When people say, “We had a great time of worship,” what do they mean?   Throughout the Bible, we have multiple uses of the word “worship.”   

Reverential Worship

Every person who has a sense of God, even the unbeliever that has not been informed about Jesus, can worship God based on the general revelation of God.   In the Bible, those who revered God honored God by taking time to worship Him.  The very act of honoring God is a form of worship.

  • I Samuel 1:19, 28 Elkanah and his wife went in to worship the Lord as instructed by God.
  • 2 Samuel 12:20 Following the death of his son, David washed and worshiped because he submitted to God’s will.
  • Acts 16:14  Lydia worshiped God even though she was not yet enlightened about Jesus.

Summation: All creation screams to the occupants of the world that God exists.  All creation worships either “the creation, the creature or the Creator.”  The idea that all owe a reverential worship should not be taken lightly or allowed to fall into a ritualistic form.  Worship is from the head and the heart. 

Responsive Worship

There are times when men and women are so convinced of God or God’s presence that they worship Him.  Note with me some of the instances this took place:

  1. Gen. 24:26, 48, 52 Here the servant of Abraham was commissioned to get a wife for Isaac.  Following the instructions of his master, he went to Iraq, and God led him to Rebekah.  Upon knowing God’s will and realizing the leading of the Lord to this point, the man fell on his face and worshiped God.
  2. Exodus 4:30-31 Aaron shared the plan of God for the Israelites and did some miracles to prove this was of the Lord.  Following the signs, the Israelites worshiped God.
  3. Exodus 33:10 When the people saw the pillar of fire, they worshiped God.
  4. Joshua 5:14 Joshua met the Angel of the Lord and fell down and worshiped God.  Joshua was convinced he had seen the Lord.
  5. Judges 7:15 Gideon was God’s man to defeat the Midianites.  He needed convincing that he was the man.  God consumed the meal that Gideon had made with fire.  Gideon was so convinced that he had seen the Angel of the Lord that he worshiped.
  6. 2 Chronicles 7:3 When all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down and how the glory of the LORD filled the temple, they bowed their faces to the ground on the pavement and worshiped and praised the LORD, saying: “For He is good, For His mercy endures forever.”  This happened during the dedication service of the new temple.  God’s presence was real.
  7. Nehemiah 9:3 And they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the LORD their God for one-fourth of the day; and for another fourth they confessed and worshiped the LORD their God.  Ezra read the Scriptures, and the power of God came upon the people, and they worshiped God.
  8. Matt. 2:11 The shepherds came, and when they saw Jesus and Mary, they worshiped God.
  9. Matthew 14:33 Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.” After Jesus stilled the waters, the disciples fell and worshiped Him.

How important for all mankind to have these powerful moments with God.  I personally would admit that my most powerful moments of worship have been when I’m alone with God and most often during my personal devotions. These special moments are to be cherished because:

  • They are not fabricated nor can they be.
  • They are not every day but sporadic.
  • They come unexpectedly.
  • They are very special when they come.

We should be reminded that God knows when we need these special moments of worship that humble us, lift us and convince us of His presence and power. 

Syncretic Worship– worshiping two or more entities at the same time

  • Deuteronomy 17:3 “who has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, either the sun or moon or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded”
  • 1 Kings 9:9 “Then they will answer, ‘Because they forsook the LORD their God, who brought their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, and worshiped them and served them; therefore the LORD has brought all this calamity on them.’ ”

Syncretism was a serious problem for the Israelites. Believers are ‘prone to wander, Lord, I feel it.’  It isn’t long before they fall before the gods of this world and need to be called back and fall before the Almighty.  The Israelites demonstrated this tendency.   

In our churches, we seem to use the word ‘worship’ to primarily mean ‘singing.’  Although singing can be worship, worship is much more. If the one singing doesn’t have his or her heart into the message, and it isn’t creating appreciation in hearts, they are just singing, not worshiping.

  • Jesus said, “They that worship must worship in spirit and in truth.”
  • Worship is the response from the heart, either out of a sense of fear, appreciation or the sense of the presence of God.
  • Worship is most often when we are alone with God.
  • Worship can happen collectively if the heart is engaged toward God.
  • No one needs to tell you that you worshiped.  You will know it. 

Pastor, when was the last time you experienced a meaningful personal time of worship with God?  Are you taking the time to have your devotions?   

I started having personal devotions when I was fourteen years old.  I heard Dr. Duane Brown speak on this subject and committed myself to having personal devotions.  I personally struggled with this for a long time.  In my 30’s, I made a commitment to myself to be sure to have a personal time with God at least four days a week (if I said seven and missed a day, it defeated me).  I now have devotions five days a week, my working office days.  If I miss a day because of some assignment, I don’t beat myself up, but I seldom miss.  I do not get a “big blessing” every day, but I would miss those great days if I didn’t do it every day.   

Pastor, please use the word “worship” in a greater sense than just singing.  Preaching and giving and serving are all part of worship.