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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Worship and Encountering the Divine, Part One

Go to Part Two...

…Worship and Encountering the Divine…

Part One

..Worship..

1 Chronicles 16:23-25
aSing to the Lord, all the earth;
Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.
Tell of His glory among the nations,
His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.
For agreat is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
He also is bto be feared above all gods. [1]

Deuteronomy 6:13-15
aYou shall 1fear only the Lord your God; and you shall 2worship Him and bswear by His name.
aYou shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you,
for the Lord your God in the midst of you is a ajealous God; otherwise the anger of the Lord your God will be kindled against you, and He will 1wipe you off the face of the earth. [2]

Our study today is going to take us on several paths, and we will see how these paths will take us on the road to worship and our encounters with the divine.

First, we must look at what worship is:

                WORSHIP — is described as the reverent devotion and allegiance pledged to God; Webster defines it also as the rituals or ceremonies by which this reverence is expressed. The English word “worship” comes from the Old English word “worthship,” a word that denotes the worthiness of the one receiving the special honor or devotion.

In Tanach[3] times Abraham built altars to the Lord and called on His name (Gen. 12:8; 13:18):

Gen 12:8) Then he proceeded from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with aBethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the Lord and bcalled upon the name of the Lord. [4]

Genesis 13:18)  Then Abram moved his tents, and came and dwelt by the oaks of Mamre, which are in Hebron. And he built there an altar to Yahvey. [5]

This worship of God required no elaborate priesthood or ritual.

After God’s appearance to Moses and the deliverance of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, the foundations of Israelite ritual were laid. This worship took place in the light of history, especially the Exodus of the Hebrew people from Egypt. Through Moses, God established the form and principles of Israelite worship (Exodus 25–31; 35–40).

After the entering of the Promised Land, Israel’s exposure to Canaanite worship affected the nation’s own worship. The Tanach[6] reveals clearly that Israel adopted some of the practices of the pagan people around them. At various times God’s people lapsed into idolatry; some idols were placed on pedestals, and sometimes they were adorned or fastened with silver chains (Is. 40:19 “…The image, a workman hath cast it, and the goldsmith overlayeth it with gold, and casteth for it silver chains…” [7]) or fastened with pegs lest they totter and fall (Isaiah 41:7  Woodcarvers, goldsmiths, and other workers  encourage one another and say, “We’ve done a great job!” Then they nail the idol down, so it won’t fall over. [8]). Shrines and altars were sometimes erected to these pagan gods, but such idolatry was condemned by God and His special spokesmen, Moses and the Prophets of the Tanach.  The punishments that the people of God suffered for their disobedience was to serve as a reminder for believers in future times that the Almighty God of Heaven was a jealous God, and He alone was to be worshipped.
In the B’rit Hadashah[9], worship was characterized by joy and thanksgiving because of God’s gracious redemption in Messiah. This early first century worship focused on God’s saving work in Yeshua Ha’Machiach[10]. True worship was considered that which occurred under the inspiration of God’s Spirit (John 4:23–24; Phil. 3:3).

John 4:23
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. [11]

                The early believers were Jewish and continued to follow the Torah and customs of their people. They observed the Sabbath and the Jewish holy days, such as the great annual festivals. The B’rit Hadashah itself contains no references to any separate “Christian festivals” as there was no need; Messiah hadn’t come to establish a new religion, but to correct man’s corruption of the one God Himself had passed down to Moses on Mt. Sinai.

As they gathered together, these first believers would study from the Hebrew Scriptures (as there was no B’rit Hadashah; the first gospels would not be written until 25-30 years after Messiah’s crucifixion and resurrection) .  Emphasis was given to the messianic prophecies that had been fulfilled in Yeshua Ha’Machiach, so that new comers would receive a solid foundation of His teachings and His correct interpretation of the Torah of God.  For their worship of the Son of God, these early believers would suffer persecution from all sides; it would be this persecution that in 100 AD. would split the early church away from its Hebraic roots, and away from the pure worship of Elohim as introduced and correctly interpreted by Yeshua (Note: see Yeshua’s pronunciation of this creed, His creed, in Matt. 22:35-40, Luke 10:25-37 and Mark 12:28-34: we will explore this further in another epistle).
Today, when we hear the word worship, how can it truly be described?  In trying to describe worship in words we lose something in the translation, the same way that emotion will cause something to be lost also.  “Worship” becomes either a draw, or a repellent;  we’ve turned it into a stage production with a brass section, dancers and a full orchestra;  we have polished singers and sound booths, production managers, power-point presentations, “worship leaders”, and on and on.  We demand either total reverence, with a solemnity of the old songs or turn it into an exuberant expression of our favorite contemporary hits.  We mix it up with gospel, country, soul rending ballads and classic hymns.  We use song books that date back to the 1930’s or older, or contemporary songs and lyrics found on the internet.  The style and execution of what has become worship is almost endless.  Some say it’s merely entertainment, others see it as a vehicle to get them revved up, to “enter in” to what they assume is the divine presence.  Still others just want to get it over so they can hear the message and go about the business of the rest of the day.  We’ve timed it perfectly, 30 minutes to an hour, then 45 minutes to an hour of preaching and everybody is “fed” and sent out the door.  Some services, depending on the church or the congregation may be different, some getting into extended worship and preaching lasting hours, but by and large, the formula seems to be in at 10:00-10:30, out by 12:00-12:30 and all is well. 
But is it?  Is the soul truly full? Have we truly worshipped the True and Living God and His Messiah or have we been entertained and then consider that we have dutifully discharged our obligation to God by doing what “Christians” or “believers” are supposed to do: gather and meet at least once a week, and play church.  If I seem critical, well, I’m truly not trying to be, for in reality, how can I judge another person’s worship?  I can’t and shouldn’t play God, and presume anything about how another comes before the presence of God.  What I am speaking about is just to try to raise the bar a bit, to get us to think about what Worship truly is:  it’s not songs, it’s not dance, it’s not preaching, it’s not all the trappings and bells and whistles, it is simply a way of life, 24-7, of loving our God and posturing our hearts in grateful awe of who He actually is and what He has done for us.
                Several things occur in a worship setting; the sad part is often we misunderstand the purpose.  The purpose of worship is to minister to God with thankfulness and joy; He is our audience of one as the song says. Messiah says that we must worship God in Spirit and in truth.  Have you ever considered what that actually means?  What does it mean to worship in Spirit and in truth?
                We clap our hands, we stomp our feet, we sing loudly or softly as we feel led.  We let emotion run us and call it a Holy Ghost experience, but is this worship in spirit?  God is a Spirit; to reach Him, we must be in the Spirit so that our worship is effectual.  What transpires in the spirit?  It is here we let go, let go of our wants, our needs, our hunger to be ministered to, it is here we seek to touch the face of the Living God.  We have such a narrow concept of what the Spirit is, and this epistle isn’t the place to go into that yet. I will explore this subject with you in a later part of this series, but for now as I said before, far be it from me to tell anyone how to worship God when at times, I don’t even know how.  All I can share with you is my own experiences, but I can’t direct you in worship; no one can. It takes the movement of God’s Spirit to guide you.  From my experience though, you’ll KNOW when you’ve connected in the Spirit, for you are ushered into the presence of a Holy God and everything changes after that.  I can no longer stand, I must kneel or prostrate myself.  Sometimes it drops me to my face for it is not a feeling as much a realization that Someone greater than I’ve ever encountered before has made His essence known to me.  That’s why I say no one but the Holy Spirit can direct you in worship; you are either there, or you are not.  I know that a lot of times, I’m on the outside of His presence, and this is because I haven’t positioned myself to go all the way into the mercy seat.  My mind wanders, I’m distracted in my heart, I just don’t feel like it.  “Come on” I say, “get it over, I wanna sit down...”  It is usually then that I might just be given a taste of what I’m missing, a sudden chill, or shiver runs through me, and I realize, I’m cheating myself out of what God had in store for me for my hard heart.  This “shiver” isn’t a feeling of cold; there is a difference.  Now, this applies only to me, for this is how God deals with me.  I can’t say how Yahvey deals with you; only you know this.  To worship God in Spirit, you have to be in tune with your own spirit.  When I am, God meets me, or I meet Him, sometimes I’m not sure , but since He is always here, I’ll take a wild stab in the dark and say, it is me who comes to the meeting for I’ve allowed myself to go where He is, I’ve let my spirit reach out and touch God.
                What about truth?  How do I worship Him in truth?  This involves His word.  As I said, I’m learning all these things as I go; one thing I do know, I can’t fake it.  I must look into His word, and allow it to wash me in its’ truth so that my hard heart is soft enough to feel His presence.  Daily I have got to be in the word of God, for daily, my heart hardens.  With every little slight or offense or misstep or whatever, if I’m not thinking on Him, I’m growing a rock garden in my soul.  His word tells me how to worship, His word tells me why I should worship, His word lets me know who He is so that I want to worship.  It isn’t in a church, or a sanctuary, or a mountain top or in any place that worship occurs; it is in my heart that it begins.  I must live in His word so that I can live in worship because for myself, it is the only way.  If I were to rate myself, as I should, as to what type of worshipper I really am, well, I’m probably pretty dismal.  I do not worship 24-7.  Right now, I don’t know how to be a “man after God’s heart”  all the time.  I let other things crowd in, attitudes and crud that just simply shouldn’t have a place in my life yet there they are.  It is by the truth of His word, the truth that Yeshua Ha’Machiach is the Truth, that I have any chance at all to truly worship Yahvey in Spirit and in truth. 
What if we didn’t have a band, CD worship or anything like that? Have you ever asked yourself that question? Could I “enter in” simply by reading His word to Him?  What about psalms, what about His promises, could I turn them into songs from my heart to His?  Can I turn praise into worship and worship into praise with no music other than that that my soul conceives?  Can I by silence or just being still usher myself into His presence?  When I can do these things, when it is just His word and my praise of Him, this is worship then, in spirit and truth.  Truth is, God is cool;  I need to tell Him so all the time; I need to seek His heart and bless Him, and quit worrying so much about how I think it should be the other way around.

                In the Bible are many references to worship, and surprisingly, different words in the Hebrew and Greek that were translated as “Worship”.

                The first time worship appears in the King James is in Genesis, chapter 22, verse 5....
Genesis 22:5 (NASB95)
Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go over there; and we will worship and return to you.”  [12]

The word used for worship here is the Hebrew word. shachah, shaw-khaw (Strong’s #H7812);  Strongs defines it as : “…a prim. root; to depress, i.e. prostrate (espec. reflex. in homage to royalty or God):--bow (self) down, crouch, fall down (flat), humbly beseech, do (make) obeisance, do reverence, make to stoop, worship…” [13]
                                Abraham was off to sacrifice his son Isaac, and he called it worship.  Could we call it that today?  When my son joined the Marine Corps, we knew that he could be  going off to war.  The Father asked me “If you never saw him again this side of eternity, would you still trust me?” It is a hard thing to be asked by God to give up your child.  God has asked me to give Him all of mine, and it is hard to let them go, to lay them down before God and say “Do as you will Lord.”  Would I call it worship if something were to happen to any of them?  Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.  No matter what the outcome of the “worship”, he trusted God that the right thing would be done. All I can do is remember the promise gave to me, and rest upon that.  When I trust Him, that’s worship.  I become vulnerable and bow myself down and accept His rest and His sovereignty over my life.
                Forty-six more times is this word “shachah” used before we find another word translated as worship, though it is translated in different fashions  as well as “worship”in the following examples:
Gen. 18:2; 19:1; 22:5; 23:7, 12; 24:26, 48, 52; 27:29; 33:3, 6, 7; 37:7, 9, 10; 42:6; 43:26, 28; 47:31; 48:12; 49:8; Ex. 4:31; 11:8; 12:27; 18:7; 20:5; 23:24; 32:8; 33:10; 34:8, 14; Lev. 26:1; Num. 22:31; 25:2; Deut. 4:19; 5:9; 8:19; 11:16; 17:3; 26:10; 29:26(25); 30:17; Josh. 5:14; 23:7, 16; Judg. 2:12, 17, 19; 7:15; Ruth 2:10; 1 Sam. 1:3, 19, 28; 2:36; 15:25, 30, 31; 20:41; 24:8(9); 25:23, 41; 28:14...[14]

Exodus 34:14 (LEB)
14 For you will not bow in worship to another god, for ‘Yahweh Is Jealous’ is his name, he is a jealous God, [15]

Deuteronomy 4:19 (NKJV)
19 And take heed, lest you vlift your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, wall the host of heaven, you feel driven to xworship them and serve them, which the Lord your God has 6given to all the peoples under the whole heaven as a heritage. [16]

1 Chronicles 16:29 (NIV)
29 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;f
bring an offering and come before him.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of hise holiness.g [17]

Psalm 5:7 (NABWRNT)
7 you destroy all who speak falsely.
Murderers and deceivers
the LORD abhors.
Psalm 22:27 (NABWRNT)
27 The poor will eat their fill;
those who seek the LORD will offer praise.
May your hearts enjoy life forever!” [18]

Jeremiah 7:2 (NET)
7:2 “Stand in the gate of the Lord’s temple and proclaim2 this message: ‘Listen, all you people of Judah who have passed through these gates to worship the Lord.3 Hear what the Lord has to say. [19]

Most of the instances where “shachah” is used refer to the worship of Yahvey, but some are used by God to admonish His followers not to bow down to idols and strange gods.  This next verse taken from Jeremiah, we see a different word used, “atsab”: the primary root of the word means to fabricate, or to create.  It also denotes worship in a “bad sense of the word.

Jeremiah 44:19 (NET)
44:19 The women added,35 “We did indeed sacrifice and pour out drink offerings to the Queen of Heaven. But it was with the full knowledge and approval of our husbands that we made cakes in her image and poured out drink offerings to her.”36 [20]

“…H6087. 'atsab, aw-tsab'; a prim. root; prop. to carve, i.e. fabricate or fashion; hence (in a bad sense) to worry, pain or anger:--displease, grieve, hurt, make, be sorry, vex, worship, wrest…”[21]

                The people in this discourse, the women of Judah, captive in the land of Egypt, complained that ever since they stopped “worshipping” the queen of heaven, they had nothing but trouble.  I urge you to read the whole context of this incident (which is Jer. 44:1-30), but the bottom line is that God was punishing them for the sins in their lives that He had warned them about.

…“atsab”… Fabricated worship.  Have you seen any evidence of this in your life?  I’ll admit I have been guilty.  I have worshipped things I’ve created with my hands; I have worshipped wealth, position and material things.  I have elevated others to a worship status, hence the phrase, “put them on a pedestal.” I have faked worship for there was no love or fear of God in my heart.  I have been carried away by the emotion of songs and music but had no truth in my soul in which to honor the One to whom the Honor was due.  These false “gods” brought me good times, for instead of the True God, I served the master fabricator of lies.  When you serve him, he usually leaves you alone right up until the time he is ready to kill you.  Then the “good times” turn sour, and the grave seems to be the only sweet thing left. 

                “Shachah” worship returns in Ezekiel, in three vs., Ezek 46:2-3, and 9.  In the book of Daniel we see another word, “cegid” [5457. cegid, (Chald.), seg-eed'; corresp. to H5456:--worship. 5456. cagad, saw-gad'; a prim. root; to prostrate oneself (in homage):--fall down.] [22]

This word is a Chaldean word, as the verses it is used in are written in Aramaic.  The word compares to the Hebrew “shachah” in meaning.  We find this word in Daniel 3:5, 10, 12, 14-15, 18, and 28. Shachah is used throughout the rest of the Tanach for example in Michah, Zephaniah, and Zechariah.

Micah 5:13 (NIrV)
 13  I will destroy the statues of your gods.
I will take your sacred stones away from you.
You will no longer bow down (shachah)
to the gods your hands have made. [23]
.
Zephaniah 2:11 (RSV)
11 The Lord will be terrible against them;
yea, he will famish all the gods of the earth,
and to him shall bow down (shachah),
each in its place,
all the lands of the nations. [24]

Zechariah 14:16-17 (KJV)
16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. 17 And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship (shachah) the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. [25]

Of this last verse, Matthew Henry had this to say:

“…Zec 14:16: ... As it is impossible for all nations literally to come to Jerusalem once a year, to keep a feast, it is evident that a figurative meaning must here be applied. Gospel worship is represented by the keeping of the feast of tabernacles. Every day of a Christian's life is a day of the feast of tabernacles; every Lord's day especially is the great day of the feast; therefore every day let us worship the Lord of hosts, and keep every Lord's day with peculiar solemnity. It is just for God to withhold the blessings of grace from those who do not attend the means of grace. It is a sin that is its own punishment; those who forsake the duty, forfeit the privilege of communion with God. A time of complete peace and purity of the church will arrive. Men will carry on their common affairs, and their sacred services, upon the same holy principles of faith, love and obedience. Real holiness shall be more diffused, because there shall be a more plentiful pouring forth of the Spirit of holiness than ever before. There shall be holiness even in common things. Every action and every enjoyment of the believer, should be so regulated according to the will of God, that it may be directed to his glory.
Our whole lives should be as one constant sacrifice, or act of devotion; no selfish motive should prevail in any of our actions.
But how far is the Christian church from this state of purity! Other times, however, are at hand, and the Lord will reform and enlarge his church, as he has promised. Yet in heaven alone will perfect holiness and happiness be found…”[26]

“Our whole lives should be as one constant sacrifice, or act of devotion; no selfish motive should prevail in any of our actions...”

 Is this not what true worship should be?  Shachah worship, of reverence, of obedience, of humbleness, of adoration to our Creator.  What do we miss when we seek to close the gap between the Holy and the natural?  In our contemporary worship, we sing songs that contain a lot of “I” and “me” statements, and by using our own words we have taken liberties with the things of heaven.  We sometimes flippantly call God “the Big Guy Upstairs”; we joke about “St. Peter and the Pearly Gates”.  We turn the Living Messiah into a baby every December 25th, the day we call Christmas (which is really the pagan day of worship for the sun god) and into a dead guy on a cross every Easter (the pagan “holy day” for the goddess Ishtar), when the awesome truth of a powerful, resurrected Messiah should be what we celebrate on the day the Father had already set aside for us to do so, on Pesach or Passover..  The sacrifice of the cross is diminished with every passion play, because for two hours we watch the enemies of God crucify Messiah over and over again, but we only give His resurrection 5 minutes at the end of the play.  It is in the blood of Messiah that we are free, yes but it is living blood!  He lives!  This blood that flowed from my Savior’s wounds broke the chains of hell and death, shattered the lies of the enemy and it is the same blood that now flows throughout a living Savior.  Do we not worship a living God, or do we worship a cross?  The things of heaven aren’t imagined, aren’t cute stuffed angels or cartoonish characters; the things of heaven change lives, they heal hearts and mend a broken humanity back to its Creator.  Father, Son and Holy Ghost are to us just the ending words in a benediction, for we have lost the truth of the Alpha and Omega; it is the Father, Yahvey Elohim and His Lord and Messiah Yeshua we should worship.  The gap between the Holy and the natural is already filled with the one true mediator between God and man, and that is the man Yeshua Ha’Machiach (1 Tim 2:5); my praise isn’t always worship, but my worship always must be praise.  Worship isn’t songs; it is awe and wonder, the fear of a living God and given with humble thanks that He allows me to even draw a breath when in reality all that I deserve is His wrath. 

                When we approach worship, what draws God near?  It is written, in Ps 22:3;

But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Isra’el.

If God inhabits praise, should not this be our posture when we come before Him?  For what truly is worship other than the attitude that we approach the throne of grace with?  There are times in my moments with God that I realize it isn’t song, it isn’t words, it is not my reading of His word back to Him that He wants; it is my attitude toward Him, my kavanah - the intent of my heart and my wanting to be a like a child, a child that wants to (if you will) “bounce on Daddy’s bed” and wake Him up in the morning as my children once did when they were small;  it is in that childlike desire to cling to a parents leg, to never let go, to be close that our God wants.  More than anything else, I’ve found that it is my adopting a proper attitude of humility and thanksgiving is what draws me nigh to God and then He draws nigh to me.  I think that to be able to come to God and have a discussion with Him as you would your earthly father or a close friend is a remarkable thing.  To know that a Holy God wants to be that intimate with me is mind-boggling.  I don’t discount this closeness at all, but lets us never lose sight of one fact:  He is GOD; I am not.  There is much to be said in coming to the throne of grace and mercy with the reverence that the Living God deserves.  Yes, we draw near to Him, yes, He allows us to, but He is HOLY, and no matter what we do or how close to Him we think we are, HE IS GOD! O to live in that beauty of holiness! I loved my earthly father while he was still here on this earth, but not with a love that could be called worship.  God Almighty deserves, yea, commands worship.  It all depends upon the intent of my heart, and my longing and holding to His Truth.

                Now if anything I have said so far has offended anyone, that is truly not my intent. I have to be true to what God has taught me; it is for you my dear reader to reconcile what you believe with prayer and careful study of God’s word. Please, don’t take my word for it; look to see if what I have said is in line with the Word; I am teachable and correctable and am willing to engage in any honest discussion with any who disagree. None of us have a sure lock on the truth: in fact I would run away from anyone who says he does.  We all must compare what we believe with what is written in the original language of the Holy Scriptures, and seek the Father’s help to understand the Truth. Come to God with an open heart and mind, open enough for Him to reach you, but narrow enough that not just anything can find its way in. It has to be in agreement with His word….

Let us look at another word translated as worship…

(Mat 2:2 KJV)  Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship* him.

*G4352. proskuneo, pros-koo-neh'-o; from G4314** and a prob. der. of G2965 (mean. to kiss, like a dog licking his master's hand); to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (lit. or fig.) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore):--worship.
·         G4314**. pros, pros; a strengthened form of G4253; a prep. of direction; forward to, i.e. toward (with the genit. the side of, i.e. pertaining to; with the dat. by the side of, i.e. near to; usually with the accus. the place, time, occasion, or respect, which is the destination of the relation, i.e. whither or for which it is predicated):--about, according to, against, among, at, because of, before, between, ([where-]) by, for, X at thy house, in, for intent, nigh unto, of, which pertain to, that, to (the end that), + together, to ([you]) -ward, unto, with (-in). In comp. it denotes essentially the same applications, namely, motion towards, accession to, or nearness at.
·         G4253. pro, pro; a prim. prep.; "fore", i.e. in front of, prior (fig. superior) to:--above, ago, before, or ever. In comp. it retains the same significations.

                The wise men of the east came to worship Jesus.  Here, in the B’rit Hadashah, is the word first used, proskuneo (pros-koo-neh'-o).  By digging into the Greek, we can see the attitude, the posture of this worship:  homage, reverence, adoration.  Looking at the literal translation, it means to kiss, like a dog licking a master’s hand.  Ever had that happen to you?  I’ve had several dogs as pets in my life, and for an example of unconditional love, they are one of the best.  A dog will sit and listen to you pour out your troubles for as long as you want; maybe all he hears is “blah, blah, blah” but he fakes it well.  When your sorrow wells up, what happens?  My hounds always licked my hand.  It was such a small thing, maybe meant nothing at all, but the act was symbolic in my mind of an act of comfort, of love.  Heck, to the dog, it might have been salt on my hands or that hamburger I ate, I don’t know... To my heart, it was so much more.  It was a kiss.  Selfless.  That’s what it signified to me. 
That should be our worship, selfless adoration.  A kiss of love.

The same word is used in Matt 2:8 and 4:9-10. 

                Matt 15:9 and Mark 7:7 introduce another word, another “attitude of Worship”, the word sebomai (seb'-om-ahee), meaning a devout, religious worship, to revere or adore.

Matthew 15:9 (NASB95)
9) But in vain do they worship Me,
Teaching as adoctrines the precepts of men.’ ” [27]

 G4576. sebomai, seb'-om-ahee; mid. of an appar. prim. verb; to revere, i.e. adore:--devout, religious, worship.

Mark 7:7 (NRSV)
7 vain do they worship me,
teaching human precepts as doctrines.’ [28]

Please notice the context though: God is speaking of men worshipping Him as they choose, with the teaching of doctrines of men in place of the Words of God.  We must be careful in our worship, that what we do is in spirit and truth, not because of religion.  Worship cannot be forced.  You can make a man stand up, clap his hands, cajole him to sing, but this isn’t worship, and unfortunately sometimes we think that this is.  You cannot influence a man’s heart in this manner.  This only leads to the appearance of worship, not actual worship.  Would it not be better to let each seek his own place with God than to force a system of religion upon them?  Does standing up give God more honor than sitting down?  It depends on where your heart is. If I stand up with a wrong heart, it isn’t worship.  If I sit and God moves on my spirit, and in sitting, He quickens my soul for whatever reason, won’t my attitude then reflect what I’m feeling?  It is attitude, once again, not position that determines whether or not I’m engaged in worship.  God looks at the heart, and nothing more.  My coerced compliance with a religious system means nothing to Him. If our hearts are in the right place though, we will give the Father the reverence due Him; I choose to stand in the presence of the King, but I speak only for myself.

Luke 14:10 in the King James is translated “worship”, but the word “doxa” (dox'-ah) is better translated glory or honor.  It is used in over 170 verses and is most always translated “glory”.

(Luke 14:10 KJV)  But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.

G1391. doxa, dox'-ah; from the base of G1380; glory (as very apparent), in a wide application (lit. or fig., obj. or subj.):--dignity, glory (-ious), honour, praise, worship.[29]
G1380. dokeo, dok-eh'-o; a prol. form of a prim. verb  doko, dok'-o (used only as an alt. in certain tenses: comp. the base of G1166) of the same mean.; to think; by impl. to seem (truthfully or uncertainly):--be accounted, (of own) please (-ure), be of reputation, seem (good), suppose, think, trow.[30]

This word, doxa, can be traced back to the Hebrew as the word kāḇôḏ. It carries with it a sense of respect and honor:
“…1. The Hebrew term kāḇôḏ has the root sense of something weighty which gives importance, e.g., wealth (Gen. 13:2; 31:1) or honor (Gen. 45:13).
2. In relation to God it denotes that which makes God impressive. Since God is invisible, it necessarily carries a reference to his self-manifestation.
a. This may be in natural phenomena (cf. Ps. 97:1ff.; Ezek. 1:1ff.; Ps. 29). Yet God cannot be equated with these as though he were, e.g., the God of thunder and every thunderstorm manifested his glory.
b. Ps. 19 makes it plain that God’s kāḇôḏ belongs to the higher regions of heaven. Yet if God dwells in heaven, he comes down to the tent of meeting. Thus in Ex. 40:34ff. a cloud covers the tent and God’s kāḇôḏ fills its interior as a kind of radiant substance from which emanates the fire that consumes the sacrifice. In Ex. 24:15ff. God’s kāḇôḏ is also like a devouring fire (on the mountain), and Moses’ face is radiant after speaking with God.
c. Ezekiel has personal visions of the divine kāḇôḏ in which it is accompanied by the cherubim, rides on a throne, has human shape, bears very strongly the character of light, and both leaves the first temple and returns to the second.
d. In some passages the kāḇôḏ of God has the more general sense of “honor,” as in Pss. 24:8; 138:5; 66:2. Often God’s glory is linked to his name or there is a demand to give God the glory that is his due, i.e., to recognize the import of his deity. God will not give his glory to another. God’s glory is also a theme of hope, as in Pss. 72:19; 57:5, 11; Is. 66:18-19. In this regard God’s glory is connected with his act of salvation (Is. 40:3ff.). In this act God will be glory for Israel (Zech. 2:8-9) and Israel will be to God’s glory (Is. 43:7).
[G. von Rad, II, 238-42]…”[31]
Turn with me to the book of Acts:
(Acts 7:42-43 KJV)
Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, O ye house of Isra’el, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness? {43} Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which ye made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon.

G3000. latreuo, lat-ryoo'-o; from latris (a hired menial); to minister (to God), i.e. render religious homage:--serve, do the service, worship (-per).
G4352. proskuneo, pros-koo-neh'-o; “…προσκυνέω proskunéō; contracted proskunṓ, fut. proskunḗsō, from prós (4314), to, and kunéō (n.f.), to kiss, adore. To worship, do obeisance, show respect, fall or prostrate before. Literally, to kiss toward someone, to throw a kiss in token of respect or homage. The ancient oriental (especially Persian) mode of salutation between persons of equal ranks was to kiss each other on the lips; when the difference of rank was slight, they kissed each other on the cheek; when one was much inferior, he fell upon his knees and touched his forehead to the ground or prostrated himself, throwing kisses at the same time toward the superior. It is this latter mode of salutation that Gr. writers express by proskunéō. In the NT, generally, to do reverence or homage to someone, usually by kneeling or prostrating oneself before him. In the Sept. it means to bow down, to prostrate oneself in reverence, homage (Gen. 19:1; 48:12)…”[32]

In vs. 42, the word used for worship is latreuo (lat-ryoo'-o).  The word is used to denote religious homage, or service to.  There is nothing wrong with service to God, this in fact could be a form of worship as long as the work doesn’t take the place of God.  We see this too many times though that we get so busy working for the gospel that we don’t do the gospel work and thus don’t worship God.  In our zeal to do His work, we forget the real work of God and that is to believe on whom He sent, Yeshua Ha’Machiach.  Worship of our Savior should always be our first and foremost act.  We worship God in the temple of our hearts, not in the service we render.  Matthew Henry says of service: 
“But as heaven is his throne, and the earth his footstool, so none of our services can profit Him who made all things. Next to the human nature of Messiah, the broken and spiritual heart is his most valued temple.” 
True service, this becomes the labor of love in a believer, who desires to serve a living God, with all his heart.  This then truly becomes an act of worship, done out of love and adoration for the one who saves.

                Again in Acts, we are introduced to another word translated as worship: eusebeo (yoo-seb-eh'-o).

(Acts 17:23 KJV)
For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.

G2151. eusebeo, yoo-seb-eh'-o; from G2152; to be pious; i.e. (towards God) to worship, or (towards parents) to respect (support):--show piety, worship.

This is a show of respect, of piety.  Now piety comes from the word pious, which, by definition, is an act of reverence to God or gods, of service, of outward appearance.  Many “acts” of worship are just that: outward appearances.  This isn’t to say that a pious person isn’t truly a believer in his/her heart, but we have all seen those that are white washed on the outside and yet their insides are only full of dead men’s bones.  Having respect isn’t worship either.  I can stand in tradition out of respect for those around me, giving the appearance of piety but still be a heathen on the inside.  Reverence is borne out of love and obedience, and you either love and obey God or you don’t.  The fruit of your spirit will reveal the truth.  The word also implies the ultimate act of worship: ministering to God, to His needs, not our own.

Col. 2:23 brings us yet another word, ethelothreskeia, (eth-el-oth-race-ki'-ah) which denotes a true heart of worship, one that has a voluntary desire, a gladness, a delight in worshipping the object of our affection.

Col 2:20-23
20aIf you have died with Christ 1to the belementary principles of the world, cwhy, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to ddecrees, such as,
21“Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!”
22(which all refer ato things destined to perish 1with use)—in accordance with the bcommandments and teachings of men?
23These are matters which have, to be sure, the 1appearance of wisdom in 2aself-made religion and self-abasement and bsevere treatment of the body, but are of no value against cfleshly indulgence. [33]

 G1479. ethelothreskeia, eth-el-oth-race-ki'-ah; from G2309 and G2356; voluntary (arbitrary and unwarranted) piety, i.e. sanctimony:--will worship.

G2309. thelo, thel'-o; or  ethelo, eth-el'-o; in certain tenses  theleo, thel-eh'-o; and  etheleo, eth-el-eh'-o, which are otherwise obsol.; appar. strengthened from the alt. form of G138; to determine (as an act. option from subj. impulse; whereas G1014 prop. denotes rather a pass. acquiescence in obj. considerations), i.e. choose or prefer (lit. or fig.); by impl. to wish, i.e. be inclined to (sometimes adv. gladly); impers. for the fut. tense, to be about to; by Heb. to delight in:--desire, be disposed (forward), intend, list, love, mean, please, have rather, (be) will (have, -ling, -ling [ly]).
G2356. threskeia, thrace-ki'-ah; from a der. of G2357; ceremonial observance:--religion, worshipping.[34]

This then is the state of true worship.  We have a choice to worship God as He commands and expects, or we can choose a self-made religion and by definition, self-made worship. How we approach God and our Messiah will say a lot about us as believers.  It is not the position of your body, but of the intent of your heart that truly is the spirit of true worship.  We are measured by God, a plumb line if you will...

(Rev 11:1 KJV)
And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship [from the TDNTa: “…3. The worship of heaven involves repeated proskýnēsis (Rev. 4:10; 5:14; 7:11; 11:16; 19:4). Those who fear God (and those who worship the beast!) are also proskynoúntes (Rev. 11:1;)…”][35] therein.

                The worshippers will be measured; whether they make God's glory their end and His word their rule, all depends in their acts of worship. Those outside the temple gates, they that worship in a false manner or with stony hearts will be found among his enemies. God looks at the heart of man, and as Messiah has said, those that worship Him will do so in spirit and in truth. 

How are you positioned today?  Are you outside the gate or are you one of those found within the Temple walls, in the outer court, the inner court or have you made it all the way into the Holy of Holies? Is your life an act of worship or is your worship an act?  The questions sound so similar, but the meanings are night and day, just as worship can be.  Worship can be a shining light, a brilliant beacon in a dark world. Worship can be a life lived for the King or it’s light extinguished and dark, lived and brought out only for the show and praise of man; the choice is truly ours.  As there are many words in the Bible that denote worship, there are surely just as many attitudes and postures of the heart that reflect where we are with God.  Our lives will worship Him in our service to one another which is a mirrored reflection of our ministry to Him.  You can serve in the outer courts, but those there are only the 30 fold.  Will you serve Him in the inner courts (the 60 fold) or go into the Holy Place (the hundred fold) with praise and thanksgiving? Or are you outside the gate where only those who engage in side-show and self-made religion exist? 

Again, the choice is up to each of us as individuals.
Let your life be a true worship song, one sung to an audience of one.


May Yahvey richly bless you as you choose to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth, Amein.





a Ps 96:1–13
a Ps 144:3–6
b Ps 89:7
[1] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
a Deut 13:4; Matt 4:10; Luke 4:8
1 Or reverence
2 Or serve
b Deut 5:11; 10:20; Ps 63:11; Matt 5:33
a Jer 25:6
a Deut 4:24; 5:9
1 Lit destroy
[2] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
[3] Tanach is the name given to the Hebrew Scriptures: “…The Tanach (Hebrew: תַּנַ"ךְ‎, pronounced [taˈnaχ] or [təˈnax]; also Tenakh, Tenak, Tanach) is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanach is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah ("Teaching", also known as the Five Books of Moses), Nevi'im ("Prophets") and Ketuvim ("Writings")—hence Tanach. The name "Miqra" (מקרא), meaning "that which is read", is an alternative Hebrew term for the Tanach…” cited from the article Tanach at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanach.
a Josh 8:9, 12
b Gen 4:26; 21:33
[4] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
[5] Darby, J. N., 1890 Darby Bible, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1995.
[6] Hebrew name for what the Western Church calls the “Old Testament”.
[7] 1901 American Standard Version, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1994.
[8] The Contemporary English [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1995 by the American Bible Society.
[9] Hebrew for “New Testament” (actually translated as “New Covenant”).
[10] Yeshua Ha’Machiach: Hebrew for “Jesus Christ” or “Jesus the Messiah”.
[11] The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.
[12]  New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
[13] Strong, J. (1996). The exhaustive concordance of the Bible : Showing every word of the test of the common English version of the canonical books, and every occurrence of each word in regular order. (electronic ed.) (H7812). Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship.
[14] Baker, W. (2003). The complete word study concordance: Old Testament (p. 2054). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
[15]  The Lexham English Bible. 2012 (W. H. Harris, III, E. Ritzema, R. Brannan, D. Mangum, J. Dunham, J. A. Reimer & M. Wierenga, Ed.). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
v  Deut. 17:3; Job 31:26–28
w  2 Kin. 21:3
x  [Rom. 1:25]
6  divided
[16]  The New King James Version. 1982. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
f  Ps 8:1
e  Or Lord with the splendor of
g  2 Ch 20:21; Ps 29:1–2
[17]  The New International Version. 2011. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
 The poor: originally the poor, who were dependent on God; the term (‘anawim) came to include the religious sense of “humble, pious, devout.”
[18]  Confraternity of Christian Doctrine. Board of Trustees, Catholic Church. National Conference of Catholic Bishops, & United States Catholic Conference. Administrative Board. (1996, c1986). The New American Bible : Translated from the original languages with critical use of all the ancient sources and the revised New Testament. Confraternity of Christian Doctrine.
(Notes with red numbering taken from the NET Bible® footnotes, copyright (c) 1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press L.L.C. All rights reserved. Used by permission from www.bible.org. This material is available in its entirety as a free download or online web use at http://www.nextbible.org/ . )
2 tn Heb “Proclaim there…” The adverb is unnecessary in English style.
3 sn That is, all those who have passed through the gates of the outer court and are standing in the courtyard of the temple.
[19]  Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press.
(Notes with red numbering taken from the NET Bible® footnotes, copyright (c) 1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press L.L.C. All rights reserved. Used by permission from www.bible.org. This material is available in its entirety as a free download or online web use at http://www.nextbible.org/ . )
35 tc The words “And the women added” are not in the Hebrew text. They are, however, implicit in what is said. They are found in the Syriac version and in one recension of the Greek version. W. L. Holladay (Jeremiah [Hermeneia], 2:279, n. 19a) suggests that these words are missing from the Hebrew text because of haplography, i.e., that the scribe left out וַהַנָּשִׁים אָמְרוּ כִי (vahannashim omru khi) because his eye jumped from the ו at the beginning to the כִּי (ki) that introduced the temporal clause and left out everything in between. It is, however, just as likely, given the fact that there are several other examples of quotes which have not been formally introduced in the book of Jeremiah, that the words were not there and are supplied by these two ancient versions as a translator’s clarification.
36 tn Or “When we sacrificed and poured out drink offering to the Queen of Heaven and made cakes in her image, wasn’t it with the knowledge and approval of our husbands?” Heb “When we sacrificed to the Queen of Heaven and poured out drink offerings [for the use of לְ (lamed) + the infinitive construct to carry on the tense of the preceding verb see BDB 518 s.v. לְ 7.b(h)] to her, did we make cakes to make an image of her and pour out drink offerings apart from [i.e., “without the knowledge and consent of,” so BDB 116 s.v. בִּלְעֲדֵי b(a)] our husbands?” The question expects a positive answer and has been rendered as an affirmation in the translation. The long, complex Hebrew sentence has again been broken in two and restructured to better conform with contemporary English style.
sn According to Jer 7:18–19 it was not only with the full knowledge and approval of their husbands but also with their active participation. Most of the commentaries call attention to the fact that what is being alluded to here is that a woman’s vow had to have her husband’s conscious approval to have any validity (cf. Num 30:7–16 and see the reference to the vow in v. 17).
[20]  Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press.
[21] Strong, J. (1996). The exhaustive concordance of the Bible : Showing every word of the test of the common English version of the canonical books, and every occurrence of each word in regular order. (electronic ed.) (H7812). Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship.
[22] ..Ibid..
[23]  New International Reader's Version. 1998 (1st ed.). Zondervan.
[24]  The Revised Standard Version. 1971. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
[25]  The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[26] Matthew Henry's Commentary  On the whole Bible (electronic ed. of the complete and unabridged edition.) Henry, M. (1996, c1991). (Mt 11:7). Peabody: Hendrickson, (In the beginning was theWord, abbreviated theWord) is copyrighted.
© 2003-2012 - Costas Stergiou)
a  Col 2:22
[27]  New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
[28]  The Holy Bible : New Revised Standard Version. 1989. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[29] Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, by James Strong, (electronic edition) ), e-Sword®, ver. 10.2.1, copyright 2000-2013 by Rick Myers
[30] ..Ibid..
[31] Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (TDNT) Abridged in One Volume, Gerhard Kittel, Gerhard Friedrich, Geoffrey W. Bromiley. Grand Rapids, Michigan © 1985 William  B. Eerdmans Publishing Company All rights reserved www.eerdmans.com

[32] Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament. Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
a Rom 6:2
1 Lit from
b Col 2:8
c Gal 4:9
d Col 2:14, 16
a 1 Cor 6:13
1 Or by being consumed
b Is 29:13; Matt 15:9; Titus 1:14
1 Lit report; Gr logos
2 Or would-be religion
a Col 2:18
b 1 Tim 4:3
c Rom 13:14; 1 Tim 4:8
[33] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
[34] Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, by James Strong, (electronic edition) ), e-Sword®, ver. 10.2.1, copyright 2000-2013 by Rick Myers
[35] Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (TDNT) Abridged in One Volume, Gerhard Kittel, Gerhard Friedrich, Geoffrey W. Bromiley. Grand Rapids, Michigan © 1985 William  B. Eerdmans Publishing Company All rights reserved www.eerdmans.com