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Worship in the Old Testament, New Testament, and Modern Church


The word that’s used for worship in the Old Testament more than any other word is the word Chaka. Used I think
approximately 170 times. Which whenever you see that word in Hebrew or are
translated into whatever language it has the meaning of bowing, of stooping, of
bending, of kneeling, of prostrating yourself before the one you are
worshiping. Of course in the Old Testament they did it physically, didn’t
they? But even though they were doing it physically, many times when they were
actually going through the physical act that defines this word if their
heart wasn’t in it, God was not paying any attention to what they were doing.
Remember in Hebrews one, God said I won’t even listen to you even if you lift your hands
to me in prayer. Though they were going through all of the essential outward act
of worship God did not hear them because their heart was not in it. So
fundamentally it is an issue of the heart whether or not we are worshiping
God in spirit and in truth, as Jesus said the Father is looking for even today. In
the New Testament the word that is used more than any other word for worship is
the word proskuneo which means essentially the same thing, to bow, to
bend, to stoop, to kneel. It adds this beautiful picture of kissing the hand, as
I understand it, of the one you’re worshiping. So if we are worshiping, if we
are worshiping God there will be this attitude of heart, will they’re not? I
mean we will be kneeling, we’ll be bowing. It wouldn’t hurt us to do more of
that physically in our day but if we do not do it physically, at least in our
heart if we are truly worshiping God there will be this attitude of bowing, of
bending, of stooping, of kneeling, before the One we worship. Now when you look at
the church today across North America, the evangelical church at large, and I
have to speak in generalities here. When you look at it you have to ask the
question as to how many of our churches are worshiping God? How many of
our churches do you really see this attitude of bowing, of kneeling, of
bending before the One we’re worshiping? I think
probably in more of our churches we are more taken up with
celebrating than worshiping. Now I believe that maybe most of our
churches are caught up in the new trends of today, are doing more celebrating than
worshiping. Now celebration is very much a part of our lives of course.
We’re told to celebrate. The children of Israel we’re told to celebrate
and remember the Passover, for instance. They were to celebrate the
feasts. That’s a part of our lives. I’m not speaking against celebration, but the
problem is what I see today is that in many churches this whole attitude and
spirit of celebration has taken over the church and there is very little if any
worship. In fact I am convinced that a lost person or a backsliding Christian
can actually enjoy most of our services today, maybe not most but many of
the services that are being held in our church today, just because of the
general atmosphere. We want people to feel good. They come and
there’s nothing wrong with trying to lift a person’s spirits but the power
of music in it all is so powerful that actually the music can even make a
sinner feel good in the midst of what we call our worship services. They go away
feeling: well wow I want to go back to a place like that. That just made me feel
good. If that is all that happens to a sinner or a backsliding Christian in a
worship service, we have missed it. I don’t believe that a backsliding
Christian or an unbeliever can actually, don’t misunderstand me,
enjoy true worship. Because in true worship you’re having an encounter with
a holy God and we’ll get into that in just a moment. I think that we are
more interested in what the world thinks and how the world feels,
than with what God thinks and with how God feels. In fact I believe that we’ve
gone so far as we are trying to accommodate the world with what we do in
the church rather than doing what God has called us to do.

Otis Rodgers

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