Summary: This was the 1st in a 5 part series explaining the purpose of our church. The first purpose is to worship God.
May 6, 2001 Isaiah 6
“We exist to Worship”
1. True worship is not an escape from reality. (vs. 1a)
It is something that happens in the midst of life. Isaiah begins this passage with the phrase, “In the year that king Uzziah died…”. King Uzziah was one of the good kings of the province of Judah – part of what had once been the united nation of Israel. His story is told in 2 Chron. 26. In the beginning of his reign, he had faithfully served God and done a lot of good things. He greatly strengthened the defenses of the wall around Jerusalem. He dug wells for water to provide for the livestock. He strengthened the army and successfully lead the Israelites against their enemies. He made war machines that could be placed on the city wall to hurl huge stones at an enemy as he approached the city. During Uzziah’s reign, the people dwelt in safety and relative peace. They enjoyed prosperity, because they had confidence about what the days ahead were going to bring. So long as Uzziah was alive, things were going to be good.
But now, Uzziah was dead. No one knew what the future might hold. Uzziah’s son, Jotham would become the new king, but no one could say what kind of a king he was going to be. Having a godly father who was a good leader was no guarantee that the son would be of the same quality. It was a time of great uncertainty and apprehension. What would tomorrow be like?
For us, it would be the same as saying, “In the year that the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, I worshipped God. In the year that Kennedy was assassinated, I worshipped God. In the year that the bottom fell out of the stock market, I worshipped God. In the year that the Space Shuttle exploded, in the year of the riots in Cleveland, in the year of the President’s affair, I worshipped God.” Let’s make it a little more personal. “In the year that I lost my job, I worshipped God. In the year that my marriage fell apart, I worshipped God. In the year that I lost the child that I love, in the year that my health went south, in the year that everything seemed to go wrong, I worshipped God.” Worship does not happen apart from life. It happens in the middle of life. Right in the middle of all my experiences, good and bad, my responsibility is to worship God.
Worship in here can never be oblivious to what is happening out there. Why do we worship God? It is not to escape life out there; it is to deal with life out there. If you want your worship in the sanctuary to be true worship, then you bring with you the baggage of all that is happening out in the world. In the Old Testament, the greatest book of worship is the book of Psalms. It is the favorite book of countless Christians throughout the ages. That book grew out of the experiences of David and other writers – some experiences that were good and some that were bad. David writes in response to those experiences, not trying to cover over any of his negative feelings or his questions. He pours out his heart to God. He is open and honest before God. But in the midst of all his experiences, his anger, his sorrow, his frustration, he worships.
It is a natural part of worship to bring with you the concerns of your life. We gather here, and we bring in the fears of life, the worries of our family, the concerns of the world, and we lift them up in prayer, and we seek God’s guidance and comfort about them.
But we don’t wait until God has changed our situation before we worship God. Some people say, “When I get a new reality, then I’ll worship. When the car is working right, and I get a 50% raise at work, and my children treat me like the king I am, then I’ll worship God.” Worship God in the middle of the reality that you have right now. The reality of worship and of our relationship with God is evidenced by the fact that we worship no matter what (i.e. Job)!
It’s easy to worship God in a monastery or up on the mountaintop. It is easy to worship God when the music is just right, when there are no babies crying, when the soloist shakes the rafters and when the pastor gives an awe-inspiring message. Some people worship God in order to get a new reality. “I’ll worship God in order that He change my situation. If I just tell God what a great God He is, He’ll be so impressed by my attitude, that when I walk out that door, my whole world will have changed.” God will not be manipulated by us. If you try to give God what He deserves in order to get what you want, you will be sadly disappointed. Worship will not change our world. Worship will change us.