derives from an earlier word ‘worthship’ and means to recognise the
worth of something. Thus we still say ‘What is it worth? meaning
what is its value. As believers on the Lord Jesus we are valuing the
worth of God. This is connected with His attributes as a holy,
righteous, sin hating God, a just God and a God of love. Hence
worship requires us to be in tune with these characteristics of God
in order to truly recognise, value and experience His essential
nature, Psalm 29:2
Psalm 96:9, ‘worship the Lord in
the beauty of holiness.’ God has revealed Himself in creation
as well as in redemption through His Son. Thus our relationship with
the Almighty God combines aspects of praise, thanksgiving and
is often connected with an appreciation of God’s acts and works.
There is the wonder of God’s work in creation,
‘The heavens declare His glory and the
firmament shows His handiwork.’
Psalm 19:1. There is
appreciation of the wonder of God’s plan of redemption in
securing our freedom from the bondage of sin and our eternal
blessings in Christ ‘in
bringing many sons to glory.’
Thanksgiving is our response to God’s provision in temporal
and spiritual blessings, Eph 5:20,
‘Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the
name of our Lord Jesus Christ,’ with a daily appreciation of
Christ’s intercessory work with the Father.
‘We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.’
1 John 2:1
is distinctive from praise and thanksgiving. Worship is the opening
of the heart to the love of God. It is the coming of us as sons to
our Father. It is drawing near to love and to adore Him. As we
experience stillness before God it should lead us naturally into
praise and worship. So quietness and reflection are key ingredients
for the Holy Spirit to engage us with the Lord Jesus and the Eternal
God as our Father.
The Lord Jesus gave the woman at Sychar’s
well a wonderful insight into worship. He spoke of living water, a
type of the Holy Spirit without whom worship cannot be experienced.
‘For through him we both have access by one
Spirit unto the Father.’ Eph 2:18.
The Lord went on to say
‘for the Father seeks such to worship Him.
God is a Spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit
and in truth.’ John 4:23-24.
True worship always exalts God and extols His intrinsic worth,
irrespective of His creatorial or redemptive work or our personal
Often words will be inadequate in worship,
although shared experience through passages of scripture may
encourage it, as may hymns and spiritual songs. The upper room
appearance when Thomas falls at the Lord’s feet and says
‘My Lord and My God’
John 20:28, would emphasise this
when words are almost insufficient to capture the worth of the One
we love and adore. The focus is Christ centred and should cause us
to fall likewise at His feet in adoration. Recalling the experience
of Moses and the burning bush we see the awesome power of God,
‘I am that I am’
(Exo 3:14). He is the
self-existent One as Psa 90:2 says
‘From everlasting to everlasting Thou art God’.
We have a ‘new
and living way’ into God’s presence and may with confidence
draw near to His throne of grace. We approach in Christ in whose
worth we are clothed ‘through the veil,
that is to say, His flesh.’ Heb
10:20. However, entering into
God’s presence is not done lightly or with unconfessed sin.
‘For Thou art holy that dwells amidst the
praises of Israel.’ Psa 22:3.
By the Holy Spirit, we worship God as He
is, in all His might, glory and power, beauty and awesome majesty.
When we cry
Abba Father, it is the Spirit (of God)
bearing witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with
Christ. Rom 8:15-17.
God wants us to enjoy the glorious liberty as children and sons of
God. So when the heart is moved in worship, we are, as the hymn
in wonder, love and praise.’
Thus worship engages us with God as
absolute and as revealed. Well may we say,
‘Bless the Lord O my soul and all that is within me bless His holy
name!’ Psa 103:1.