A Biblical Model of Worship

By Jonathan Jones, Contributor
July 09, 2018

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Isaiah 6:1-8

Worship is a sacred dialogue. It is humankind's response to a holy God. He alone is the initiator, and man is the responder. Worship in its most basic sense is glorifying God. This certainly implies that all of life is worship. Paul says as much in Romans 12 when he tells us to present our bodies as living sacrifices, which is our spiritual act of worship. It is indeed an action and not only an action but a continuous action, implying that we are called to worship God each moment of our lives. Building upon this foundation of worship, however, there is also the aspect of corporate and personal worship, both of which are crucial to the church and the individual believer. They are subcategories of what I refer to as primary worship (or lifestyle worship), but they are reflections of it as well. We often focus on the secondary issues of worship and to the detriment of the church. In fact, the secondary issues we tend to focus on (issues such as style of music and attire) are often not crucial to carrying out the primary purpose of worship, namely responding to a holy God. If anything, the fact that we focus on these issues reveals more about our hearts in that we attempt to please ourselves instead of the one worship is designed for. We must focus solely on a holy and triune God and his desires. It is about him at all times, and we must never waver from that. In order for that to happen, we should be biblical, meaning that scripture should be the acid test by which we measure our worship. The model we use must be scripture. What does a biblical model of worship resemble then? I submit that Isaiah 6 is an astounding model to use when determining what biblical worship looks like. This particular passage of scripture clearly presents a biblical model of worship, one which we should take note of and examine our own hearts and worship to fit.

Isaiah 6:1-8 (ESV)

Isaiah's Vision of the Lord

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called to another and said:
"Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!"
4 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 And I said: "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!"
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth and said: "Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for."

Isaiah's Commission from the Lord

8 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here I am! Send me."

Worship Is Initiated by God through His Revelation (vv. 1-3)

It is crucial that we realize this sacred dialogue called worship is initiated by God through his revelation of himself. We merely respond to who he is. We do not initiate this dialogue in any way; nor will we ever. Worship will always be a response to God. We are told that Isaiah's vision occurred in the year that King Uzziah died. Why is this even mentioned? What is the significance of King Uzziah's death? Uzziah was king of Judah in the 8th century BC. Although Isaiah prophesied to this kingdom, much of his message was very relevant to the northern kingdom of Israel as well, which was eventually conquered by the Assyrians during his ministry. During Uzziah's reign, prosperity was prevalent. It was the theme of his kingdom for much of his reign. However, 2 Chronicles 26:16-21 gives us some perspective on why his death was so significant.

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