W is for…? Worship! Of course. (Considering that’s what this blog is all about).
No trick question there, but let’s delve a little deeper because ‘W’ is for so much more.
One of my favorite passages on worship is from Acts 16. Paul and Silas were badly beaten up but beaten up to near death. Not only that but they are thrown into a cold, dark, and wet prison hole, with their feet fastened in stocks.
Their bodies are aching, they’re shaking from shock, they can’t see a thing, and they’re probably considering for a moment this life they chose. I know I would’ve asked a few questions about protection, and the angels, and much more in a moment like that. But, they responded with worship.
ACTS 16:25-32 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
God always deserves our unconditional worship. In reading the story of Paul and Silas, I’m definitely reminded of that, but I think there’s even more to learn from them. Paul and Silas knew a greater secret to the essence of worship. Worship is far more than a song.
Paul and Silas’ worship was firstly a Well.
Where do we draw from when we are in need? From God — from the endless well of refreshing water that Jesus promised to anyone who thirsts. Water represents life, and Paul and Silas realized that the wellspring of life was readily available amidst their dire reality.
I can imagine their inner reasoning: “Let’s sing to the refresher of our souls.” “Let’s draw near and draw from His love and power in our weakness.”
Whenever we worship God, He, in his unfathomed grace, refreshes us in return. Worship is a Well.
Secondly, worship is a Weapon.
“And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened.” Acts 16:26
We see this principle throughout the Bible, starting with the Israelite armies. Whenever we worship, we pick up one of our “weapons of warfare” and face the battle. And through Christ, every battle is a victory.
Paul and Silas knew that they could overcome — that if their praises of Almighty God went before them, they would be victorious. When we worship, God acts, and He bring the breakthrough we can’t.
Lastly, worship is a Witness.
“and the prisoners were listening to them” Acts 16:25
“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household. ” Acts 16:31
When we worship, the world tunes in. Imagine how stunned the other prisoners were when they heard these songs rising from the dark inner prison and from those who’ve just been beaten up severely.
Our worship is loudest when it’s the hardest, and here, not only did Paul and Silas benefit from their own singing, but everyone around them. Is that not part of the purpose of our worship, that others will join in our song? If we keep it to ourselves, the well will fill up and waste the water, but if we share it, others will “believe in the Lord Jesus, and will be saved, them and their households!”
So W is not only for Worship, but also a reminder that our Worship is a Well, a Weapon, and a Witness.