Some thoughts on worship

God has been teaching me a lot about worship lately, and I would like to share it with you.

John 4:23,24 – “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (NIV)
The Greek word for worship/worshipers in these verses is proskuneo and means “to kiss, like a dog licking the master’s hand; to fawn or crouch to; prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore)”. The Greek word for worshiper in these verses means “an adorer”.
In our culture, and even in our churches, we have a hard time understanding what worship is. We tend to be very good at praise, though, because we see it everywhere we look – your favorite team scores a touchdown and everyone jumps to their feet and raises their hands, shouting and clapping and rejoicing; at church we always see people standing to their feet and raising their hands in praise to God. Now, granted, once upon a time even that was not seen at church, and I praise the Lord for releasing us from tradition into praise in that sense. However, considering the meaning of the word worship in the verses above, when was the last time you saw that demonstrated – even in church? In order to worship in the way the Father wants us to, we must first become completely humble, which is probably why it is so rare to see true worship. We are not a culture or a people that are very good at being humble. We think conditions have to be the way we want them to be in order to worship. How many times have we said, “Well, I just can’t worship with that song” or “The music was awesome today. I really got into the worship!” What worship were we getting into – the worship of the Father, or just the music? True worship is not about music, it’s about relationship to the Father. That Greek word for worship has as its prefix, pros, which is a preposition meaning “towards, to, with, along side”. If you have really worshipped, you come away not with an appreciation for the music or prayer time or preaching, you come away with an awe for the Heavenly Father and the Lamb of God, and a closer relationship with Him. Worship is when we “see the Lord, high and lifted up, and His train fills the temple.”(Is. 6:1) and we realize how lowly and abased we really are.

I was going through Revelation the other day, reading the awesome worship passages that are in it, and I noticed something. Every time it mentions anyone worshipping God/Christ, it says they “fell down and worshipped” or something similar. It goes back to humbling ourselves as I mentioned above. You can’t ask for truer or more Spirit-filled worship than the kind that is going on in heaven. Our Worship Pastor at my church is always encouraging us to worship in every Biblical way. So that means if God so moves you to do so, it is perfectly Biblical for you to bow in worship during our services.
Here’s my other thought: Worship cannot be forced. There is a progression that must be followed. The pattern of the Tabernacle is our example (disclaimer: I am by no means an expert on the Tabernacle, and it is with much fear and trepidation I even mention it. If I get something important wrong – and everything about the Tabernacle is important – please correct me). In order to enter the gates of the Tabernacle, you had to come through the tribe of Judah. Judah means “praise”. In Psalm 100:4 it says, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name,” Praise is the vehicle that takes us into His gates, but your first stop inside those gates is at the Brazen Altar.One could not enter into the Holy Place without first coming to the Brazen Altar and making atonement for their sins. The Cross is our Brazen Altar, but we need to confess our sins to Christ every time we seek to come into His presence.
The next stop was at the Brass Laver where the priests had to wash with water every time they went into the Holy Place (Tent of Meeting). The Word of God is the water with which we must allow the Spirit to wash us, to be transformed by the renewing of our minds so that we are not conformed to this world. (How many times have we struggled to get into the praise and worship on a Sunday morning because our minds were on something else?) Only then, can we come into the Holy Place, where we feed on the Word of God (table of shewbread), where the Light of Christ (golden lampstand) to direct our path and the Spirit (oil in the lampstand) are, and where the prayers go up (table of incense). Finally, we pass through the curtain that was rent from top to bottom at the death of our Savior (Hallelujah!) and into the Holy of Holies and the very presence of God. And there is where we worship, falling on our faces before the majesty and glory of the Lord Most High.

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