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Servanthood and worship of God

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The biblical understanding of servanthood has its foundation in people serving God in worship. The terms for “service” and “worship” are often interchangeable.

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Worship is a central aspect of serving God

Exodus 3:12 NASB95
And He said, “Certainly I will be with you, and this shall be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God at this mountain.”
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Worship entails total obedience, not merely correct religious observances

Deuteronomy 10:12–13 NASB95
“Now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require from you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the Lord’s commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good?
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Worship and service to God must be exclusive

Matthew 4:10 NASB95
Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’ ”
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Worshipping false gods forbidden

Exodus 20:3–5 NASB95
“You shall have no other gods before Me. “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,
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Warnings against serving false gods

2 Chronicles 7:19–20 NASB95
“But if you turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will uproot you from My land which I have given you, and this house which I have consecrated for My name I will cast out of My sight and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples.
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Examples of idolatrous service

1 Kings 16:31 NASB95
It came about, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he married Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and went to serve Baal and worshiped him.
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Refusal to serve false gods

Daniel 3:12 NASB95
“There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the administration of the province of Babylon, namely Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. These men, O king, have disregarded you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up.”
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Judgment for serving false gods

Judges 10:11–13 NASB95
The Lord said to the sons of Israel, “Did I not deliver you from the Egyptians, the Amorites, the sons of Ammon, and the Philistines? “Also when the Sidonians, the Amalekites and the Maonites oppressed you, you cried out to Me, and I delivered you from their hands. “Yet you have forsaken Me and served other gods; therefore I will no longer deliver you.
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The service of the Levites and the priesthood

Consecration of the priesthood

Exodus 29:1 NASB95
“Now this is what you shall do to them to consecrate them to minister as priests to Me: take one young bull and two rams without blemish,
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Service in the Tent of Meeting

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Service in the temple

1 Chronicles 23:2–5 NASB95
And he gathered together all the leaders of Israel with the priests and the Levites. The Levites were numbered from thirty years old and upward, and their number by census of men was 38,000. Of these, 24,000 were to oversee the work of the house of the Lord; and 6,000 were officers and judges, and 4,000 were gatekeepers, and 4,000 were praising the Lord with the instruments which David made for giving praise.
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The promise of restored service in the new temple

Ezekiel 44:15 NASB95
“But the Levitical priests, the sons of Zadok, who kept charge of My sanctuary when the sons of Israel went astray from Me, shall come near to Me to minister to Me; and they shall stand before Me to offer Me the fat and the blood,” declares the Lord God.
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Examples of priestly service

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The true service of Jesus Christ as high priest

Hebrews sees the OT priesthood and its services as superseded by Jesus Christ.
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The Christian’s life as an act of worship

Romans 12:1 NASB95
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
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