Texts: Genesis 3:1-13, Genesis 4:1-4, Titus 1:2, Genesis 6:1-8, Genesis 12:1-8,Genesis 22:1-18, Genesis 28:10-12
Opening Question: “What is this thing we call “Worship?”
This whole next quarter, the subject of our lessons will be on the subject of worship. It has been said that humans have an innate need and ability to worship something. Apparently we are too small to be successfully self-referenced, so we look outside ourselves for some point of reference. Certainly, the records of history would seem to bear that out for, in every place and in every time, there have been designated places of worship, and special symbols of worship, and occasions of worship, too. Some of the very best creations of human kind have been in the interest of worship – art, architecture, poetry, sculpture, ceremony.
This week, we are going to look at what worship is. We are going to try to define it. Then we are going to look at worship events as they are portrayed in the biblical book of Genesis to see if we can find any patterns or trends that could instruct us.
- Can you define worship?
- What do you think about linking worship being an act of ascribing value or worth to something or someone?
- On what grounds can we say that God is worthy of our worship?
- What is the role or place of a human who wants to worship?
Now to the biblical book of Genesis.
- Do you think worship occurred in Eden where all was perfect? Was there need for it?
- What do you think such a thing might have looked like in a perfect environment?
- In Genesis 3, there is the tragic story of the fall creating a great separation between God and man. Instead of meeting face-to-face, Adam and Eve hid themselves from God.
- What effects did the fall have on worship?
- What do you think became the most difficult effect of sin on worship?
- The Genesis story has a notable worship scene early on that took place just outside Eden, one involving two brothers, Can and Abel.
- What were the major differences between the brother’s ways of worshipping?
- What implications can you draw from the way Cain went about the act of worship as opposed to the way Abel went about it?
- Would you agree that these two brothers come to represent two classes of people on earth, two classes of worshippers?
- What would the presence of a sacrifice at the place of worship have to teach us?
- This story suggests worship may be dangerous, at least disagreements about worship may be. Why do you think that might be so?
- Notice the very first thing Noah did after ne came out of the ark (Genesis 8:20). What do you make of these actions?
- In Genesis 22:1-18, there is the story of Abraham and his near sacrificing of his only son, Isaac. What lessons of faith and trust can be gleaned from this story? And what can be learned about the provisions God makes for us, too?
- What do you make of the whole idea of sacrifice as it shows up in the book of Genesis?
- In Genesis 28:10-22, there is the well-known story of Jacob and Esau and Jacob’s flight from home after his acts of deception. During his flight, God came near. Notice, in particular, verses 16 and 17 and their expression of awe and even fear. Do you think that has a rightful place in worship? If so, why the fear part?
- Do you think there is awe and even fear at worship events today? Should there be? If so, how can such things be engendered?
The author of the lesson points out that in the book of Genesis, we see the emergence of two lines of people, those who worship God, and those who create their own worship plans and devices.
- Do you think it is easy or hard for humans to worship God?
- Is worship a result of a clear understanding of who and what God is, or is it something we have to create and conjure up?
- Is worship primarily a feeling or not?