When we open our Bibles to the book of Job, we are introduced to three main characters in the opening verses: Job, God, and Satan.
By listening to what these three say in the first two chapters and observing how they act, we learn a wealth of information that has important implications for us today.
In my first two articles in this series, I talked about Satan. Let’s now shift our attention to God. (To read the previous articles, click on the category “The Land of Uz” at the top of this page.)
You don’t have to read past the opening lines to the book of Job before learning about Job’s attitude toward God. It’s because of his attitude that the drama plays out the way it does.
In verse one, we read that Job “feared God,” reads the NIV. The Message explains it this way, “he was totally devoted to God.”
The English word “fear” appears often in the Bible, especially in describing an attitude toward God. Our connotation of the word “fear” is usually a negative one. We think of it in terms of being afraid of the dark or being fearful of a monster – a child’s view of the world.
It’s this view that contributes to so many people viewing God in a negative light. He is the boogey man who’s out to get you, eager to hurt you.
A more correct understanding of this word is that it indicates being in awe of someone or something, which is a far cry from being scared of it.
When I try to think of things on earth that I have been in awe of I’m reminded of: seeing the view from the top of Pike’s Peak; witnessing the birth of our children; being a witness to people overcoming incredible odds to become a person of dignity, honor, and dedication.
“Awe” is a feeling of drop-jaw amazement. It leaves you speechless. This is how Job felt about God.
Just a few verses later (verse five), we see Job’s feeling and attitude about God put into action. Any time his children engaged in a period of feasting, afterward Job would offer a sacrifice to God for each of them, just in case they had sinned toward God, even if only in their heart. He did this with regularity.
Job’s attitude and actions are a demonstration of what we today would call worship. Job clearly believed that God was worth of being worshipped. It’s probably fair to infer that God had even give Job instructions about how to approach Him.
In a discussion of worship I think it’s very important to point out that God doesn’t need to be worshiped, for God needs nothing.
We need worship. Worship’s direction is toward God, but worship’s benefit is for us. Worship is good for us.
However, when worship becomes more about those worshiping than the one worshipped, it has become adulterated.
I have carried the following quote in my songbook for decades. (I wish I could give credit to its author, but I have no recollection where I found it. So I beg forgiveness from the author.)
- “Worship is the occupation of the soul with God. By a deliberate act of will we focus our thoughts and feelings on God. We look with awe at His majesty. We are filled with wonder as we view His omnipotence. We stand amazed as we consider His perfect holiness. With reverence we think about His love. With gratitude we remember His mercy. This is what worship is: awe, wonder, amazement, reverence and gratitude.”
Worship has certainly changed over the course of civilization. It’s important to remember that all of the changes have been prompted by man’s desires, not God’s.
I’m not saying that all the changes have been right or wrong. I’m simply pointing out that what we view as “appropriate” ways of worshipping are often based on our own ideas about worship.
In the first century church music sounded nothing like it does today. There was no harmony. There was little variation in pitch, resulting in little attention to a melody. The closest thing we could use as a comparison would be Gregorian chants.
Depending on the listener, Gregorian chants are either boring or deeply meaningful, which means some people like them and some people don’t.
I’m guessing that the first person who introduced simple two-part harmony in a worship setting was treated with extreme scorn. And that’s the way it’s been ever since.
Many battles have been waged between religions and within religions over what we should and should not do in worship. I’m probably going to disappoint you when I tell you that I am not going enter into that fray. That’s not the point of this article.
My point is, do we have the same attitude in worship as Job did?
Are we eager and regular regarding the worship of God?
Do we have “awe, wonder, amazement, reverence and gratitude” when we approach God?
It is those elements of the heart that will make worship the meaningful experience God intended for it to be.