|- Kenneth Greatorex -
In consideration of the matter of WORSHIP it is important that we understand the difference between that which most consider worship to be and what God considers it to be. True worship comes from a heart that adores God in ALL of His ways. As we will learn from the Scriptures, worship is a heart and mind attitude.
An understanding of Psalm 103:7 is a good starting place. "He has made known His WAYS to Moses, His ACTS to the sons of Israel." Our humanity rightly rejoices in the ACTS of God and this causes praise to well up within our hearts. Now for many the term, "WAYS" is confusing. The Hebrew word is "derek" [Strongís #1870]. It means, the way, the path, the journey. What is involved here is the fact that God and Moses were in a relationship where Moses learned somewhat of the "how," "why," and "for what purpose" God was doing, or not doing, as He willed.
Both the Hebrew and Greek words used for WORSHIP mean to BOW DOWN, and that in adoration. Paul wrote in amazement of how the Gentiles were fellow heirs with the Jews, and this according to the ETERNAL PURPOSE brought into being in Christ Jesus our Lord. His heart bowed in worship as he wrote, "For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name." [Ephesians 3:14 NAU]
BOWING DOWN [Hebrew Shachah #7812 meaning worship or bowing] is done to those in a high place of authority. We have a prophetic example of this in Genesis 37:9-10. Joseph relates that the sun [his father], the moon [his mother], and the stars [his brothers] were going to bow down to him. We know that this literally came to pass in Egypt when Joseph was elevated to a position, just below Pharaoh and above all others. In time his family actually bowed down to him. [Please note the words "sun, moon and stars," and remember that this Middle Eastern terminology is used elsewhere in Scripture.]
There is a different picture of WORSHIP in Genesis 22:5. Abraham was taking Isaac up Mount Moriah to offer him as a sacrifice in obedience to God. Having reached a certain point he told his servants, "Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go over there will go over there; and WE will WORSHIP and return to you." If you or I had been there and known Abrahamís intention we would have made sure that he never sacrificed his son. Letís face it, he must be insane, or heard someone other than God. To Abraham this horrible matter had nothing to do with sacrificing his son, it was strictly a MATTER OF WORSHIP. WORSHIP includes surrendering ALL we hold dear back to God.
In Job 1:20 we find a puzzling situation. "Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and WORSHIPED." To us it is clear that Job had lost his mind, and was in deep depression over the loss of his possessions, servants, and sons and daughters. How could he worship? What would we have done? We must remember that he was a blameless and upright man who feared God and turned away from evil. [Job 1:8] He recognized God more than the evils that had, and would, befall him.
That David was a "man after Godís heart" is well known, as well as his major sins. Now think about his reaction when his son conceived with Bathsheba was "struck by the LORD, so that he was very sick, and in spite of Davidís prayers, died. His servants were not able to understand Davidís change from fasting, and weeping to normal eating and dressing. Once David learned the child had died, "he came into the house of the Lord and WORSHIPED." He knew that, "he would go to him, but he will not return back to me." [2 Samuel 12:15-23]
In every case WORSHIP was an acknowledgment of the greatness of God. Consider the worship attitude in Psalm 95:6-7, "Come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of HIS pasture the sheep of HIS hand. Notice the confession of being GODís POSSESSION. This was the reason for worship.
In Psalm 132:7-8 we see something of CORPORATE WORSHIP. "Let US go into His dwelling place; let US WORSHIP at His footstool. Arise, O, LORD to your resting place, You and the ark of Your strength." The people came to His DWELLING place and in turn He found His REST in them. This is a topic in itself.
Psalm 22:27, Psalm 86:9-10 and Revelation 15:4 speak prophetically of the day when ALL NATIONS will come and WORSHIP. This is very much in line with Romans 14:11, and Philippians 2:10-11 which reads, "so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those that are in heaven and on earth and under the earth." This is a bowing in worship of the mighty Jesus Christ of whom "every tongue will confess to the glory of God the Father."
Many have found the Book of Revelation to be a book of FEAR, when in reality it was written to and for the saints of the day it was given to bring encouragement and comfort in the midst of the tremendous persecutions they were suffering. This book is a PRESENT book to us in that we see CHRIST AS HE NOW IS! It is a book of WORSHIP. A few of the verses we could touch upon are: Revelation 4:10; 5:11-14; 7:11-12; 11:16-17 and 19:4-6.
Much, much more may be said on the matter of worship as this lesson is not all inclusive. REMEMBER THAT TRUE WORSHIP IS AN ATTITUDE OF THE HEART THAT ACKNOWLEDGES GOD IN ALL OF HIS WAYS, INCLUDING THOSE THAT ARE IMPOSSIBLE FOR US TO UNDERSTAND, OR TO EVEN AGREE WITH.
Writings in This Series: