When the story of the exodus is taught we often hit the highlights: slavery in Egypt, the burning bush, the plagues, crossing the Red Sea, Sinai and the 10 commandments, wilderness wanderings, spies in the land, etc. In all of that there is a very important chapter that gets left out that has something important to teach us about worship and that is Exodus 15. In Exodus 14 the Hebrews cross the Red Sea. They are told in advance that they are about to see with their own eyes God destroy the Egyptians. The water parts, they cross the other side and the Egyptians are killed in the sea. The very next verse (remember they didn’t have chapter and verse when it was written) says, “Then Moses and the Israelites sand this song to the Lord.” (Exo 15:1).
Their response to God’s direct intervention in their lives…their very deliverance from slavery in Egypt was worship.
If you read the song they sang what you will find is that they very specifically recount the things they saw and they attribute every single action to the hand of God.
We generally worship God for two broad areas: who God is and what God has done, is doing and will do in the future. So part of worship is the overflow of the recognition of God’s involvement in our lives. God does something on our behalf and we respond in worship.
We see this all over scripture. It is in the psalms, in both the headings of the psalms that connect the psalm to real life events as well as in the content of the psalms themselves that both speak to God’s involvement and covenant faithfulness in the past as well as an expectation that God will work again in the future to bring deliverance from a new set of enemies or a new set of difficulties.
This is found in the New Testament as well. In the first two chapters of Luke we get three songs: Mary’s, Zechariah’s and Simeon’s. Each one of them speak into specifics of what God has done and will do in the future to save his people. This is in Acts too. We find it in Acts 3-4 where the healed formerly paralyzed man worships God following his healing and then the early church worships God following Peter and John’s chastisement by the Sanhedrin. Those Christians’ prayer in Acts 4 is directly tied to the verbiage of the Sanhedrin, only in a defiant reversal of the orders they received to no longer speak in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:17 vs 4:29-30).
Worship is connected to real life. In fact, life itself is an act of worship when one is in Christ (Romans 12:1).
Because we tend to define worship as corporate worship we have difficulty on this connection because when we gather someone will select songs that will not all connect with where everyone in the room is at spiritually, emotionally, etc on any given day. That isn’t a problem in and of itself. The solution is that we have to broaden our view of worship beyond the assembly and begin seeing and understanding our lives to be constantly in praise to God as we look for and see God’s work in our lives on a daily basis. When God answers a prayer. We thank him…even sing a song like “Thank you” which is a song that recognizes God’s involvement in our lives most specifically for God’s deliverance which has as much to do with salvation than it does with God helping me with the things I struggle with on a day to day basis.
As we recognize God’s involvement in our lives let us make the conscious effort to give Him praise.