The Two Sides of Worship

How do we balance intimacy and awe?

Worship offers a great challenge: to live in fear of God (Revelation 14:7) while walking with him in friendship. How do we approach God with wonder while claiming the intimate friendship Christ offers (John 15:15)?

The psalms were used in worship to help bring people in their humanness to God in his divinity. Psalm 95 describes the acts of worship in what seems to be contradictory terms: joy and reverence. David calls people to "sing for joy" and to "shout to God," but also to "bow down in worship" and to "kneel before the LORD our Maker." In God's presence, we discover his greatness and majesty in contrast to our humanity and brokenness.

Isaiah was worshiping when he beheld the Lord seated on a throne, and the worship of angels crying out, "Holy, holy, holy!" (Isaiah 6:10-8). Instead of being filled with excitement and joy, he cried out in fear, "Woe is me!" He declared he was unclean, as were the people of Israel. God responded by purifying Isaiah, and even in reverent submission Isaiah was in communion with God for the work ahead.

There is a sense of reverence in friendship with God. Yet in that reverence there is intimate communication. We can talk with him about those things that are most wonderful or most troubling to us. Yet we do not treat him casually. Instead, we worship him as we find closeness with him that we cannot have in any human relationship.

[Q] What do you feel more strongly for God: fear or friendship? Why?

[Q] Besides singing, performing rituals, or showing up for church, what do you think worship means?

Make a Change:

  • Ask someone to coach, train, or teach you how to worship God.
  • Write a letter or a song to God expressing your love and honor of him.

Excerpted from the Bible study Fear & Friendship: Two Sides of Worship.
To download more studies like this, go to ChristianBibleStudies.com.

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Awe; Fear; Praise; Relationship with God; Worship
Today's Christian Woman, August , 2010
Posted August 2, 2010

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