Why Worship?

Text: Genesis 12:8
From there he moved on to the hill country on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the Lord and invoked the name of the Lord. (NRSV)

This section of Scripture comes at the very beginning of Abram’s call to follow God.  We are no more than 8 verses into the story and Abram is building an altar to worship God.  As a child and a youth, I used to wonder what worship was all about.  In all honesty, I struggled with a God that seemed to “need” to be worshiped.  But as I grew older, I began to realize that it was not God who needed to be worshiped but it was I who needed to worship God.

If you read this text carefully, you will see that Abram set up the altar between Bethel and Ai. Bethel is a Hebrew word that is translated into English as House of God.  So, one could say that it represents the place where God resides.  Ai, on the other hand, represents the world.  

Abram’s altar sits between the presence of God and the business and brokenness of the world. As I think about that, it reminds me of how important worship is.  It is the place where I can be refreshed by God so that I might be able to live in a busy and broken world.

Yes, it is I who needs worship not God.  It is I who need the times of refreshing that fill me with the Holy Spirit.  It is I who need the times of rejoicing when, quite frankly, I often find little worth rejoicing about in the busy and broken world.  It is I who need to give back to God the best of what God has given to me.  Because when I do not give back, what I have received has the tendency to grow tentacles that entrap me and pull me away from God.  More than that, if I do not give the best back to God, what I have begins to grow stale and meaningless.  Without worship, I quickly become empty and this sort of emptiness can only be filled by God in the act of my worship.

Are you in need of refreshing?  Are you in need of rejoicing?  Are you in need of giving back? Then pitch your tent between Bethel and Ai, build an altar, and worship God.  Trust me, you need it.

Pray with me:

God, you are worthy of our praise.  You generously give to us of all you have created.  You refresh us in our times of dryness.  You empower us in our times of brokenness.  You truly give us a reason to rejoice.  Accept my humble worship this day and every day.  AMEN.

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