To watch major TV religious programs one would think that Praise and Worship were all about singing, dancing, and praising God with musical instruments and much jumping around. And while God applauds that, it is not the whole story. The English word worship means simply to show what something or someone is worth; the more attention you pay to something the more valuable it is to you, and that is a sign of your worship. That could apply to almost anything.
But worship of God has, according to the Greek word used in the Bible, a quite different meaning. The word is eusebeia. It’s unusual because it comes from a word meaning “to step back from.” And the prefix eu is a term of praise. So the worshipful person steps back from God. And you thought (at least I thought) worship would be stepping forward.
On the contrary, to step back from God indicates a fear of the Lord or a recognition of His total power and authority. But asebeia is the opposite, one who does not fear the Lord, does not step back from the authority and reverence of His presence, or consider His word and His requirements of much value. Asebeia is translated trough the New Testament in many ways but it always indicates ungodliness, or behavior which shows that obedience to God’s will means very little.
Clearly this is not singing and praise. Worship then is how you act, either in accordance with God’s word, or in violation of it. It can also mean irreligion in general, but considering the things we pay close attention to in life – idolatries – that may definition not apply these days. Clearly worship does not refer to going to church, especially if your actions outside of church show no fear of the Lord.
Since we have tied worship to fear of the Lord here are two scriptures worthy of memorizing.
But now for the kicker. Worship, if defined by the amount of
attention you pay to something could apply to hobbies, work (workaholics), attention to clothing and body image, sports and recreation, acquisition of things, and the list goes on. Since the very first commandment is “You (singular) shall have no other gods before me” then anything that consumes our worship (time) that is not God is idolatry. You could almost say that this one commandment is quite enough to recognize our separation from the truth.
Modern Americans have so much free time and extra money; it is not hard to see what consumes us.