Seems like every day there is a news story about some worshiper getting carried away and being tasered. OK, maybe not every day, but yesterday anyway.
It begs the question: what is worship? Is banging on a tambourine worship? Is tasering people worship?
Most have the notion that worship is music. Music certainly can be part of worship, that’s what the Psalms are about, but worship is not exclusive to music.
Others think worship has to have certain feelings, a weepiness or a swooning, perhaps some tingles up the spine. Although feelings may be part of worship, they certainly are not all of what worship it.
Some think worship has to include flowery speech. Whispering sweet-nothings to Jesus, almost as if He were the new boyfriend. Although there may be words of affection in our worship, worship is certainly more than that.
There are two main Greek words that pertain to worship:
Proskuneo–according to Strong’s Definitions, it means, “to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand); to fawn or crouch to, that is, (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage.” The kiss is not a kiss of affection, but a kiss of submission, like kissing the king’s hand. I like the idea of a dog licking his master’s hand–it shows affection, fidelity, devotion and submission.
Latreuo–this word has more to do with service, the actual carrying out of duties. In the OT it referred primarily to priests doing the actual sacrificing of animals and so forth. It carries with it the idea of menial service, being a slave.
Combining both notions we can see that worship comes out of humility, an acknowledgment that I am low and God is high. I bow before Him, prostrate myself before Him whether literally or figuratively. It shows a total submission to the Master. Then it carries on into doing what the Master says.
Both words are used in Matthew 4:10, “for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”
“Worship the Lord” is the word proskuneo, bow before the Lord, humbly come to Him. Him only shalt thou serve,” is the word lutreuo–do what He says.
Romans 12:1 says we should offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, this is our reasonable service (lutreuo). Being a living sacrifice means doing what God says.
Worship can take many forms, it may even take the form of tasing someone if that’s what the Master wants done (see Phinehas in the OT!). At its core, worship is humble, it’s an acknowledgment of God’s superiority and my duty to serve Him and then carrying out that duty.
If what you think worship is, isn’t this, then it isn’t worship!