Every Sunday morning, my family and I attend a worship service at our local church. We sing. We place a check in the offering plate. We listen to a sermon. But is that what the Bible means when it tells us to worship God?
One of the clearest depictions of worship in the Bible is recorded in Revelation 4. The cherubim surround the throne of God, proclaiming “Holy, Holy, Holy,” and they “give glory, honor, and thanks to him who sits on the throne” (vv. 8-9). Worship, therefore, is “giving God glory, honor, and thanks.” It’s all about giving something to God, not about receiving something ourselves.
The Hebrew word for worship is shachah, which means to “bow down; to prostrate oneself before a superior in homage.”* In the Bible, shachah is first used in Genesis 22. Abraham tells his servant, “the boy and I . . . will worship and then we will come back to you” (v.5).
Abraham and Isaac weren’t going to attend a worship service in any sense that we define a worship service—no music, no preaching. Abraham was going to glorify and honor God by sacrificing his son. What Abraham’s experience on Mt. Moriah teaches us is that biblical worship involves sacrifice and obedience: Trusting God’s character when He seems most untrustworthy; obeying His Word when it’s most difficult to do so.
Hebrews 11 tells us that Abraham “considered him faithful who had made the promise” and believed God would give him a son (v. 11). When God asked him to sacrifice that son, Abraham “reasoned that God could raise the dead” (v. 19). Abraham focused on who God was; he relied on God’s faithfulness and power.
That’s the essence of worship: fixing our eyes on God and trusting His unchanging character. If we are mesmerized by His magnificence and awed by His power, we'll worship Him the way the cherubim in heaven do. We’ll fall to our knees and proclaim, “To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, forever and ever” (Revelation 5:13). Amen and Amen. Tweet: The Essence of Worship
- Read Matthew 2:1-12. The Magi wanted to “worship” the newborn king. What exactly did they do to worship him?
- Read Luke 17:11-19. Before the leper thanked Jesus, what did he do? How would you explain the difference between glorifying God and thanking Him?
- Read Isaiah 6:1-13. What kind of worship experience did Isaiah have? What did that experience motivate him to do? What do your worship experiences prompt you to do?
Denise K. Loock
*Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for shachah (Strong's 7812)". Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2012. 17 May 2012. http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=h7812&t=KJV
Denise K. Loock is a freelance writer, editor, speaker, and Bible study teacher.
A collection of Denise's devotions, Open Your Hymnal: Devotions That Harmonize Scripture with Song, was released by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas in 2010.
It can be ordered on amazon.com or at www.digdeeperdevotions.com/books. A second volume of devotions, Open Your Hymnal Again, was released in June 2012.
Denise is the founder of digdeeperdevotions.com, a website devoted to helping Christians dig deeper into the Word of God. Each devotion on the website takes an insightful look at a Scripture passage and provides a practical application. Then readers are given a few ways to dig deeper into a biblical word, person, or topic so they can improve their Bible study skills. Denise also speaks at women’s retreats and luncheons.
In addition to her writing and speaking, Denise works as a Nonfiction Book Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas and as the Editor for The Journey Christian Newspaper, an online and print publication distributed throughout the Carolinas, which encourages over 100,000 Christians in their faith walk each month.
Visit www.journeychristiannews.com. She also accepts freelance editing projects. Find out more at www.lightningeditingservices.com.
Born and raised in Lakeland, FL, Denise is proud to be a native Floridian. After living in New Jersey for 22 years, she’s thrilled to be back in the South. She lives in Waynesville, NC, with her husband, Mace, and cat, Ginger.