The word Worship means to bow low and to serve. In actions, it means,
Obedience regardless of the apparent cost, as Abraham obeyed.
It can be done from a distance as the Children of Israel did when God came to the Tabernacle
It involves the heart, the ears
Sacrifice as ordained by God
Confession and repentance is crucial to experience worship
David shows us his style of worship in 1 Chronicles 16 starting with verse 8.
1 Chronicles 16:8 Give thanks to Jehovah, call on His name, make known His deeds among the people.
1 Chronicles 16:9 Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him, talk of all His wondrous works.
1 Chronicles 16:10 Glory in His holy name, let the heart of those who seek Jehovah rejoice.
1 Chronicles 16:11 Seek Jehovah and His strength; seek His face continually.
1 Chronicles 16:12 Remember His marvelous works which He had done, His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth,
1 Chronicles 16:29 Give to Jehovah the glory of His name; bring an offering and come before Him. Worship Jehovah in the beauty of holiness.
Worship involves holiness. We saints are holy because of Jesus. The people of the Old Testament had a bit more difficult time to sanctify themselves.
Hezekiah’s father, Ahaz, was a very evil king of Judah. He’s the one, remember, that sacrificed his son to the demon god Molech. Looking in 2 Chronicles 29,
Hezekiah becomes king and he did right in the eyes of the Lord, all that David had done. That is high praise actually. King Hezekiah told the Levites to sanctify themselves. That word sanctify means the same as the word holy… to make or cause to be clean, to dedicate, hallow or keep holy. They did a LOT to make themselves holy in order to worship God and to keep the Passover feast.
Verse 31 states, as many as were of a free heart brought burnt offerings. They sang, the trumpets blasted, the cymbals, harps and lyres just as David had commanded.
Verse 34 states the offerings were too much for the priests to handle so the Levites helped and were of more upright heart to make themselves pure than the priests. That is because those priests had been serving the Ba’al during the reign of Ahab. I love verse 36, And Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced, that God had prepared the people. For the thing happened suddenly. We aren’t told what was in the hearts of those priests, but this give us an indication. What I find so sweet here is: God prepared their hearts.
All through the Old Testament, confession and repentance is followed by a deeply reverent worship of God with raised hands, singing praises as in Nehemiah. Job tore his robe, shaved his head and fell down and worshiped. Shedrach, Meshach and Abednego worshiped God and it was a testimony to the One True God. It is consistently illustrated as a heart matter which is why the outward appearance of worship was such an affront, an insult to God Almighty.
In John 4:23, Jesus explains it all. "… an hour is coming and now is, when the true worshipers will worship (proskuneo) the Father in spirit and in truth; for indeed the Father seeks such ones to worship (proskuneo) Him." In this scripture, Jesus uses the same word previously used for the physical expression of reverence and submission and applies it, instead, to the attitude of a person's heart or spirit. Worship entails a heart-desire rather than a physical position. Jesus explains what God has desired all along: worship is not a physical stance, but the heart attitude. He changed it forever from an action to a continuous state of being. When He rose from the dead and presented us with the seal for our hearts, the Holy Spirit, He enabled us to sustain this worship state of being.
Remember the definition of the Greek word Proskuneo. Let me remind you it means to kiss the hand to or towards one in token of reverence; to fall upon the knees and touch the ground with the forehead as an expression of profound reverence, to kiss the feet; kneeling or prostration in homage. From a word that loosely means to kiss like a dog licking his master’s hand.
One thing to remember here is that unless the Master offers His hand, the dog cannot kiss it. Worship is very much a two way thing. It is vitality on both sides.
An example of this is Stephen, the first martyr in Acts 7:54-60. It is a perfect illustration of this when he looks up and sees Jesus as he is being stoned to death. His last thought is for those who are stoning him and he asks forgiveness for them. Jesus, who ascended to sit down by His Father’s right hand, was standing to receive him. It was an honor for Stephen’s unwavering faith and his obedience. Isn’t that just precious?
John fell on his face at his first glimpse of Jesus in Revelation 1:17. Daniel had that same reaction. In the Garden, when Jesus was betrayed by Judas, Jesus asked “Whom do you seek?” John 18:5, they replied “Jesus of Nazareth” and He replied, “I AM” and immediately they fell to the ground. At His breath every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Two words and they knew. Two words and they could not help but recognize His authority. Worship was just a one time event for those who were bent on getting Jesus to the cross. For us, worship is not an event, it is a lifestyle.
This is what Isaiah was warning us against. Without hearts full of worship, our prayers won’t get off the ground.
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