The Meaning of Worship

Give to the Lord the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness! – 1 Chronicles 16:29, NKJV

What exactly is worship? It is to bow down, prostrate oneself, pay homage, make obeisance and to do reverence before something or someone. We are called to worship the Lord. He and He alone is worthy of all worship and reverence. We were created to worship Him, not false gods, idols, His creation or the angels. Sadly, there are many who are not worshipping the God of Heaven and earth.

We see that in the Bible where kings and their subjects were worshipping pagan gods and making idols and turning their backs on the God who had delivered them from years of bondage and slavery in the land of Egypt. While in the wilderness they had Aaron create a golden calf for them to worship because Moses had been gone from their presence for a long time. After Aaron created it, the people declared, “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!” (Exodus 32:4). In essence, they were declaring that idol to be their god and deliverer.

Many of them perished in the wilderness because they had given themselves over to idolatry–the worship of idols. Idolatry violates God’s Law. In His Law, He declares, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments (Exodus 20:1-6, NKJV).

God is very clear. Worship is meant for Him only. We are not to give our worship to anything or anyone else. An idol doesn’t have to be a carved image. It can be anything that we put before God and which steals our attention, affection and is given what is rightfully God’s such as money, relationships, careers/jobs, entertainment, success, phones and Social Media. These things have consumed our lives, our attention and our time, causing our relationship with God to suffer. Satan has succeeded in using these things to keep us busy and distracted from the things of God. Oftentimes, we don’t spend much time with God or in His Word. We have made these things our gods when we have the God of the universe who longs to fellowship with us.

The Bible clearly teaches that God alone is worthy of our worship. The angels and even nature itself, worship Him. So, why don’t we? How sad it is that people in Biblical times worshipped gods they made and carried when they should have been worshipping the God who made and carried them. Let us not make the same mistakes.

How do we worship? Here are 3 ways:

  1. In reverence: This means we honor and respect the Lord in our thoughts, actions and words. Our worship is done in love, adoration and gratitude. Jesus told us that God desires that we worship Him in spirit and in truth. What does that mean? In spirit means that since God Himself is Spirit, we should worship Him as such. This means that we are not putting on a show. Our worship isn’t in name and resemblance but it’s real, genuine in every respect. We are worshipping Him with every part of our being–our minds, hearts and bodies. Our intellect, emotions and will are involved. It’s all or nothing. And in truth, we worship Him according to what is taught in His Word. For example, how can we worship God in truth when we are harboring bitterness towards someone? We worship God, understanding who He is as revealed in His Word. We worship Him as He truly is and not our idea of who He is.
  2. In Public: We share our testimonies with others–we publicly thank God for His blessings in our lives, for His mercies, faithfulness, love, goodness, etc.
  3. In Service: We attend church to worship God but we are not limited to church attendance. Our daily lives can a type of service to Him and to others

Worship isn’t lip service. The religious leaders in Jesus’ time didn’t worship God the proper way. God declared through the prophet, Isaiah that, “‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men'” (Matthew 15:8, 9, NKJV). They went to God and worshipped Him with their mouths but their hearts were not in it. God wants our worship to be internal not external. Worship isn’t a big show that we put on to impress others. It’s about God and honoring who He is with our mouths and our hearts.

Our worship is in vain when we put the teachings of men on the same level or even above the teachings of God. True worship is drawing near to God with both our mouths and our hearts filled with adoration for Him and His wonderful Word. We must never elevate the teachings of the church or men above the inerrant and infallible Word of God.

But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him” (John 4:23, NKJV).  Let us put away the things which have drawn us away or distracted us and be the kind of worshippers whom God is seeking.

Sources: Her & Hymn; The New Open Bible, p. 483; Christian Today

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