* Remember to read the previous parts of this series first
Worship (1 of 2)
Nearly every Christian organization boldly extends the invitation for you to "come worship with us this week!" I've seen it on signs, commercials, newspaper ads, etcetera. At the end of bulletins it usually says something along these lines, "We're so glad that you chose to worship with us today!" but is it really that simple? Surely God will accept any worship, right? Could there be more to worship than what we've made it out to be?
We have this prideful misconception that basically says that God had better take what He can get when it comes to worship. Are we really so arrogant to believe that God is in NEED of our worship? You do know that He has legions of angels that worship Him 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, right? Yes, He loves our worship, but it is not as if He is incomplete without it. God is holy and only the worship of those who worship in spirit and in truth will make it to His throne, as we're told in John 4:24. To look deeper into what this is saying, I'd like to expound on the original text found within this verse.
"God is spirit (pneuma: a simple essence, devoid of all grosser matter and possessed of the power of knowing, desiring, deciding, and acting; a life giving spirit; the efficient source of any power, affection, emotion, desire, etc.), and those who worship (proskuneo: meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master's hand; reverence; to fall upon the knees and touch the ground with the forehead as an expression of profound reverence; kneeling or prostration to do homage) Him must worship in spirit and truth (aletheia: what is true in any matter under consideration, opposing to the superstitions of the Gentiles and the inventions of the Jews, and the corrupt opinions and precepts of false teachers even among Christians; free from affection, pretence, falsehood, deceit)."
God is a life giving spirit that knows no physical bounds. So, in order to worship and bow in reverence to Him, recognizing Him for Who He truly He is, one must do so as spirit not bound to flesh. This is why we must "walk according to the Spirit" (Galatians 5:16)
It's imperative that we understand that we cannot worship the Lord out of our carnal minds and efforts. Bigger and better praise bands, worship conferences and the latest Christian CD's are not the answer. The Lord will ONLY be worshipped as He desires when His people understand that they must approach Him via the Spirit. Otherwise all is futile and corrupted worship that will never make it into the throne room of God.
So how do we know what is true worship? We see and hear things that look and feel like worship when we go to concerts or sporting events. People will clap for just about anyone doing anything. Is this worship as well? You see, we are created to extol and praise! It is all in how we approach it and most importantly, where our worship is directed.
Do we even know how anymore? It would seem that worship has been so watered down that it has few, if any attributes of what the Word says it truly is to be. There are seven Hebrew words for praise. David tells us in Psalm 119 that he praised and worshipped the Lord seven times per day.
"Todah" - To Confess, praise, and give thanks. "Hallal" - To shine or to rave. To praise or boast. To be clamorously foolish for the Lord. "Yadah" - To revere or worship. To give thanks or praise with extended hands. To lift the hands with praise and power. "Barak" - To bless, kneel or to salute. "Tehillah" - A song or a hymn of praise. A spontaneous expression of spiritual song. "Zamar" - To make music, to sing praise. To pluck or play a musical instrument in worship. "Shabach"- To exclaim or to shout. To laud, praise or commend.
When looking at these, we likely all pick and choose which ones we like or feel comfortable doing, right? I'll "todah", but I surely will not "shabach"! Organized religion has duped Christians into believing that worship is to be some "solemn and holy" event that one dare not get clamorous or out of hand in doing. Some may say you'd just be getting in the flesh! (gasp!) Yes, people have the potential to get all crazy and move from genuinely unfettered into outlandish, but that does not give us license to act like we're zombies. I too often choose the "reserved and silent" option when in groups. Why? There is only one answer, as tough as it might be – I value men's approval more than my LORD's. I say this with a heavy heart because it pains me to know how many times I have not opened my mouth to extol the LORD and speak of His wonderful acts on my behalf. Is He not worthy of all my praise? Is He not worthy to dance before? Is He not worthy of all that I am and could ever express?
Next, we'll take a quick peek into the worshipful life of David and how worship today has been reduced to a song.