When I think about Biblical worship, there are two stories in particular that come to mind. One story is from the Old Testament, and the other is from the New Testament. Both stories, I think, powerfully illustrate what it looks like to love the LORD our God with all of our hearts, souls, minds, and strength. Both stories are examples of extravagant worship -the kind of worship that God rightly deserves.
In 2 Samuel 6, King David is victoriously bringing the ark of the LORD back to Jerusalem. There are a lot of details surrounding this story, but it is his attitude of extravagant worship that I want to focus on.
And David danced before the LORD with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting and with the sound of the horn.2 Samuel 6:14–15, ESV
I love this public display of affection towards the LORD that the king (of all people) is displaying. The king is leading the way in worship! Many of the people are following David’s lead. While he is dancing before the LORD with all his might, the house of Israel is joining along with shouting and with the sound of the horn.
Of course, not everyone felt compelled to join in. David’s own wife, Michal, was less than impressed by the way that the king had acted. There will always be those who are more than willing to point out the “foolishness” of you giving yourself fully to the LORD. Perhaps they are envious of your freedom in worship, or maybe they do not truly love the LORD themselves. Either way, you can pray for them, and we certainly do not want to intentionally offend people, but extravagant worship is ultimately between you and God -not between you and your critics.
In Luke 7, we see another powerful example of extravagant worship. This time it is not from a king.
And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that [Jesus] was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.Luke 7:37–38, ESV
This is a clear example of extravagant worship. This sinful woman was willing to risk ridicule and scorn by simply entering the religious leader’s house at all. She freely gave an expensive gift, humbly anointing the Lord’s feet with the ointment mixed with her own tears. She gave everything that she had -even wiping his feet with the hair of her head.
This act did not go unnoticed by the Pharisee! He saw it, and he promptly misunderstood.
Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If [Jesus] were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.”Luke 7:39, ESV
Like Michal with King David, the Pharisee completely missed it. In fact, he seems to be appalled by what he is seeing. Some of Jesus’ own disciples had a similar reaction to a similar situation (see Matthew 26:6-13). Not everyone will understand or appreciate our bold, liberated, humble, extravagant acts of worship. But that’s okay. We don’t do it for them, anyway. We do it for God, who loves us, and who gave Himself completely for us.
Noticing that the Pharisee was not impressed by the sinful woman’s act of extravagant worship, Jesus told a simple story reminding him (and us) that he who has been forgiven little, loves little.
Friends, we have been forgiven MUCH! Let us love much! Let us extravagantly worship God with all of our hearts, souls, minds, and strength!
For a printable version of this article, click here.
Artwork provided by my good friend, Brooke Gehman, an authentic and wonderful man of God, devoted follower of Christ, and an amazing husband and father. Brooke is a gifted Worship Leader, an incredible artist, and a Potter by trade (check out his website).