship Him and that this worship involves presenting our lives to Him in consecration. But we have equated worship to singing, forgetting that songs are simply vehicles to convey worship!

What good does it do if the vehicle is empty of the item which it was meant to convey in the first place? True worship is in the newness of spirit (Romans 7:6) and not in the outward or fleshly demonstrations of ritual such as clapping, singing or dancing. While these are important expressions of worship, they must not be misconstrued as worship itself because true worship is an attitude of the inner man whose focus is on God. It may be expressed by singing, dancing, clapping, bowing, kneeling or other bodily demeanor, but it must spring from a renewed spirit whose attention is fully turned onto God.

This emphasis of worship on a focus on God brings us to the wonderful secret in it. In the verse of scripture at the beginning of this article, we see that the Holy Spirit is describing what happened in mount Horeb when the Israelites worshipped a golden calf. He says that by worshipping the image of a calf, they turned their glory into the similitude of an ox that eats grass. The word “glory” in that scripture is translated from the Hebrew word “Kavod”, which actually refers to the sum total of an individual’s personality. In other words, they turned their personality into that of an ox.

They became like the one they worshipped. When we take another look at another scripture in Psalm 115:4-8, the Psalmist speaks of idols and their worshippers. In verse 8, he says “they that make them are like them”. In other words, they that make (and therefore worship and trust) these idols become like the idols themselves. These two portions of scripture reveal an important truth about worship – we become like the person we worship! This is the transforming power of worship and why God has called us to worship Him.

Now I see. I always knew God would not ask us to do anything if it was just for His own benefit. So I always struggled to understand why He would ask us to worship Him because I thought He was the one benefiting from our worship. Now I understand that God wants me to worship Him because it is His divine plan for my transformation. As I worship Him, I am transformed until I spontaneously express His nature.

Jesus said that the eye is the light of the body (Luke 11:34). In other words, the eye has the capacity to absorb the essence of anything upon which it focuses. If the eyes of our inner man focus upon God, eventually, our bodies (or lives) will absorb the essence of God (His personality, power, grace and nature). This focus is expressed in the place of worship. So now when I sing those songs of worship, my focus is no longer on the quality of the musical notes but on how the words of those songs help me to convey the deep and worshipful thoughts of God in my heart.

The thought that worship is God’s agenda for my transformation thrills me so deeply. I pray that God will enlighten the eyes of our inner man so we can truly and personally comprehend the meaning and transforming power of spiritual worship.

– Kelechi E. Nnoaham

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