Vigilance in worship

It takes effort, consistency, and sacrifice to worship God in a way that he desires.

It takes effort, consistency, and sacrifice to worship God in a way that he desires.

Worship today has come to mean many different things to different people. For most, worship is what happens every Sunday at the local church building from 10:30 am to noon. The style of worship varies; some prefer traditional hymns in a quiet, classical style from the European Middle Ages; for others, it is a celebratory party-like atmosphere with flashy performances and contemporary, upbeat tunes. In yet other congregations, it is complete silence, waiting for God’s Spirit to move upon someone to speak and provide insights from God’s holy perspective.

In the Bible, we see that worship encompassed many of these different expressions. The priesthood of Israel had specific and intentional responsibilities within the service of the Temple that had grown and morphed over time. While their primary sacrificial duties were laid down by Moses, as the temple was established in the days of David and Solomon, we find that other duties relative to music and singing became established within the realm of the priestly worship.

1 Chronicles 23:1-5 – When David was old and full of days, he installed his son Solomon as king over Israel. Then he gathered all the leaders of Israel, the priests, and the Levites. The Levites thirty years old or more were counted; the total number of men was thirty-eight thousand by headcount. “Of these,” David said, “twenty-four thousand are to be in charge of the work on Yahweh’s temple, six thousand are to be officers and judges, four thousand are to be gatekeepers, and four thousand are to praise Yahweh with the instruments that I have made for worship.”

These traditions carried on throughout the years and became part of the Israelite priestly and liturgical environment. However, with the destruction of the second temple in 70 A.D., the earthly priesthood and the liturgy of the temple worship were abolished. There were no more proscribed rites or ceremonies for the people of God in relation to liturgical worship.

Now, don’t think that I am saying it is somehow wrong or misguided to continue to create songs or sing together to honor and praise God; that is not the point. In fact, believers in Messiah have been encouraged by Paul to do so.

Ephesians 5:18-20 – …be filled by the Spirit: speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music with your heart to Yahweh, giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Yeshua Messiah…

Rather, I am describing something that goes beyond any type of liturgical and sometimes mechanical praise toward to God. Even though the second temple was still standing in Paul’s day, God had provided him insights into the future of his Kingdom and the coming age. Paul knew that God was working a spiritual work among his people that would far surpass any physical representation or temple service that God could provide.

When it came to describing the type of worship that was acceptable to God, Paul naturally grabbed hold of a principle taught by Yeshua about what true worship in the service of God looks like:

Romans 12:1 – Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship.

The believers who were presenting themselves, body and spirit, to God were the ones who were honoring the true spirit of worship that God desires. Yeshua had taught this same principle.

John 4:23-24 – “But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship him. “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and in truth.”

Living a life of sacrifice means diligently and consistently laying down our own desires at the feet of God and seeking to accomplish his purpose in our life. This is the path of believers in abiding in him, walking according to his commandments above the demands of the culture around them. To love Yahweh your God with all your heart, mind, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself, to truly do this, is to walk a sacrificial path of true worship that honors God and brings glory to his name. The new covenant is a martyr’s covenant; we must die to ourselves in order to live for him.

Matthew 16:24-25 – Then Yeshua said to his disciples, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me will find it.

This is the heart of true worship: becoming a living sacrifice where every thought is captive to Messiah and every action is an action based on the love of God for all of his Creation. This is where true worship lies, not in the halls of music and self-performance, but in the quiet and determined attitude of self-sacrifice.


If you enjoy these daily articles, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com

The water of life flowing everywhere

It is now available for all who are thirsty.

John 4:13-14 – Yeshua said, “Everyone who drinks from this water will get thirsty again. “But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again. In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up in him for eternal life.”

When Yeshua met with the woman at Jacob’s well in Samaria, he was revealing to this woman more than she understood. When offered living water, she instead thought of natural water that would not require her to come to the well every day to draw it out. However, Yeshua was not speaking to her of water to physically drink, but of a type of water that would bring spiritual life to those who partook of it.

Since the Samaritans did not accept the prophetic writings as Scripture but just the five books of Moses, it is likely she did not recognize that the reference Yeshua makes is to a passage in Ezekiel. This is where the spiritual temple that Ezekiel describes in great detail concludes with a description of a river which flows from the temple.

Ezekiel 47:1, 9 – Then he brought me back to the entrance of the temple and there was water flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the temple faced east. The water was coming down from under the south side of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar. … “Every kind of living creature that swarms will live wherever the river flows, and there will be a huge number of fish because this water goes there. Since the water will become fresh, there will be life everywhere the river goes.

The life-giving water in the prophecy of Ezekiel is described as growing in depth, from ankle-deep, to waist-deep, to a river that cannot be crossed as it flows. While this river may have at one point been confined to the temple and to the nation of Israel, the picture Ezekiel paints is one where the holiness or set-apartness of the life-giving water would be spread far beyond its banks.

Throughout the Bible, life is said to flow from the fear and respect of Yahweh, and from wisdom and understanding that come from him.

Psalm 111:10 – The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his instructions have good insight. His praise endures forever.
Proverbs 14:27 – The fear of Yahweh is a fountain of life, turning people away from the snares of death.
Proverbs 9:10 – “The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Proverbs 3:13, 18 – Happy is a man who finds wisdom and who acquires understanding, … She is a tree of life to those who embrace her, and those who hold on to her are happy.
2 Peter 1:3 – His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

Ezekiel’s picture of the river of life concludes with trees along the banks of the river that bear continual fruit and the leaves of the trees being used for medicine.

Ezekiel 47:12 – “All kinds of trees providing food will grow along both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. Each month they will bear fresh fruit because the water comes from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be used for food and their leaves for medicine.”

This is a direct correlation with the consummation of the New Jerusalem in the book of Revelation:

Revelation 22:1-2 – Then he showed me the river of the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the city’s main street. The tree of life was on each side of the river, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree are for healing the nations…

The good news is that this water that was once set-apart and holy as only for one people is now flowing freely everywhere and is available to all who are thirsty. This is not a physical thirst, but a thirst for spiritual wisdom and understanding that only God can provide. This is the knowledge of him who fills all things and makes all things new. This is the medicine that is now for the healing of the nations.

Revelation 21:6 – Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will freely give to the thirsty from the spring of the water of life.
Revelation 22:17 – Both the Spirit and the bride say, “Come! ” Let anyone who hears, say, “Come! ” Let the one who is thirsty come. Let the one who desires take the water of life freely.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

The kingdom of our spiritual forefathers

The true descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are those who, by faith, trust in God.

Matthew 8:8, 10-12 – “Lord,” the centurion replied, “I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. … Hearing this, Yeshua was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with so great a faith. “I tell you that many will come from east and west to share the banquet with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. “But the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

In this foreboding statement by Yeshua, he is freely conveying that many outside the Jewish faith will be admitted to the kingdom by faith in him, while many within the Jewish faith will not participate in the kingdom because of their lack of faith in him. Faith in Messiah is clearly the primary intent of this teaching.

However, Yeshua also mentions that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (and presumably, those of like faith with them) will participate in the kingdom.

Genesis 17:5 – “Your name will no longer be Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I will make you the father of many nations.”
Genesis 17:19 – “But God said, “No. Your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will name him Isaac. I will confirm my covenant with him as a permanent covenant for his future offspring.”
Genesis 28:10, 13-14 – “Jacob left Beer-sheba and went toward Haran. … Yahweh was standing there beside him, saying, “I am Yahweh, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. … All the peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.”

The message of the all-encompassing kingdom through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was initiated in the very first book of the Bible; it was not a new teaching of Yeshua. However, it appeared radical to the Jewish leaders of his day because the Jewish people had come to believe that God had chosen them only, and no outsiders had the right to worship God.

This misunderstanding was common also among the Samaritans, who believed that they alone were the remnant of the true faith. And yet, Yeshua also sets this understanding straight with the woman at the well.

John 4:20-21, 23-24 – “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.” Yeshua told her, “Believe me, woman, an hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. … “But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship him. “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and in truth.”

Once again, Yeshua makes the point that the true worship of God will not be based on a location, but in spirit and in truth. Spirit and truth are not limited to any one location, or any one people.

Paul also recognized this and clarified this truth further in relating it to the practice of circumcision.

Romans 2:27-29 – “A man who is physically uncircumcised, but who keeps the law, will judge you [Jews] who are a lawbreaker in spite of having the letter of the law and circumcision. For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, and true circumcision is not something visible in the flesh. On the contrary, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart ​– ​by the Spirit, not the letter. That person’s praise is not from people but from God.”

Having circumcised hearts was also not a new concept introduced by Paul, even though he suffered greatly for being persecuted as forsaking the law of Moses. In fact, Moses himself, the one whom the Jews were trusting in, related to ancient Israel the very same concept of spiritual circumcision of the heart.

Deuteronomy 10:16 – “Therefore, circumcise your hearts and don’t be stiff-necked any longer.
Deuteronomy 30:6 – “Yahweh your God will circumcise your heart and the hearts of your descendants, and you will love him with all your heart and all your soul so that you will live.

According to Yeshua, Paul, and even Moses, the kingdom of God belongs to those with circumcised hearts, the repository of faith. The true descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are those who, by faith, trust in God. Yeshua claimed to be sent by God, so trusting in Messiah was by extension exhibiting faith in God.

Just like the centurion, when we exhibit faith in Messiah today, we are demonstrating that we have been admitted to the kingdom of our spiritual forefathers. Any non-believers, even descendants who could somehow trace their fleshly heritage to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, will be cast out. Every new believer becomes an ongoing fulfillment of the promises made to these spiritual forefathers, and as the promises of God are fulfilled, the kingdom continues to grow and spread across the earth.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.