Blessings and abundant life are found in Him through relationship with Him as well as through worship which brings us into His presence (Psalm 100:4)! Psalm 89:15 says that blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! We were created to have fellowship with God, to reveal His glory (Psalm 50:23) and to worship Him (Isaiah 43:7, 21). Relationship with Him produces worship of Him, a deeper revelation of who He is and we are changed in His presence (2 Corinthians 3:18; Acts 3:19).
What is worship? It is our reverence, awe and devotion of God. It is our love for Him responding to His love to us. It is expressing our love, gratitude and thanksgiving to Him for who He is, for His goodness and what He has done (Psalm 106:1). We are told to rejoice in the Lord always (Philippians 4:4).
There is a difference between praise and worship. Praise is joyfully telling of all that God has done for us and is connected with thanksgiving that we offer back to Him for everything that He has done and will continue to do on our behalf. The source of praise is the Holy Spirit who activates our spirit and soul to express our praise and adoration of God’s goodness (James 1:17; Psalm 116:12, 17) and greatness (1 Chronicles 16:25). As you enter into praise, meditate on what the Lord has provided for you through the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 12:24).
We are commanded to praise the Lord (Romans 15:11) numerous times throughout the Bible. Angels and the heavenly hosts are commanded to praise Him (Psalm 89:5; 103:20; 148:2-4). He invites praise from all of His creation (Psalm 148)! He is worthy of praise (Psalm 18:3). He dwells in our praise (Psalm 22:3) and it gives us access to Him (Psalm 100:4). Praise brings deliverance and victory (2 Chronicles 20). Praise can be a part of worship but worship goes beyond praise.
Worship is an attitude of the heart and is associated with surrender to Him. To truly worship God we must be willing to humble ourselves before Him and surrender every part of our lives to Him because of who He is not just what He has done. We acknowledge His rightful place as Lord of our lives. Worship brings us into His manifested presence where healing and fullness of joy is found (Psalm 16:11)! Worship is a lifestyle not just an activity that we do. We can worship the Lord anytime and anywhere! Jesus said that God is Spirit and we must worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).
Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:34; Psalm 107:1. (NKJV)
I will bless the LORD at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth. Psalm 34:1. (NKJV)
It is good to give thanks to the LORD, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night. On an instrument of ten strings, on the lute, and on the harp, with harmonious sound. For You, LORD, have made me glad through Your work; I will triumph in the works of Your hands. Great are Your works! Your thoughts are very deep. Psalm 92:1 – 5. (NKJV)
Oh come, let us sing to the LORD! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the LORD is the great God and the great King above all gods. Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD our maker. For He is our God and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Psalm 95:1-3; 6, 7. (NKJV)
Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. Psalm 96:9. (NKJV)
Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands! Serve the LORD with gladness; come before His presence with singing. Know that the LORD, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful unto Him and bless His Name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations. Psalm 100: 1-5. (NKJV)
Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD, for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31. (NKJV)
Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph! Psalm 47:1. (NKJV)
Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD. Psalm 134:2. (NKJV)
The Psalms speak of praising, thanking, blessing and worshipping God. They are full of expressions of worship i.e. clapping, shouting, singing, dancing, bowing down, lifting hands and speaking words of blessing (Psalm 9:11; 98:4; 150:4; etc.)! We also see that instruments are used to praise and worship the Lord as well as to prophesy (1 Chronicles 13:8; 25:1; 2 Chronicles 5:13, 14; Psalm 150:3-5). Bowing, kneeling or lifting of hands help to create an attitude of humility during worship (2 Chronicles 29:28, 29). However, it is not our outward motions that count but our heart (Psalm 51:16, 17).
These aren’t the only ways we can worship God. We can worship Him with our lives, time, talents, and helping others.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. Romans 12:1. (I like how the NIV translation describes our reasonable service as true and proper worship).
We also worship God by giving through our tithes and offerings. In the Old Testament, sacrifices to the Lord were designated as gifts or offerings. The people were not to come before the Lord empty handed (Deuteronomy 16-17). We see time after time where God was faithful to His Word and His people gave, praised, worshiped and sacrificed to Him. We also see tithes instituted, first with Abraham (Genesis 14: 18-20) and then in the Law of Moses (Leviticus 27:30-32). (See also Deuteronomy 12:5-11; 14:22-29; Malachi 3:8-10). The first tenth or tithe belongs to the Lord and we honor Him with our first fruits (Proverbs 3:9). In other words, we don’t give to Him last, but first (Romans 11:16; Leviticus 27:30)!
So, we can see that tithing began with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as seen in the book of Genesis, many years before the law was given to the children of Israel by Moses. We see offerings began with Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:1-7). God was pleased and accepted Abel’s offering because he gave the firstborn of his sheep. Tithing is not something of the past or only under the Law of Moses.
God is the creator of everything and owns everything therefore He is worthy of worship (1 Chronicles 29:11; Psalm 24:1; 1 Corinthians 10:26; Revelation 4:11). We are simply to be good stewards of what we have been entrusted with (1 Corinthians 4:2; Matthew 25:14-29; Luke 16:10-13). We bring the tithe (one-tenth of our income) and first fruits to the storehouse (Malachi 3:10), which is the church where we are being fed the Word of God. God didn’t institute the tithe to bring us under the law, but to get blessings to us as His children. Tithing places us under an open heaven where He is able to bless us and rebuke the devourer (Malachi 3:10, 11).
When you tithe to the Lord, you put yourself in a position for increase and blessings from Him. This is abundant life! God says the tithe belongs to Him, and when we give it back to Him, He is able to bless us with increase as the seed of Abraham (Genesis 22:18; Galatians 3:29). He blesses us so that we can be a blessing to others not to spend it all upon ourselves. Even though we are under grace through Jesus Christ, He came to fulfill the law (see Matthew 5:17, 18) and He is now our High Priest after the order of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:4; Hebrews chapters 5 – 7; 7:17).
In the New Testament, we see the wise men offering gifts at Jesus’ birth and Jesus Himself taught on money, possessions and tithes. In Matthew 23:23, Jesus tells us that we should tithe and not leave the other things undone. The new covenant through Jesus shed blood replaced the old covenant of the sacrifice of bulls and goats for He died once and for all (Hebrews 10). The other covenants that were not replaced are still in effect.
Tithing God’s way doesn’t make sense to us but it works! You can’t afford not to tithe! He looks to see what you will do with the tithe before He will bless you with more money. Money in itself is neutral. It is the love of money that is the root of all evil (1Timothy 6:10). You can use money for good or for evil. Money that is used for the kingdom of God to save people’s souls are true riches (Luke 16:11).
Being a good steward doesn’t just apply to financial matters. It also means to be a good steward of everything God has given you even your gifts and talents (1 Peter 4:10)!
The Bible talks about how we are to give. Giving is over and above the tithe which belongs to the Lord. We are to give cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:7), liberally (Romans 12:8), willingly (Deuteronomy 15:10), sacrificially, with pure motives i.e. we don’t give to get or buy favor from the Lord (Matthew 6:3, 4), in faith (Hebrews 11:6), with a good conscience (1 Timothy 1:19), and according to our ability (Deuteronomy 16:17; 2 Corinthians 8:2-5).
So how do you know when to give, where to give, and how much to give? Jesus says that He will tell you if you ask Him and are listening (John 10:27)! Ask God for wisdom (Proverbs 4:5-9; James 1:5)! Jesus is made wisdom for us (1 Corinthians 1:30; Colossians 2:2 – 3). He will lead you and guide you and make your way prosperous. When you depend on the Lord’s wisdom to succeed, you will see whatever you do prosper (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:1-3). It is important to give yourself to Him first then follow His lead in giving (Luke 6:38).
God has given freely to us and we are to freely give (Matthew 7:7-11; 10:8; Romans 8:32; John 3:16). We are thankful for His gift of Jesus! Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:15. Jesus gives us abundant life (John 10:10) and is worthy to be praised. The throne room of heaven is filled with worship to God our Father and Jesus the Lamb that was slain for He has overcome. How can we do any less now here on the earth!
Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!” And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb forever and ever!” Then the four living creatures say, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever. Revelation 5:11-14.