Those of us with pets know what it's like to have unconditional love and devotion manifested to us. Pets do not harbor grudges, and slights and neglects are quickly forgotten. My dog Sasha loves me so much she wants to be with me ALL the time. When I am at the computer, she is laying at my feet. When I'm playing the piano, she's right there with me. She follows me everywhere I go. I guess she feels that if she is not with me, she'd miss something important. Sometimes when I go to a room and it is closed, I open the door and signal for her to go on ahead (beauty before age) but she will not go on. Instead, she will back off a little and allow me to go first, then, she will follow. To her, I am her leader; she is only a follower. She follows me even to the bathroom (of all places), and plops herself on the floor by my feet. If I try to not let her inside and close the door instead, she will carry on--whine, jump on the door, and scratch on it. Now, if I want the paint on my bathroom door to stay intact, I'd better let her in.
I remember the first time we got her and she started getting attached to me, she ripped one of the screens and the vinyl windows of the Florida room to get inside to be with me. My husband says that when I'm not there, she has nothing to do with the house or him. She lays quietly at the backyard and waits expectantly for me to come home. Sasha is happy and contented to be with me. She looks at me with loving eyes, she perks up her huge ears to listen to me, and she obeys my commands. Plain and simple, this dog adores and worships me.
Do we feel the same way about our Heavenly Father as Sasha feels about me? Are we happy and contented to be in His presence continually? Do we feel that we'd miss something important when we are not in His presence? Do we allow Him to lead us or do we walk ahead of Him? Do we love Him and look to Him adoringly, waiting joyfully and expectantly for Him, desiring to please Him in every way, and obeying all His commands? If we do, then, we worship Him aright, for THIS is the essence of worship.
"As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday." Ps 42:1-4.
"I was glad when they said unto me, let us go to the House of the Lord." Ps. 122:1.
What is worship? Webster dictionary defines worship as: Paying divine honor to God: a feeling of respect and a reverence for power, position, merit and virtue; dignity, worth, obsequious devotion and paying divine honor. Worship consists of a feeling in the heart stemming from the "humbling but delightful sense of admiring awe and astonishing wonder of the God of the universe." James P. Gills, Dynamics of Worship, page 15.
William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury wrote: "To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God."
Among other things, worship involves feeding the mind with the truths of God. What is truth? We know the Bible answer, don't we? Thy Word is truth. John 17:17, and in Psalm 119:142, we read: Thy Law is Truth. How important is the Law of God as it relates to the worship of God? In Matthew 15:9, Jesus said: "But in vain do they worship me teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." And in Proverbs 4:2 we read: "For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law." Without the good doctrine and the truths of God--without obedience to His commandments, our worship would be in vain.
How should we worship the Lord? Psalm 95 verses 6 and 7 give us the answer: "O come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand..."
"The Scriptures teach men how to approach their Maker--with humility and awe, through faith in a divine Mediator. Let man come on bended knee, as a subject of grace, a suppliant at the foot-stool of mercy. Thus he is to testify that the whole soul, body, and spirit are in subjection to his Creator. --Article from the Review and Herald, November 30, 1905.
Although God dwells not in temples made with hands, yet He honors with His presence the assemblies of His people. He has promised that when they come together to seek Him, to acknowledge their sins, and to pray for one another, He will meet with them by His Spirit. But those who assemble to worship Him should put away every evil thing. Unless they can worship Him in spirit and truth and in the beauty of holiness, their coming together will be of no avail.
If God's people, when they assemble, will let Him speak to them through His appointed agencies, all will be united in His service. "Give ear, O my people," He pleads, "to my law: incline your ear to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, showing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength, and the wonderful works that He hath done. For He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: that the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments: and might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not steadfast with God.
"If ye turn away," the Lord plainly declared, "and forsake my statutes and my commandments, which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them; then will I pluck them up by the roots out of my land which I have given them; and this house, which I have sanctified for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations. And this house, which is high, shall be an astonishment to every one that passeth by it; so that he shall say, Why hath the Lord done thus unto this land, and unto this house? And it shall be answered, Because they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods, and worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath he brought all this evil upon them."
"What doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul?" "Fear ye not me? saith the Lord: will ye not tremble at my presence?" "Unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings."
"Let all the earth fear the Lord: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. . . . The eye of the Lord is upon them that fear Him, upon them that hope in his mercy." "By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honor, and life."
Singing praises to God is very much a part of worship. Psalm 34 says: "I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth."
Psalm 100 beautifully describes worship. "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness, come before His presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations."
"The soul may ascend nearer heaven on the wings of praise. God is worshipped with song and music in the courts above, and as we express our gratitude, we are approximating to the worship of the heavenly hosts. 'Whoso offereth praise glorifieth God'. Let us with reverent joy come before our Creator, with 'thanksgiving and the voice of melody.'" --How to Find God and Inner Peace, Page 72.
Prayer is very much a part of worship. Worship without prayer is like daytime without light.
"Prayer in the hand of faith is the key that unlocks Heaven's storehouse, where are treasured the boundless resources of Omnipotence.
"Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. The eye of faith will discern God very near, and the suppliant may obtain precious evidence of the divine love and care for him.
"Prayer is the breath of the soul. It is the secret of spiritual power. No other means of grace can be substituted, and the health of the soul be preserved. Prayer brings the heart into immediate contact with the Wellspring or life, and strengthens the sinew and muscle of the religious experience. When we neglect prayer, we lose our hold on God." --Quotations above taken from Steps to Christ.
In conclusion, Worship is paying divine honor and reverence to God for who He is--Our Creator and Redeemer. It involves feeding the mind with His truths and loving to be in His presence. Love to God manifested by obedience to His commandments constitutes true worship for "in vain do they worship me teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." Matt 15:9. Worship is knowing God personally and intimately and responding spontaneously to His Greatness, Holiness and Majesty. Love and devotion to Him are expressed as we worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. God is worshipped with song and music in the Heavenly courts above. Prayer is part of worship for worship without prayer is like daytime without light.
This may surprise many, but the issue in the last days involves WORSHIP--worship to God versus worship to the Beast. Click here for more information on the Three Angels' Messages of Revelation 14.
O Worship the Lord
Bow down before Him, His glory proclaim;
With gold of obedience, and incense of lowliness,
Kneel and adore Him; the Lord is His name.
Low at His feet lay thy burden of carefulness;
High on His heart He will bear it for thee,
Comfort thy sorrows, and answer thy prayerfulness,
Guiding thy steps as may best for thee be.
Fear not to enter His courts in the slenderness
Of the poor wealth thou wouldst reckon as thine,
Truth in its beauty and love in its tenderness,
These are the offerings to lay on His shrine.
These, though we bring them in trembling and fearfulness,
He will accept for the Name that is dear;
Mornings of joy give for evenings of tearfulness,
Trust for our trembling, and hope for our fear.
--J. S. B. Monsell