08 February 2013

Worship, Part Two

In thinking about worship we need to be sure of a few things, like: Who is the object of the worship? and What is the purpose of said worship? I offer a few thoughts here.

· Worship is for worshipers. A worship service is NOT intended to be evangelistic. Certainly unbelievers are welcome and they should hear the Gospel, but worship is intended to be a family affair.

· Worship can be defined as “one’s heart expression of love, adoration, honor, and praise to the Living God with an acceptable attitude and an acknowledgment of His supremacy and Lordship.”

· Personally, I like the definition that Thomas Boston gives us: worship is “beholding, admiring, and praising Him.”

· “Worship” is NOT that period of singing endless ditties while we wait for the preacher to be ready for his boring sermon.

· Notice, please that none of these definitions say anything about “feeling good,” “getting something out of worship,” or anything else having to do with me. True worship is God-centered; not man-centered.

· According to Hebrew scholar Wilhelm Gesenius , the predominant Hebrew word for "worship" (shachah) means: "to bow oneself down, (Isaiah 51:23) ....to sink down, to be depressed....to prostrate oneself before any one out of honour....Those who used this mode of salutation fell on their knees and touched the ground with the forehead...." (Gesenius' Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures, pp. 813-814).

·  The most often used Greek word for "worship" (proskuneo), like the Hebrew, was "used to designate the custom of prostrating oneself before a person and kissing his feet, the hem of his garment, the ground, etc.; the Persians did this in the presence of their deified king, and the Greeks before a divinity ... (fall down and) worship, do obeisance to, prostrate oneself before, do reverence to, welcome respectfully...." ( Greek-English lexicon, Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich and Danker )

· Our English word "worship" is derived from "the Saxon/Old English word 'weorthscipe' or 'weordhscipe', which means 'worthship' or worthiness.

IOW, worship is “motivated by an attitude that reveres, honors, or describes the worth of another person or object" (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 1117-1118).

The focus is not on the worshiper but on the object of the worship, which properly is God Almighty – and none other.

The emphasis in true worship is on giving, not receiving. Those who complain that the hymns are old and funereal; the sermons are too long and boring; and there is altogether too much reading from the Bible, have missed the point of what worship is all about in the first place.

Worshiping is like tithing. We are expected to give the best, the first tenth, to the worship; not some tired, grumpy, got-out-of-bed-before-I wanted to attitude.

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