I had planned to do a worship part 3 and demonstrate, using online dictionaries how worship could mean different things to different people according to how it is used. One has to understand that different words can be used in different ways conveying different meanings or thoughts according to usage, whether literal, figurative, or stipulated. This would certainly have to be influenced by what a word meant originally in its original language and context. The way we use the term ‘worship’ today may not be the same it was originally intended, but to understand how it was meant originally, one has to understand how it was used at the time.
Anyone who has studied Hebrew or just the word worship could see that I now have egg on my face with good reason for chagrin. (This also strongly illustrates why I say, don’t believe in me, or in what I say, but search for yourself.) Because I had gone in the wrong direction, I had thought to write an apology and delete my two previous posts on worship. Then I realized that though I had used a wrong term, ‘to kneel’ as in worship, the overall meaning of the direction I was going did not really change. Very often when I think of worshipping, I mentally think of one ‘kneeling’ before the altar or before the Lord. Though I know that one does not necessarily have to ‘kneel’ to ‘worship’, it is just the thought that comes to mind. So with my mind on that thought, I went on to discuss ‘worship’. I made a grave error in that the term ‘worship’ did not come from the Hebrew term ‘barak’ but from the Hebrew term ‘shâchâh’ which means to ‘fall prostrate before’, not ‘kneel’. The rest of the explanation could in many ways remain intact, though this certainly needed to be cleared up, as many misunderstandings and disputes can be generated by a slip of the tongue. All in all, it still illustrates that any meaning of a term is influenced by not only its literal meaning, but also any figurative or stipulated meaning it could have in any given context. Now to keep this post from becoming too long, I will skip the dictionary definitions, as I feel that most people have concepts of the meaning of worship in their minds, and it shouldn’t be that necessary to consult the dictionary definitions.
Though an original concept of ‘worship’ may have involved ‘falling prostrate before to give homage or do obeisance’, we also understand that worship does not necessarily have to involve a body physically falling prostrate, but that we can worship from our hearts, regardless of our body’s physical position by humbling ourselves in our hearts. We also use the term worship in the sense of ‘ascribing praise, glory, and honor to another’, which of course if one humbles himself before anyone or anything, then that humbling would indicate observing the one humbled before as having more honor than one’s own self. If you didn’t see someone else as more honorable, then what would cause you to be humble before another? Yet in many respects we are taught to show honor to one another, and especially in situations such as a student to a teacher, or a younger to an elder. Though we are not in the habit of thinking of this as worship, then each person would have to consider his personal understanding of ‘worship’ to decide if the application may or may not be made.
Another illustration would be to say that I am very humbled before you in my chagrin that I erroneously used the phrase ‘to kneel down before’ rather than the proper phrase ‘to prostrate one’s self before’ in explaining the origin of the term ‘worship’ as we know it today. Would one consider my humbling experience before you as ‘worshipping you’ in the sense that my humbling myself before you shows you that certain homage? So in my understanding of worship, which may or may not be accurate, and I certainly will not say is perfect, --- do you begin to get the picture, do not believe what I or anyone else says, but what you believe must come from within your own study and your own understanding of what is TRUE? So in “my” understanding of worship, no one should ever worship anyone or anything as being more worthy of honor and praise than Yahweh, our Creator. But that does not mean that others may not be ‘worshipped’ as ‘lesser’ than Yahweh, but above one’s own self. But this of course depends on one’s understanding of the ultimate meaning of ‘worship’ which may not be the same for all people everywhere.
Do you understand the term ‘worship’ as ‘ascribing the highest, ultimate (redundancy for emphasis) level of praise, glory, and honor’? Then never in any sense worship anyone but the true Creator who alone is worthy of such praise, glory, and honor. Do you see ‘praise, glory, and honor’ as something due to individuals for certain acts (i.e. praising a child for an excellent report card, a soldier who gave his life for another); then ascribe praise glory and honor accordingly, but remember that only the LORD is worthy of the highest (most exalted) form of worship.
Exodus 20:1 And God spoke all these words, saying, 2 "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 "You shall have no other gods before me. 4 "You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, …
Exodus 34:14 (for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), …
Do you understand the term ‘worship’ with the same context and definition and meaning as in verse 14 above? Then never worship anyone other than the LORD. If the meaning of the term worship today (which remember, this was not even the original language) has a wider implication than its original, then remember that the LORD looks on the heart, and people’s understanding and intentions are in the heart, not necessarily in what others see. If in your heart, you see the LORD as worth of praise, honor, and glory above all others, then the LORD sees this in your heart, regardless of the definitions of others. That does not necessarily mean that others may not be worthy of a certain praise, honor, and glory, just so much less than that which the LORD is worthy of. Let us remember that the LORD is only to be worshipped in Spirit and in Truth, and that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are our only True One God. Worthy is the Lamb (Jesus our Savior) for all glory, honor and praise.