WHAT IS WORSHIP?
(Rev 4:11) “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.”
It is common for people to think of worship as the singing part of a church service. You follow along with the song leader and then the pastor comes up to preach. But there is so much more to the definition and experience of worship that we need to take time to study it more closely.
The primary Hebrew Old Testament word for worship is shachah and it means "to bow down." (Psa 95:6) Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. The primary Greek New Testament word is proskuneo and it means "to kiss the hand to (towards) one, in token of reverence." (Luke 7:38) and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. Both words express deep reverence and adoration.
Worship is from the Middle English word worshipe and it means worthiness, respect, and reverence paid to a divine being. It actually comes from an Old English word weorthscipe and is broken down as weorth which means "worthy", and shipe which means "shape" or "quality." Think of words like friendship and sportsmanship, which means the quality of being a friend or the quality of being a good sport. So when we worship God we are attributing worth to Him by declaring how good and great He is. Like the twenty-four elders in Revelation 4 we recognize God's worthiness and give him that worthiness through worship.
Psalm 150 is a great psalm to study when we ask, "What is worship?": (Psa 150) WHAT?: 1 Praise the LORD! WHERE? Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty firmament! WHY? 2 Praise Him for His mighty acts; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness! HOW? 3 Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; Praise Him with the lute and harp! 4 Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes! 5 Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with clashing cymbals! WHO? 6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. YOU! Praise the LORD!
We worship the Lord for who He is and what He has done: (Psa 106:1) Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. We can worship the Lord with our LIPS: (Heb 13:15) Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. We can worship the Lord by our LIFE: (Rom 12:) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
In the Old Testament worship was centered on the Temple with sacrifices and singing. In the New Testament we see that we are now the temple of the Holy Spirit giving personal praise to God. We can also praise God corporately . . . (1 Pet 2:5) you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
What is worship? Worship is our responding to the overtures of love from the heart of the Father. (R. Foster)
(Psa 147:1) Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful.