Hezekiah organized the groups of priests and Levites for their respective tasks, handing out job descriptions for conducting the services of worship: making the various offerings, and making sure that thanks and praise took place wherever and whenever God was worshiped. (2 Chronicles 31:2)
All my life, worship services have held some variation of the same elements: music, whether hymns or praise songs, congregation, solo, choir or orchestra. Prayer. Sermons. Announcements. Offering. Lord's Supper. Baptism.
2 Chronicles 30-31 describe a Passover celebration under King Hezekiah. They feasted (two weeks of celebration). They repented of their sins and smashed idols. They participated in the sacrament of Passover. I expect that priests taught about the Passover, the law, about God. Prayer, confession, repentance. Oh, the slaughter of the animals in the offerings.
Worship services today have become a lot cleaner, you could say.
I read the verses above, liking the idea of "job descriptions" for the Levites. (Good old Hezekiah must have had a gift for administration along the way,)
But what really tickled my fancy was the instruction, "making sure thanks and praise take place wherever and whenever God was worshipped."
Aren't thanks and praise, thanking God for what He has done, and praising Him for who He is, at the heart of worship?
I asked my FB friends for non-dictionary definitions of worship. This is what they said:
- our expression of his worth
- entering God's presence
- responding to the worthiness of God
- all of you responding to all God is
- centering all your being on God
- expressions of a God focused heart
I love the definitions, their depth and breadth. Several fall under the "praise and thanks" category. Others fall into worship being the guiding rule of our lives: Loving God with all our hearts, strength, souls, minds. It's our living sacrifice.
Perhaps the takeaway is that worship should be an attitude, a habit of our lives. It's not confined to certain places or times.
And looking to God with thanks and praise is always a good place to start.