God has required worship from the beginning. We read of the first recorded occasion of worship in Genesis 4 where Cain and Abel offer sacrifices to God. Cain’s was rejected, while Abel’s was accepted. The difference was one followed God’s command and the other did not (Heb. 11:4). John describes Abel as righteous; Cain as evil (1 Jn. 3:12).
Nadab and Abihu had problems similar to Cain. They did not follow God’s commandment regarding their worship of Him. They offered “strange” fire and lost their lives (Lev. 10:1, 2).
What does this teach us?
God expects us to follow His will. When we do, He will accept our worship. When do don’t, our efforts are in vain and rejected by God.
It is not enough to say we are sincere in what we are doing. Does anyone doubt Cain was sincere? If so, on what do you base this conclusion? The Bible indicates Abel acted by faith, but Cain did not (Heb. 11:4). This means one obeyed God’s command and the other did not. This is the point of distinction, not attitude, but action.
Do you think Nadab and Abihu were insincere? If you go back and read Leviticus 9, you will see the Israelites were in awe by God’s presence. Their actions were from a desire to offer praise to God. Yet, they failed to heed His will in obtaining fire for the incense.
Christians are commanded to worship in spirit and truth (Jn. 4:23, 24). There is a danger in leaving off either part. Many are now seeking a more “meaningful” worship experience. In seeking such, they are giving little regard to the truth part of the equation. Feeling is the end-all factor that determines a good worship service from a bad one.
Worship should encourage us…at times. At other times, it will expose our sinfulness and stir feelings of guilt and shame. This does not make the experience bad, but healthy; sort of like an exam that may be uncomfortable but reveals cancer. We can then do something about it. The problem with some people is they do not want to know the cold, hard truth. When this happens with physical ailments we see that person as ridiculous. Yet, too many are seen as enlightened when they wish to avoid anything “negative” or “condemning” with reference to a worship service.
For our worship to be acceptable to God, we must do it as He said and find happiness therein. When we understand the nature of worship, a unique time of fellowship with God, and how it is a blessing, it will be a “positive” experience. We will not find it dull.