There are really only two types of worshipers: one that focuses on God and one that focuses on self. Genesis reveals these two classes.
Pipe cleaners, paper, pencils
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
- Worship within the Adventist Church has changed in the past 20 years. List all the changes you can think of and then discuss the following questions: Have the changes helped our worship? How? Have the changes hindered our worship? How?
- On a piece of paper, write a short narrative describing your idea of the perfect worship service. Write what you see, hear, and feel as the service unfolds. Share your narrative with the group.
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
- How would you depict the two different types of worshipers? Bend pipe cleaners into stick figures worshiping and explain to your group what each figure represents.
- Thought Questions
This lesson focuses on worship in the book of Genesis. Read Genesis 3:1-13. How did Adam and Eve worship the Lord in the Garden of Eden?
- They walked together.
- They talked together.
- The Lord probably explained to them interesting things found in nature.
- Perhaps the angels taught them new songs.
- Maybe they took up an offering to give to the Lord.
Now read Genesis 4:1-4. These verses tell the story of history’s first “worship war.” What can you learn from the experience of Cain and Abel and worship?
- We can feel so passionately about worship that we are willing to kill others to have our way.
- God has clearly-defined parameters regarding worship.
- Cain’s worship focused on his works; Abel’s worship focused on God’s requests.
- True worship leads us to focus on the Lord, not on ourselves.
- Abel’s sacrifice pointed to Calvary and what Jesus did for us—the ultimate point of all worship.
Another story of worship in Genesis is “Abraham’s Test.” Read Genesis 22:1-18. How does this story guide you in your own personal worship of God?
- Don’t trust every voice you hear in your head.
- Through Jesus, God has provided everything we need to approach the throne with confidence.
- True worship requires that we are willing to give up anything precious in order to receive God.
- This story is less about Abraham’s sacrifice and more about God’s sacrifice.
- God doesn’t really test our faith in order to strengthen our absolute devotion.
Read one more story of worship in Genesis 28:10-22. Jacob is running away from home after deceiving his father. What do his dream and his response the next morning teach us about worship?
- God pursues us even when we have sinned and are running away.
- In spite of Jacob’s deception, the Lord spoke promises to him.
- No matter where we are, God’s presence can come to us and make any place sacred.
- It’s interesting that part of Jacob’s worshipful response to God is to return tithe.
- Taking the rock he used as a pillow and pouring oil on it was a strange way for Jacob to worship.
Applying the Message of Scripture
Gather in groups of two or three. Choose one of the following options and work on a solution. Then report back to the larger group when your facilitator says time is up.
- Option 1: As a group, make a list of all the excuses people give for not coming to church to worship: “I don’t like the pastor’s preaching,”“I don’t like the style of music,” etc. After each excuse, discuss how you think God would respond.
- Option 2: Perform two impromptu skits. Pretend that you are members of your church’s worship committee. The first skit depicts a worship service that centers on “oneself.” The second skit depicts a worship service that centers on God alone. Discuss how you felt planning each service.
- Option 3: Do you believe that your church’s worship service is something you could invite a friend to? Would that person leave your service sensing that his or her thoughts and feelings had moved from self-absorption to total worship of God? If the answer is “No,” brainstorm about what could be done to improve your worship. Share your ideas with your pastor.
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
- Worship can happen outside of church. Write down six ways in which you can worship next week, trying a different worship idea each day. For example, maybe one day you’ll sing, the next day you’ll close your eyes and “listen” for God’s voice, etc.
- Re-read Genesis 22:1-18. Do you trust God with your life? Do you give God permission to handle certain areas while keeping other areas for yourself? Now would be a good time to give God complete control—trusting that a lamb will be provided for you.