Praise and worship – two words often used together to indicate what we are offering to God as his creation, but different in many ways. Many times we think that when we say praise and worship we are referring to the pace or style of the songs that we are singing, and in a lot of cases praise has become synonymous with two or three fast (happy/clappy songs), and worship with two or three slow songs (where we close our eyes and think that this is worship unto God).
There’s a story about a man who, leaving church one Sunday, complained about the music. “I didn’t like the hymns you chose today,” he said. The pastor simply replied, “That’s OK; we weren’t singing them for you.”
Praise and worship is something that we give unto God and should be given unto him only.
To understand what praise and worship is, we must go the source, the one who deserves this praise & worship, the one who is being worshipped and praised 24/7/365 and to do that we want to look at what the God’s words tells us about praise & worship.
The dictionary gives us a definition of praise as expressing gratitude and respect towards God. It can also go the extent of us giving thanks to God for his goodness not just for what he has done but also for what he is able to do in our lives.
When looking at the Hebrew words that was translated into our English word praise – there are three that I want to look at today.
- Yadah – this translated to the English means to give thanks, to praise and to confess.
There are 85 times in the old testament that this word is used to mean giving praise or thanksgiving or to confess.
Genesis 29:35 (KJV)
35 And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.
Psalm 18:49 (KJV)
49 Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.
Psalm 32:5 (KJV)
5 I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.
Psalm 134:2 (NIV)
Lift up your hands in the sanctuary
and praise the Lord.
When we raise hand to God in praise it’s a powerful expression that we are giving God thanks, adoration and surrender.
- Zamar (Hebrew) & Psallo (Greek) – translated to English means to sing, make music, play an instrument.
There are 45 times in old testament that this word Zamar is used and Psallo is used 5 times in the new testament to mean sing psalms or praise God in singing and with instruments.
Judges 5:3 9 (KJV)
1 Chronicles 16:9 (KJV)
Psalm 33:2 (KJV)
2 Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.
When we think of this word Zamar – it gives us an idea of rejoicing, being joyful through music – singing & playing instruments.
Psalm 100: 1- 5 (KJV)
Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. 2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. 3 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. 4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him and bless his name. 5 For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord
- Hallelujah – comes from two Hebrew words:
- Halel – in English this means to praise, boast to the extent of looking foolish or be boastful about someone
- Jah – means God or Jehovah
Putting this together we get the meaning of our English word hallelujah – to praise and boast extremely about the goodness of God, and his power and mercy.
The word hallelujah is used only 24 times in the old testament (all found in psalms) and only in one book of the new testament – Revelation (4 times)
Psalm 117:1 (KJV)
O praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people.
Revelation 19:6-7 (NIV)
6 Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:
For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
7 Let us rejoice and be glad
and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready.
Praise means to come before God with extreme jubilation in song and through musical instruments, declaring the goodness of God and his power. Thanking God for what he has done for you. We declare Gods praise to the ends of the earth.
Psalm 48:10 (GW)
10 Like your name, O God, your praise reaches to the ends of the earth.
Your right hand is filled with righteousness.
We are called to praise God because he deserves the praise and the glory. Jesus tells us in the book of Luke that if we should stop praising God, the stones would cry out in praise.
Luke 19:37- 40 (AMP)
37 As soon as He was approaching [Jerusalem], near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the entire multitude of the disciples [all those who were or claimed to be His followers] began praising God [adoring Him enthusiastically and] joyfully with loud voices for all the miracles and works of power that they had seen, 38 shouting,
“Blessed (celebrated, praised) is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven and glory (majesty, splendour) in the highest [heaven]!”
39 Some of the Pharisees from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples [for shouting these Messianic praises].” 40 Jesus replied, “I tell you, if these [people] keep silent, the stones will cry out [in praise]!”
While praise is acknowledging the goodness and giving glory unto God for all that he has done for us, worship is about condition and attitude of our hearts. Worship is not based on what God has done for you; it goes right down to your innermost being.
What does God mean to you? If God has done nothing for you will you still worship him, will you still give him everything in total surrender? Worship is about surrender its about giving up your rights and surrendering to the will of our Father in heaven. Its not about what god can do, its about who he is to you, what he means to you, and this should bring us on our knees in worship unto God.
Worship is not about singing two slow songs and closing our eyes when we do this. No, worship is bigger than this, worship is about obedience. Its about sacrifice, its about doing what pleases God.
We all have a free will choice and when we begin to say that I give up my choice and surrender to Gods choice for my life, we enter into the stage of our lives where we can truly worship God in Spirit and in truth. (John 4:24).
Worship is coming before God in reverence and honor. Worship should be given to God and only God, worship to any other being or thing in heaven, on earth or below the earth is idolatry. We can truly only submit to the will of the Father when we live a totally surrendered life.
The decisions we make in life, are those decisions based on our standing with God and where our hearts are. There are many instances in Bible where men and women need to make choices. We can so easily choose not to honor God and not to worship him, but God desires an intimate relationship with us and if we have this relationship then our desire would be to please God and honor him in reverence and worship.
- Worship through the decisions we make –
Joshua 24:15-16 (GW)
15 But if you don’t want to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Even if you choose the gods your ancestors served on the other side of the Euphrates or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you live, my family and I will still serve the Lord.”
16 The people responded, “It would be unthinkable for us to abandon the Lord to serve other gods.
- Worship through giving –
Matthew 6:21 (NKJV)
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
- Worship through prayer
Psalm 66:19-20 (NKJV)
But certainly, God has heard me;
He has attended to the voice of my prayer.
20 Blessed be God,
Who has not turned away my prayer,
Nor His mercy from me!
Matthew 20:28 (NKJV)
“just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”
- Worship through serving others
The song says – “I’m coming back to the heart of worship and it’s all about you”
In all types of worship that we can give to God, the essence remains the same – its all about the heart. The song writer says it aptly – we need to come back to the heart of worship, the true essence of worship. That is Jesus Christ. When he becomes the center of our lives, when sits as king over our hearts, then our worship unto him will be as what God requires of us:
John 4:23-24 (GW)
Indeed, the time is coming, and it is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. The Father is looking for people like that to worship him. 24 God is a spirit. Those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Romans 12:1 (AMPC)
I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.
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