Summary: What characterizes genuine worship.
One day last summer...
-->A group of teenagers and sponsors in a worship celebration at youth camp were jumping up and down as they sang. The music was loud, it was upbeat, it was enthusiastic. Streamers were waving, even confetti was released as the crowd jumped in time with the beat and sang praises to the Lord.
-->Across town at the very same moment a group of senior adults were meeting together in their regular Wednesday evening prayer meeting at their church. The room was totally quiet. The group was meditating, considering how God had been so good to them. When they did speak they voiced prayers for friends and loved ones who didn’t have a personal relationship with the Lord. Then they prayed for others they knew who had medical conditions that would require the attention of doctors and even hospital stays for some.
-->Earlier that same afternoon in that same town a group of daycare teachers led a group of 4-year olds on a nature walk. They went into a nearby field and the boys and girls looked closely at the beauty and variety of the flowers God created. They saw and chased some butterflies and realized that God made each one of them special. Their eyes were also opened to the realization that God had created each boy and girl special too...and beautiful in his or her own unique way.
-->On that same day in that same town a businessman knelt down in a hospital chapel and wept as he thanked God for sparing his wife, bringing her through a serious surgical procedure. He wept as he realized how good God had been to him, but also how he had neglected God. He wept at how he had allowed his job and his career to take too much of his time and had monopolized his thoughts to the point that he had not spent needed time with his wife and children. As he knelt in that room, he repented of his sin, and recommitted himself to serving the Lord, to being a better husband and father.
-->And across town that same evening a single mom knelt down and smiled as she watched her two young children sleeping soundly. She thanked God for the marvelous gift He had given her in them. Yes, she missed her husband who had died in an automobile accident three months ago, but she sensed a peace inside because she knew God would take care of her and her kids.
>The situations were very different from one another.
-->The types of expressions also were different.
>But they had one thing in common...
-->In each case the person “connected” with God...they experienced genuine worship.**
In the Old Testament...
--The Bible tells us that Enoch walked with God, enjoying such a close fellowship with the Lord that he never died...he just left this world and entered the other one as a natural experience.
--Isaiah, seeing the Lord in a vision, fell on his face and cried out for forgiveness.
--David danced before the Lord, celebrating and rejoicing.
--The children of Israel fasted and gathered for a solemn assembly, waiting to hear God’s instructions for them before they entered into the Promised Land.
--Jonah worshiped God from the belly of a fish.
--Solomon assembled choirs and trumpeters and people to parade in a grand praise celebration at the dedication of the new temple in Jerusalem.
--The exiles who returned with Nehemiah to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, when they heard Ezra stand a read from the scroll of the Law, stood as one, honoring the reading of the words of the Lord.
--Daniel earned the nickname “camel knees” because he prayed so often to the Lord, even though a decree had been issued by Darius, a Persian king, that no one should pray to Jehovah. He ended up in a lion’s den as a result, but God spared him.
--Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo, Daniel’s friends, likewise chose not to obey a decree of Nebuchadnezzar to bow down before an idol / image Nebuchadnezzar erected. They ended up in a fiery furnace as a result, but again God spared them.
--Jeremiah wept as he preached God’s message of judgment.
--Elijah called down fire from heaven, bringing glory to the Lord on Mount Carmel.
In the New Testament...
--The apostles gathered in an upper room, and saw flames of fire suspended in the air above their heads, and they heard themselves speak in languages they didn’t know.
--Stephen glorified God in public, even as the stones began to slam into his body and begin to take his life away.
--Paul and Silas, bruised and bleeding from a beating and persecution for proclaiming Jesus, sang hymns late in the evening in their prison cell, and the other prisoners were listening to them.