Theology of Worship- Representing Yahweh

This week I have the privilege of taking the winterim class at The Master’s Seminary.  I have gone to the class the last 2 years, and wanted to go to this one even more since it will probably be my last opportunity to do this.  The class is “For the Glory of God: A Biblical Theology of Worship” taught by Daniel Block, professor at Wheaton College and renowned Old Testament commentator.  I’ll be including little snippets of great things that I’ve learned and that have challenged me.  So far I have really enjoyed Block’s pastoral style of teaching.  He doesn’t just info dump or read off a list of references, but really gets to the heart of the matter while approaching the text expositionally.

My first thought is what it means to “take the name of the Lord in vain”.  Conventionally, this has been interpreted and applied as not swearing or using God’s name casually.  Of course, that is part of what this is saying, but that falls short of the whole intended meaning.  In that time, there was a practice of writing the name of God on your hand if you wanted people to know that you were a follower of Yahweh.  You were taking on the name of God for everyone you meet to know.

Taking the name of the Lord in vain would be failing to live up to the name that you were carrying or writing on you.  It was living a life that was contrary to the God you claimed.

We also entered into a discussion of what this means in our prayer lives, and a warning of using God’s name casually or hypocritically in prayer.  So often, I can enter into prayer and not think about the Almighty God I’m speaking to.  Block also spoke of how often people use the name of God as a filler word in prayers, dropping it without thinking.  The thing that got me thinking most was how often I have asked students to pray, only to hear a student treat the prayer lightly and casually.  Sometimes something happens and then giggles break out, and my heart breaks that they take prayer so lightly.

The scariest thing I’ve wondered is if I have placed students in positions to sin.  Have I asked them to do something that they don’t take seriously?  It has definitely caused me to think more seriously, not only about how I pray, but also about who I encourage to lead in public prayers.


3 comments on “Theology of Worship- Representing Yahweh

  1. BethsMomToo says:

    Thanks for sharing the high points. I love when you guys write about Winterim speakers!

  2. Tim,
    Using God or Father or Lord as a constant filler in prayer has been a thorn in my side for years. It was recently brought to my attention listening to a man pray as he said Father about 80 times. I was noticing as I was praying a long with him that I lost any regard for the title of Father. At the same time I was distracted from the point of the prayer and started thinking of what it means to be a father. Not a bad side note, but the point of the prayer was lost on me and therefore did not draw me to the thrown to care for the people or situations that were being prayed for.

    The lightness or prayer in situations often concerns me and causes me to feel as though it should be removed from a situation unless we are of the mindset to stop first what we are doing to focus our hearts otherwise are we just doing it out of duty? I don’t think He is calling us to pray out of duty but desire. The desire of the heart that is offering the prayer is to be examined and that is where we as humans fall short, unable to see the heart as He does.

    Thanks for sharing Tim.


  3. Beth says:

    I’m so glad you’re able to take the winterim class- especially this week!

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