We are told in various places throughout the Bible that we are to offer ourselves as living sacrifices, and that praise is our spiritual sacrifice. No longer do we need to bring the bull, the ram, the dove, we can offer a sacrifice by lifting our voices to God.
So the praise of our lips, the worship of our hearts is the equivalent to the temple sacrifices.
Samuel tells Saul that “to obey is better than sacrifice”.
So Samuel said: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22
God tells His people “the worship with their lips but their hearts are far from me.”
Therefore the Lord said: “Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths And honor Me with their lips, But have removed their hearts far from Me, And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men. Isaiah 29:13
Jesus tells the pharisees to figure out the meaning of “I desire mercy, not sacrifice,” that Hosea spoke.
For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6
But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ Matthew 9:13
Paul admonishes Titus that some “profess to know God” but are “disobedient”.
They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work. Titus 1:16
I don’t know if I would say obedience is the highest form of worship, but it is certainly the foundation. It may be both. Jesus lived a life of obedience. A life of obedience IS a life of worship.
If worship is coming to the throne, bowing low, and saying
“God, I am yours. Use me as You will. Whatever you command, I will do it. I am waiting on You, to hear your command so that I can do it, so that I can demonstrate my love and honor You by my actions.”
Then obedience is the very first place that worship starts. In fact, I might go so far as to say that they are the same thing. You cannot truly worship without obedience. And obedience is an act of worship. Obedience is the foundation and the highest form of worship.
So, the question is… Are we obedient? Or are we falsely worshiping, or rather, not worshiping at all and, in effect, standing before the throne of God and lying to His face.
Do we first obey God.
Do we obey our parents, the first commandment with promise?
Do we obey our authorities? Pastors, teachers, policemen.
Are we obeying the law?
Worship starts with obedience.
As James says in 4:17 “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”
Partial obedience is disobedience. We’ve got to get this right. Without obedience, there is no worship.
Step one in redefining worship is obedience.