Archive for the ‘worship’ Category

To Worship

February 16, 2009

From Vine’s Expository Dictionary p. 295:

Sahah  “To worship, prostrate oneself, bow down.”  

The act of bowing down in homage is generally done before a superior or a ruler.  Thus, David “bowed” himself before Saul (1 Samuel 24:8).  Sometimes it is a social or economic superior to whom one bows, as when Ruth “bowed to the ground” before Boaz (Ruth 2:10).  In a dream, Joseph saw the sheaves of his brothers “bowing down” before his sheaf (Genesis 37:5, 9, 10).  Sahah is used as the common term for coming before God in worship, as in 1 Samuel 15:25 and Jeremiah 7:2.  

What I get out of this is that worship is showing respect, difference to and a sense of our place before a superior.  It’s one of the reasons we bow to kings and princes but give none of them the supreme worship or “bowing down before” that we give to God.  When in the OT people like Daniel tried to give to an angel honor due to God alone, the angel would forbid them to do so.  It wasn’t that the angel wasn’t worthy of “worship” in a sense, but the intent of the heart for the human being was usually to attribute to the angel what was only to be given to God.  So bowing to a ruler is not wrong in context of the fact that they are the authority, but to attribute worship to them as a god or God.

Today, I realized I didn’t really know what the word “worship” meant in the context of Scripture and decided to look it up again.  I read these things and sometimes the details fade into the haze of popular expressions and perspectives.  I want the Bible’s version of everything to define my understanding not pop Christian culture or catch phrases done by advertising.

Our popular use of the word “worship” in Christian Evangelical circles is to apply it to music rather than an attitude of the heart.  It is like we have made an alter of sound rather than what it actually is:  to bow down to a superior.

I have come to dislike people’s misuse of this term.  I’ve always had a sense that the word meant something other than music and dancing, but I forgot this dictionary definition, which I read more than three years ago, sadly enough.  I know, I know, it’s like looking in the mirror and forgetting what your face looks like, but that’s the way it is.

For years I’ve felt that worship was both more simple and yet deeper in meaning than mere music.  I believed that it was the entire way we lived–and in a sense, it works that way.  But my mistake was thinking that it had to do with actions and words rather than understanding my place before God.

I am the creature, He is the Creator; I am the servant, He is the Master; I am the subject, He is the King of Kings.

Songs are a small piece of worship.  Our ability to give God His due is not based on how cool our song service is but on the totality of our bowed hearts and bodies before Him in repentance, service and celebration of His great love and grace.  This means that the sermon is worship, our offerings are worship, our service to the saints is worship, our faithfulness to our spouse is worship, our honest hard work in our daily routine and public dealings are worship.  I could go on, but I think we get the idea.

Why?  Because in all these things we bow to the superiority of God who tells us how we should not only behave in general but demonstrated what our lives should be like on the cross:  We die to self that we might live to God.  This makes Him the superior in wisdom, knowledge and spiritual insight.  Our submission to His superiority is the bowing down of the inferior before the superior.

As John the Baptist said to his own disciples,  “He must increase and I must decrease.”  In all things I am the lesser in this equation, the servant and child to the Master and Father, the student in complete submission to the teacher.  The position of my body, therefore, speaks volumes about the attitude of my heart.  Yet, the attitude of heart may be proud and unyielding no matter what the body’s position or the mouth speaks.  So it is up to every individual to assess before God what the attitude of their hearts will be.

Who can discern his errors?  Forgive my hidden faults.  Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me.  Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression.

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.  Psalm 19:12-14.