Back when I was in college, I had a professor of American religion who gave us a really interesting assignment. He had us visit nearly every church in town—not on Sunday, just during the week. The assignment was to sit in each church's worship space and write down observations about it: How were the seats or pews arranged? What was the visual focus of the space? What symbols were there? What symbols weren't there? Then, based on our observations, we were to determine the theological beliefs of each church. (The most interesting cases were when the stated theology of a church was contradicted by their worship space—but that's for another sermon.)
The point is, what we think about God informs how we worship him. And how we worship him informs what we think about him. I want to talk about three different views of God, and three different approaches to worship. The first view is the one largely promoted by the church. The second is the view most common in our culture. And the third view? Well, that one is much harder to define, so thankfully we have an example of it in Scripture. We'll explore all three through an Old Testament story about King David: 2 Samuel 6:115. In this story we see how David's understanding of God undergoes a dramatic transformation. As a result, the way he worships also changes. In this one chapter, over the course of just a few months, David's faith matures—he actually moves through all three of the phases. This story will cause you to ask an important question: Which stage of David's development best describes your understanding of who God is and how you worship him?
Worship that sees God as the "Almighty Improver"
In 2 Samuel 5, some really good and important things ...
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Skye Jethani is the executive editor of Leadership Journal, an ordained pastor, and the author of numerous books. He co-hosts the weekly Phil Vischer Podcast and speaks regularly at churches, conferences, and colleges. He makes his home with his wife and three children in Wheaton, Illinois.