Small children have an immediate response when their father comes home from work. Even before they see his face or hear his voice, they seem to know that he has entered the house. The very atmosphere seems to change, and immediately, the children rush to greet him with shouts of glee. They dance around his feet, pull on his sleeves, and smother him with kisses — and that is praise. A little later, when things calm down, the children are ready to climb up on their father’s lap, lay their heads against his chest, and listen to his words. That is worship.
Entire volumes have been written on the subject of praise and worship, and all of them fall short, because the subject is too big to be contained in one book. Although we tend to think of the Psalms as the “praise book” or hymnal of the Bible, the Bible is actually filled from cover-to-cover with praise and worship. It is depicted in the lives which are recorded there, and it is commanded in the teachings of Jesus and the disciples.
The importance of worship is not hidden from the enemy camp. When Satan was tempting Jesus in the wilderness, he offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and their glory if He would simply fall down and worship Satan, Matthew 4:8-11. When we worship someone or something, the worship establishes a relationship between us. Worship brings us into submission, and we are influenced, directed, and ruled by that to which we submit. So, Satan would have been willing to give Jesus the world, knowing that Jesus would become just like him, and God’s plans would be destroyed.
Who We Worship
We live in a day and age when worship has been diverted from God and given to everything from cylinders of glass to convicted felons who play a mean guitar. Even those of us who deny such outward idols often fall into the habit of worshipping ourselves.
This worship in wrong places is demonstrated in a variety of ways — in how we spend our money, what we do with our time, who comes up in our conversations, where we focus our attention, and a myriad of other ways. Any of those areas diverted to something besides God will become worship, and the writer of the Psalms has a warning for us about that.
Referring to those who make gods of silver and gold, the writer says that those who trust these gods will soon become like them — having mouths, but they cannot speak; eyes, but they cannot see; ears, but they cannot hear… Psalm 115:4-8.
But, the Bible does make it abundantly clear Who we are to worship. During his amazing revelations, the Apostle John came face-to-face with a magnificent angel who had come straight from the presence of God, and immediately John fell down to worship. But the angel, who was also a created being designed by God for a specific purpose, stopped John, saying, See that you do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book; Worship God, Revelation 22:9.
The Effects of Worship
All worship belongs to God. He deserves it; He already owns it; It is His. By worshipping Him we are simply giving voice and heart to something that has already belonged to God before the foundation of the world. And, amazing things take place when we worship. We live in an unseen realm, where spiritual forces are at work around us in ways we seldom understand. We do feel the effects of the war going on around us, though, and the Bible demonstrates that praise and worship are weapons in our arsenal. When King Jehoshaphat and his people went out against the strength of three combined enemy armies, they sent the singers first. The worshippers went ahead of the army and sang praises to God all the way. When they reached the field of battle, the enemy armies had already been destroyed, and the spoil was waiting, just as God had promised, Second Chronicles 20.
King David was also a worshipper. From the early days as a shepherd boy singing alone in the hills, through his kingly reign in Jerusalem when he danced like a madman in the streets to welcome the presence of God, David recognized that worship was the key to finding God’s heart. And he was a man who was passionate for knowing God’s heart. The relationship between David and God was one of intimate friendship, born of worship, Psalm 30.
When We Are To Worship
Some religions appoint specific hours, days, and, dates for worship. The Christian faith defines a specific time for worship, too — always. At all times, continually, while I have my being, every day, as long as I live — are common terms in reference to worship in the scriptures. Our lives are to be worship unto God.
How We Worship
This issue has been the subject of much controversy in the Church. Yet the answer is quite simple. We worship God with everything we are or ever hope to be. Several specific ways to worship outwardly are detailed in the scriptures, and they include the following.
Worship is a part of our priestly ministry. It releases things in the heavenlies, draws us closer to the Father, and makes a dramatic change in our lives. We are living in a day when Jesus’ words to the woman at the well are being fulfilled in His Church. We are learning what it means to worship in spirit and in truth, John 4:24.