|Posted on October 23, 2013 at 3:20 PM|
Definitions- When we think of worship in the context of church, we usually think of praying and singing. Although worship often does occur when we do these things, its meaning lies much deeper. The Hebrew verb most commonly translated ‘to worship’ (hištaḥawâ) literally means ‘bend oneself over at the waist’. Worship has at its root the action of bowing down. Interestingly, the root Greek word for worship, proskuneo, from earliest times, expressed the oriental custom of bowing down or casting oneself on the ground, kissing the feet, the hem of a garment or the ground, as a total bodily gesture of respect before a great one, which carries the idea of giving honor (Gen. 18:2; Exod. 18:7; 2 Sam. 14:4). When referring to the worship of our God, it is attributing supreme worth to Him who alone is worthy of our praise and honor.
Worship is not passive. It is predominantly an action. It involves action in our part. it is not generally something we can do simply from our hearts. It requires more.
Worship is not something simply for observation. It is something in which we must be involved.
Worship must originate from the heart, but it cannot be just heart. Worship that is heart alone is passive. However, worship that is action alone is not true worship. God wants heart and action.
Worship is, as said John Wesley, when we are lost in wonder, love, and praise in the midst of our gatherings.
Dr. Ronald Allen says that “worship is an active response to God whereby we declare His worth”. Worship is not passive; but is participative. Worship is not simply a mood; it is a response. Worship is not just a feeling; it is declaration”.
Worship can be defined as recognizing and proclaiming the worth, value, majesty, honor and glory of God and giving homage, respect, reverence and praise to God. It is said that “Worship is one’s heart expression of love, adoration, honor, and praise to the Living God with an acceptable attitude and a acknowledgment of His supremacy and Lordship.”
In Heb.13:15, the Bible calls worship a “sacrifice of praise,” words that stem from gratitude. Praise is a sacrifice to God; it’s something we give Him. . . it’s not done for ourselves.
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name.”
It is offered to God through the Lord Jesus. All our praise and prayer passes through Him before it reaches God the Father; our great High Priest removes all impurities and imperfections and adds His own virtue to it.
To all our prayers and praises
Christ adds His sweet perfume;
And love the censer raises
These odors to consume.
—Mary B. Peters
The sacrifice of praise is the fruit of those lips that acknowledge His name. The only worship that God receives is that which flows from redeemed lips.
The Urgency of Worship: Today!
There are differences between urgency and importance. In life there are things that are urgent and things that are important. Wisdom cautions us against allowing the urgent to crowd out the important. They are not the same. The author, Charles E. Hummel, describes the problem:
When we stop long enough to think about it, we realize that our dilemma goes deeper than shortage of time; it is basi¬cally a problem of priorities. We sense uneasily our failure to do what was really important. The winds of other people’s demands, and our own inner compulsions, have driven us onto a reef of frustration.
When the thirty-fourth president of the United States of America, Dwight D. Eisenhower, began his administration, he instructed his aides and his executive assistant that there should be only two stacks of papers placed on his desk in the Oval Office (White House/Black house at least for now). The first would be a stack of those things that were urgent, and only the extremely urgent. The other was to be a stack of the important, and only the extremely important. He said years later that it was interesting to him how rarely the two were one and the same.
The conflict between the urgent and the important is inescapable. We need to be careful not to get the two confused! We tend to think that by staying busy and working hard we’re dealing with the important things. But that is not necessarily the case. Those things most urgent rarely represent the things most important. In the church, sometimes, we put emphasis on work, activity, involvement, doing, producing, impressing, and accomplishing, etc. however, we miss the essential ingredient, the jewel that makes a church unique in this postmodern society which is worship. Author Gordon Dahl says it best:
Most middle-class Americans tend to worship their work, to work at their play, and to play at their worship. As a result, their meanings and values are distorted. Their relationships disintegrate faster than they can keep them in repair, and their lifestyles resemble a cast of characters in search of a plot.2
The dilemma comes from the way we look at life. On one hand, when we look at life with a horizontal perspective, the urgent takes center stage. The horizontal highlights all things human: human achievement, human importance, human logic, human results.
On the other hand, when we look at things with a vertical view, we highlight the things of God—God’s Word, God’s will, God’s plan, God’s people, God’s way, God’s reason for living, God’s glory, and God’s honor. And the goal of all these? God’s worship.
The underlying of a church committed to the important things—rather than the urgent—is the cultivation of a body of worshipers whose sole focus is on the Lord our God.
Worship must be the irreplaceable priority in our lives.
Worship is significant because it turns our full attention to the only One worthy of it. Worship underscores our celebration of every¬thing that brings honor to our God. In giving Him honor—when we have truly worshiped—there is something so deeply satisfying and gratifying that words cannot describe it. Its importance eclipses all things urgent.
Because God seeks our worship, it stands to reason that the church is to represent both a place of worship. . . and a place that cultivates worshipers. It isn’t a place to make business contacts. Church isn’t about being entertained. It isn’t even about being a place that makes you feel good. It is, first and foremost, about worship.
Someone has well said that “the church service is the most important momentous and majes¬tic thing which can possibly take place on earth, because its primary content is not the work of man but the work of the Holy Spirit and con¬sequently the work of faith.”5
The need for worship is as natural as the need for protection and love. People worship a variety of things in an attempt to fill this need. It is evident from the very first of the Ten Commandments that men worship other gods (Exod. 20:3). Israel, the highly favored nation to whom God revealed His majesty and His might, was forbidden to substitute other objects of worship (cf. Matt. 4:10). However, despite the solemn warning that any Israelite who worshiped the sun, moon, or host of heaven was to be stoned to death (Deut. 17:2–5), sun worship prevailed among God’s chosen people again and again.
The nations surrounding Israel worshiped many gods. The sun, the most prominent and powerful agent in nature, was worshiped throughout the nations of the ancient world. The Arabians appeared to have paid direct homage to it without the intervention of any statue or symbol (Job 31:26–28). In Egypt the sun was worshiped under the title of Ra. Baal of the Phoenicians, Molech of the Ammonites, Hadad of the Syrians, and Bel of the Babylonians were also deities of the sun.
But only when the focus of worship is God can this desire be fulfilled. We must worship God (El Elyon) and Him only.