Posted with permission of original author: Dr. Kelly Varner
Genesis 22:5 KJV And Abraham said…I and the lad will go yonder and WORSHIP, and come again to you.
Exodus 34:14 KJV For thou shalt WORSHIP no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:
Psalms 22:27 KJV All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall WORSHIP before Thee.
Psalms 29:2 KJV Give unto the LORD the glory due unto His name; WORSHIP the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
Psalms 66:4 KJV All the earth shall WORSHIP Thee, and shall sing unto Thee; they shall sing to Thy name. Selah.
Psalms 86:9 KJV All nations whom Thou hast made shall come and WORSHIP before Thee, O Lord; and shall glorify Thy name.
Psalms 95:6 KJV O come, let us WORSHIP and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.
1. The HEBREW word for “WORSHIP” is shaw-khaw' (Strong’s #7812), and it means, “to depress, prostrate (to bow down in homage to royalty or to God).” It is found in the Hebrew Bible over 170 times, and is rendered in the KJV as, “bow (self) down, crouch, fall down (flat), humbly beseech, do (make) obeisance, do reverence, make to stoop, worship.”
This word for “WORSHIP” is found for the first time in Genesis 18:2, where Abraham “BOWED himself toward the ground” before the three messengers who announced that Sarah would have a son. The act of bowing down in homage is generally done before a superior or a ruler.
This word is limited, only describing the ACTION of the worshipper in humbling himself—Jesus alone introduced REAL WORSHIP (Jn. 4:23-24), which flows from the HEART!
Genesis 22:5 KJV And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and WORSHIP, and come again to you (compare Rom. 12:1-2).
2. This FIRST MENTION of “WORSHIP” in the Bible reveals that the essence of worship is SACRIFICE (exemplified by the Brazen ALTAR and the Golden ALTAR in Moses’ Tabernacle). Worship involves a costly and lavish presentation to God (compare 2 Sam. 24:24 with the “full price” of 1 Chron. 21:22-24).
Acts 24:14 KJV But this I (Paul) confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy (a self-willed opinion), so WORSHIP I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:
Philippians 3:3 KJV For we (the Church) are the [true] circumcision, which WORSHIP God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
Revelation 4:10-11 KJV The four and twenty elders fall down before Him that sat on the throne, and WORSHIP Him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created.
3. In the New Testament, the Greek word for “WORSHIP,” proskuneo (Strong's #4352), means “to kiss toward one, like a dog licking his master's hand; to crouch to, prostrate oneself in homage (to make obeisance to, do reverence to, to adore).”
This entails a submission and honor to God as our Sovereign Lord; it is most prevalent in Matthew (13 times) and Revelation (27 times), the two books that reveal Jesus as the LION KING, the “Lion of the tribe of JUDAH” (Rev. 5:5)!
We fall down to worship and obey Him, prostrating ourselves before Him to kiss His feet, or the hem of His garment, or the very ground before Him—“Kiss the Son” (Psa. 2:12)!
Proskuneo is derived from two Greek words: pros (forward, toward) and kuon (dog). The warrior “CALEB” (a forcible attack DOG) expresses the worshipper’s confident, passionate, overcoming spirit in the verse below:
Numbers 13:30 NIV Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it” (well able to overcome it – KJV).
John 4:23-24 KJV 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. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him MUST (it is necessary) worship Him in SPIRIT and in TRUTH.
Psalms 9:1 KJV I will praise Thee, O LORD, with my WHOLE HEART (“from a full heart” – TM)….
John 17:17 KJV Sanctify them (“Make them holy—consecrated” – TM) through Thy truth: Thy WORD is TRUTH.
4. To worship the Lord in SPIRIT is to worship Him with the WHOLE HEART (devout – complete devotion to the Lord)—this is a “RIGHT (firm, stable, established) SPIRIT” (Psa. 51:10). It is also to worship Him BY the empowerment of the HOLY SPIRIT, without Whom there is no revelation or contemplation of God.
To worship God in TRUTH is to worship Him according to the pattern of the WORD OF GOD, which is especially revealed in the Tabernacle of David (using the voice, hands, and whole body)—there IS a “FORM (formula) of godliness” (2 Tim 3:5).
These TWO PRINCIPLES—Spirit and truth—constitute “TRUE” or REAL WORSHIP (that which is genuine, veracious, and sincere, in contrast to that which is fictitious, counterfeit, imaginary, simulated or pretended, and opposite to that which is imperfect, defective, frail, and uncertain).
JUDAS (Judah) symbolizes PRAISE that BETRAYS Jesus!
5. There are many O.T. examples of REAL WORSHIP, including:
6. FALSE WORSHIP is revealed in the NEW TESTAMENT as:
Matthew 15:7-9 KJV Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoureth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me. But in VAIN (unsuccessful search, folly, to no purpose; fruitlessly) they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men (compare Mk. 7:7).
(a) VAIN worship.
Acts 17:22-23 KJV Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your DEVOTIONS (objects of worship), I found an ALTAR with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye IGNORANTLY worship (agnoeo – not to know through lack of information or intelligence; to ignore through disinclination; not to understand), Him declare I unto you.
(b) IGNORANT worship.
Colossians 2:20-23 KJV Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a SHEW (appearance) of wisdom in WILL worship (worship which one prescribes and devises for himself, contrary to the contents and nature of faith which ought to be directed to Christ; misdirected zeal and practice)…
Colossians 2:23 NIV Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship… but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.
Colossians 2:23 Phil I know that these regulations look wise with their self-inspired efforts of worship…
(c) WILL worship.
Romans 8:32 KJV He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not WITH HIM (sun – denotes union) also freely give us all things?
Hebrews 10:19-20 KJV Having therefore, brethren, BOLDNESS TO ENTER into the holiest BY (en) THE BLOOD of Jesus, By a NEW (freshly slain) and living way…
7. The only BASIS for REAL WORSHIP by which we ACCESS God and APPROACH Him is the BLOOD of Jesus Christ, shed on our behalf to reconcile us back into harmony with God. We make our petitions in JESUS’ Name, and the Father receives our worship and answers our petitions for His Son’s sake!
This then is the grandest truth of the New Testament in His BLOOD: the RENT VEIL through which we now have boldness of ACCESS (permission and admission), through a “NEW (freshly slain) and living WAY (path, road)” (Heb. 10:20)—His BLOOD is still WARM and His BLOOD is still WET (efficacious)!
THE CHARACTERISTICS OF REAL WORSHIP
1. REAL WORSHIP is “the overflow of a grateful heart, under a sense of Divine favor. It is not worked up, but springs up.” David said, “My heart is STIRRED by a noble theme” (Psa. 45:1, NIV)—the margin render this, “My heart boileth, or bubbleth up.”
This “living water” of the new Christ-life comes to the believer at the new birth (Jn. 3:5), springs up within him in worship (Jn. 4:14), and flows out from him in service (Jn. 7:37-39), and all is unto the Lord. Thus REAL WORSHIP is this “living water” returning to its Source—“unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return” (Eccl. 1:7)!
2. REAL WORSHIP is “the outpouring of a soul at rest in the presence of God”—we are accepted in the Beloved (Eph. 1:6). REAL WORSHIP is “the occupation of the heart, not with its needs, or even with its blessings, but with GOD Himself.”
WORSHIP could be pronounced, “WORTH-SHIP,” ascribing our love to Him who is “worthy” (Rev. 4:11; 5:1-12). WORSHIP is pouring out your life without any question, and necessitates a deliberate separated focus unto the Lord (with no distractions).
3. As we search, hunger, and thirst for more of God, REAL WORSHIP touches the area of the heart that is unfulfilled. Essentially, WORSHIP is not music, but rather the cry of the SON for the FATHER from the HEART (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6)!
In TRUE WORSHIP, the HEART is ADDRESSED as to its CONDITION, and AWAKENED to its true PURPOSE!
The woman at the well of Samaria (Jn. 4) had been married to FIVE husbands (an experience governed by the five natural senses), and was presently flirting with the SIXTH (all that MAN longs for, as in 1 Jn. 2:15-17).
But when she met the SEVENTH MAN, the PERFECT MAN. She dropped her water pot and became a water pot, reached into Him, and then ran into the city, crying, “Come, see a Man…!”
Mark 14:3 KJV And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at meat, there came a woman having an ALABASTER BOX of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and POURED it on His head.
This woman opened the box and anointed Jesus’ head (Mk. 14:3). ALABASTER represents the perfume of worship. Luke's similar account (Lk. 7:36-50) reveals that those who love Him most are those to whom He forgave most (Lk. 7:47). The broken seal on the alabaster box reveals the OUTPOURED LIFE.
Isaiah 40:31 KJV But they that wait upon the LORD shall RENEW their strength (exchange or change for the better; substitute, alter; to show newness or to sprout again)…
Mark 8:34-35 KJV And when He had called the people unto Him with His disciples also, He said unto them, Whosoever will COME (akoloutheo – the particle of union, AND path or road; to be in the same way with, to accompany as a disciple): after Me, let him DENY (forget) himself, and TAKE (lift) UP his cross (daily, as in Lk. 9:23), and FOLLOW Me (akoloutheo again). For whosoever will SAVE (sozo) his LIFE (psuche) shall LOSE it (to be fully destroyed); but whosoever shall lose his LIFE for My sake AND the gospel's, the same shall SAVE it.
Philippians 2:17 KJV Yea, and if I be OFFERED (spendo – to pour out as a libation of wine; to sacrificially devote one’s life or blood) upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all (compare 2 Tim. 4:6 – ready to be OFFERED).
The OUTPOURED LIFE of REAL WORSHIP is the EXCHANGED LIFE, the SACRIFICIAL LIFE, the APOSTOLIC LIFE, pictured by the O.T. DRINK OFFERING (of outpoured wine). We lay down and offer up our LOWER LIFE (psuche) for His HIGHER LIFE (pneuma)—our intellect (mind), emotions, and will, for HIS!
THIS, then, is REAL WORSHIP, predicating the absolute renunciation of self in all its varied forms of expression. True WORSHIP glorifies God, giving to Him the place of absolute preeminence to the exclusion of all others (Matt. 6:33)! WORSHIP is the CHRISTIAN’S HIGHEST OCCUPATION—it is a LIFESTYLE!
CLOSING – BOTH HANDS FULL OF INCENSE
Psalms 141:2 KJV Let my PRAYER (prayerful song; intercession, hymn) be set forth before Thee as INCENSE (sweet-smelling perfume); and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
Revelation 8:3-4 KJV And another angel came and stood at the ALTAR, having a golden CENSER; and there was given unto him much INCENSE (aroma, fragrant powder), that he should offer it with the PRAYERS of all saints upon the GOLDEN ALTAR which was before the throne. And the smoke of the INCENSE, which came with the PRAYERS of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.
NOTE: INCENSE is a symbol for prayer, praise, and WORSHIP.
Exodus 30:7-8 KJV And AARON (the High Priest) shall burn THEREON (the Golden Altar) sweet INCENSE every MORNING: when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it. AND when Aaron lighteth the lamps at EVEN (EVENING), he shall burn INCENSE upon it, a perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations.
NOTE: MORNING INCENSE (9 am) & EVENING INCENSE (3 pm)
Leviticus 16:12 KJV And HE (Aaron the High Priest) shall take a CENSER FULL of burning coals of fire from off the (Golden) ALTAR before the LORD, and his HIS HANDS FULL of sweet INCENSE beaten small, and bring it within the vail:
Hebrews 9:3-4 NIV Behind the second CURTAIN (the VEIL) was a room called the MOST HOLY PLACE, which had the GOLDEN ALTAR OF INCENSE (“golden censer” in the KJV; that word is thumiasterion – the altar of incense) and the gold-covered ARK of the covenant…
NOTE: On the Feast DAY OF ATONEMENT (the 10th day of the 7th month), Aaron the High Priest moved the Golden Altar WITHIN THE VEIL, and carried BOTH HANDS FULL of incense!
Job 9:33 KJV Neither is there any DAYSMAN (umpire, mediator; someone to arbitrate) betwixt US (God AND Man), that might lay his HAND upon us BOTH.
Mark 1:32-35 KJV And at EVEN (EVENING), when the sun did set, they brought unto HIM (Jesus) all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils. And all the city was gathered together at the door. And He healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew Him. And in the MORNING, rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.
Acts 2:11,15 KJV we do hear them SPEAK (praise, extol) in our tongues the WONDERFUL WORKS OF GOD…[Peter said] For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the THIRD HOUR of the day.
Acts 3:1 KJV Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of PRAYER, being the NINTH HOUR (cp. Acts 10:3,30)…And he took him by the RIGHT HAND, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ancle bones received strength.
The 3rd hour – 9 a.m.
PRAISE (ministry unto GOD)
The LEFT HAND of God
The 9th hour – 3 p.m.
PRAYER (ministry unto MAN)
The RIGHT HAND of God
NOTE: Both PRAISE and PRAYER will move into the FULLNESS of the MOST HOLY PLACE (Jn. 3:34), the place of NO limitations!