What is the nature of worshiping God? In 1920 a famous strongman known as Kid Dundee lifted a barbell that weighed 1,454 kilograms (about 3,200 pounds) – roughly the same weight as the original Volkswagen Beetle with passengers! How would you have reacted if you had been near that strongman in that moment? Perhaps you would have been astonished, and that overwhelming feeling would have burst out as “Wow! This is unbelievable!”
This is the way a human being is designed. Humans are impressed with superiority, and we hasten to express it in words or emotions. This example helps us understand what worshiping God is in its essence.
It is important to understand that worship is something that is inside a person, coming from the state of one’s heart. And it inevitably seeks to come out by expressing itself in various forms: in trembling veneration, in singing, in a joyful spirit, in a pious attitude toward people, work, school, and so on.
This sequence “from the inside out” can be clearly seen in the story of Moses’s worship:
Moses said, “Please show me your glory.”…The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped.
-Exodus 33:18; 34:5-8
Moses asks God to show him His glory. And in response, God tells him about Himself. In other words, God gives Moses a revelation of Himself. Please take note of a very clear sequence: God reveals Himself. Moses bows down and prostrates himself in worship. This leads us to another very important conclusion:
Revelation of God inevitably results in worship.
Why is this conclusion so important in our reflection? Because it helps us to answer the question, “How do we pass on the worship of God to our children?” One can falsely assume that worship of God can be communicated and passed along once you begin to have regular family evenings. This is not so. You may pass along to your children a religious practice or a good habit, but this is a “shell,” not the essence.
Worship of God is subtle and evasive. It cannot be “copied” and then “pasted” into other people’s hearts. It comes only personally, as a person’s response to the revelation of God Himself. And that is why we can confidently say that regular family meetings serve only as a plate that holds the food, i.e., revelation of God taken from the Bible. When children hear their parents share stories about God, they will be impressed by Him, and it will be expressed in their worship.
Adapted from Kitchen Table Devotions: Worshiping God from A-Z as a Family by Sergey Sologub (© 2021). Published by Moody Publishers. Used by permission.