The very first time we find the word "worship" in scripture is Genesis 22:5
Abraham is traveling to Moriah with his son Isaac and two of his servants.After three days journey he saw the place from a distance and said:
Genesis 22:5 Then Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you."
The word translated as worship in the Hebrew is "shâchâh" (shaw kaw)
It means: "to prostrate (especially reflexively in homage to royalty or God):
- bow (self) down, crouch, fall down (flat), humbly beseech, do (make)
obeisance, do reverence, make to stoop, worship.
Abraham's worship is made manifest in his obedience. He heard the voice of the Lord, and undertook to carry out God's command;
"Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you." Gen 22:2
There is no record of Abraham debating with God over this extremely difficult task. Just as he heard Yahweh's voice when he was called out of Haran and obeyed without hesitation, so he did here. (Genesis 12:1-5)
Now Abraham was not any better than the other men of his day. He was chosen by God's sovereign will. He was simply responding to the Word of God. (Romans 9:11)
8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.
9 By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise.
10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.
17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son,
Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
John 8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad."
Faith and obedience are intertwined in worship. Abraham believed as he had heard God's word and the faith which did not come from within himself, caused him to believe. His obedience to the Lord is evidence of his belief and of his salvation. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
Abraham saw Christ and was saved.
Heb 12:2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith........
There is another element to worship that must be taken into account. That would be understanding which displays itself as trust.
Jesus said that the greatest commandment is
Mark 12:29 Jesus answered, "The most important is, 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'
He was quoting Deuteronomy 6:4-5. What is known as the "shema"
A primitive root; to hear intelligently (understand; often with implication of
So in this four letter word which we badly translate as "hear" Moses and the hebrews would have understood as "hear-comprehend-and do" If we hear the Word of God then it must be understood and obeyed.
For example our biological fathers might put it this way; "I said clean your room, you know exactly what I meant, so get it done".
Deut 29:29 "The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law."
What is revealed is found in the Word, i.e. the scriptures.
One more example from scripture:
13 And Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said to him, "Blessed be you to the LORD. I have performed the commandment of the LORD."
14 And Samuel said, "What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears and the lowing of the oxen that I hear?"
15 Saul said, "They have brought them from the Amalekites, for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen to sacrifice to the LORD your God, and the rest we have devoted to destruction."
16 Then Samuel said to Saul, "Stop! I will tell you what the LORD said to me this night." And he said to him, "Speak."
1Sa 15:17 And Samuel said, "Though you are little in your own eyes, are you not the head of the tribes of Israel? The LORD anointed you king over Israel.
18 And the LORD sent you on a mission and said, 'Go, devote to destruction the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.'
19 Why then did you not obey the voice of the LORD? Why did you pounce on the spoil and do what was evil in the sight of the LORD?"
20 And Saul said to Samuel, "I have obeyed the voice of the LORD. I have gone on the mission on which the LORD sent me. I have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and I have devoted the Amalekites to destruction.
21 But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the best of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the LORD your God in Gilgal."
22 And Samuel said, "Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.
1Sa 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has also rejected you from being king."
1Sa 15:24 Saul said to Samuel, "I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice.
Saul had just returned from his victory over the Amelikites, but he had not obeyed God's command as to how that victory was to be accomplished. God was not glorified in this, Saul was.
The word translated as obey is once again, shâma‛.
Saul did hear the command, and even understood, but he failed to obey. If one of these elements is missing
then it is not worship.Saul had a better idea and the people wanted justification through a religious act.
The word translated divination denotes a "different spirit".
21 Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.
22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.
23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.
24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."
We worship by the Spirit of the living God. Worship does not come by any other spirit.The Truth is found in His Word. John 17:17
Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
logikos (log-ik-os') spiritual,reasonable, logical
latreia (lat-ri'-ah) worship, service. obedience
To "shema" is to love the Lord with all your heart soul, mind and strength. It is to present ourselves to Him as a living sacrifice. I love Him with all my being. Therefore I hear His word, I understand them, (which implies that I trust Him to keep that word), and I perform that word,like Abraham, without question; unlike Saul who tried to rationalize his disobedience. Saul was never a worshiper of Yahweh.He worshipped according to his own convenience.
So for us today, what is the true heart of worship? The Lord is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent.
He is not bound by time, geography, religion,, or culture. He is not longing fondly for the music of yesteryear. nor is He eagerly awaiting some flashy new style of music or church service far off in the future. Music and Sunday morning service are mere expressions of our love for the Lord.The style of music we play, guitar, keyboard, piano, organ, or a capella;all the newest technology etc. etc. are a distant second, perhaps even irrelevant.
The real issue is are we worshiping everyday? Are we in His word, prayerfully discerning His will and obeying it?
Unless we are worshiping Him in Spirit and Truth what we do as "worship leaders" on Sunday a.m. is moot.
21 "I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
22 Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them.
23 Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen.
24 But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
25 "Did you bring to me sacrifices and offerings during the forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel?
The heart of worship is the heart of God.
Soli Deo Gloria