(Thoughts after reading Chapter 2 of “On Offering” by H. C. Kim)
What does “worship” mean in the bible? It is the translation of the word that literally means “bow down” (Exodus 34:14; Revelation 4:10). Arthur Pink says,
“We owe worship to God. It is his due. We owe love to man and obedience to parents, but worship to God. It is our first duty toward him. He is the all holy, all wise, the Almighty, the Infinite, all perfect One, and our rightful attitude toward him is that of bowing before him, or prostrating ourselves before him, in adoring contemplation of his infinite loveliness and glory, of his attributes, of himself. If we do not worship God, we are robbing him of what is his due. It is not enough that we obey him, that we pray to him, that we return thanks to him, that we seek to serve him and do his will. We must worship.” (Arthur Pink, Worship)
It is worth while to remind ourselves that worship is not a collection of prayers, singing, preaching, and others. One my pray earnestly, and sing gratefully, listen to preaching carefully, but yet, participation in a “worship service” doesn’t mean that we bowed and that God has accepted it. We have to bow, consciously.
Now a little more thought on worshipping, that is, bowing to God:
- How. If Jesus were in front of me, a thousand bows wouldn’t be enough. But the real difficulty is that God sees through the physical form and looks straight into the soul. So no one can bow superficially to God; He knows whether you bowed or not and it is all determined by the state of your soul. That is why our Lord said “true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23). When we bow to God, we bow spiritually and truthfully, especially in the Holy Spirit and to the true God revealed to us by His Words.
- Direction. When we bow, we bow towards the person to be revered, not with that person behind us. But as our Lord said (John 4:20), God is not confined in a certain area. And as our bow is spiritual, the direction of our bow is also spiritual; and in this spiritual sense the Scripture tells us to bow toward God’s Throne of Glory (Revelation 4:10). That means not only we are bowing as a creature to the Creator, but also as His people to the King.
When the Holy Spirit leads us to the state of true worship, we naturally want to praise Him, listen to Him, seek His glory, and offer ourselves to Him. That is why we sing praises, read the Bible, pray, and give offering in a typical worship time.
In particular, when we think of offering anything to God, we know that He deserves everything, even the very existence of ourselves. The things we bring to Him is only a token, representing all that is given to us.
Nonetheless, with our sin we corrupt anything that is given to us. So every offering has to be given in Christ (Colossians 3:17).
Indeed, the basis of God’s acceptance of us is that we are united to Christ; so we were crucified in Christ, and we now live as Christ’s. Any offering to God has to be a confession of the offering of all of oneself in Christ.
The fact that Christians are mystically united with Christ and that the Church form the organic body of Christ is beautifully demonstrated when the congregation gather and worship, that is, bow to God as Church in one Spirit.
And when we gather on Lord’s day and spend that day worshipping God, that again is an offering to God; offering of the time. It is a token, representing all of our time, reflecting our desire that all of our time be like this worship, acknowledging God as God, living as a member of the Body of Christ rather than individual creature.