Worship - What Is It?

What Do You Worship?

is vital essence,
and those
who worship Him
must worship
in vital essence and truth.

John 4.24

Most of us have a basic understanding of what worship is. But few of us really understand the full significance of the term. We've typically learned what it is from our parents, and from the traditions of men, without ever bothering to discover what it means on our own, and what it means to us personally. Without doing that worship is little more than a "ritual". We do it because it's the way our family did it. We're not doing it because we've actually thought it through for ourselves and decided it's something we truly want, or need, to do. 

This can have very significant consequences. “Worship”, in the traditional sense, tends to become "automatic". It's done without thinking, and therefore without any real meaning. It's little more than a learned habit, like brushing your teeth or putting on your shoes.

Worship, if it's going to be genuine worship, needs to be something you do because you truly choose to do it.
Without that it's meaningless. 

You cannot really worship someone or something without putting your "heart" into it.

Let's look as the ways it's defined in the dictionary: 

  • the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity;
  • the acts or rites that make up a formal expression of reverence for a deity; religious ceremony or ceremonies;
  • adoration or devotion comparable to religious homage, shown toward a person or principle;
  • archaic honor given to someone in recognition of their merit.
  • [as title(His/Your Worship) chiefly Brit. used in addressing or referring to an important or high-ranking person, esp. a magistrate or mayor;


  • [trans.show reverence and adoration for (a deity);
  • honor with religious rites; 
  • treat (someone or something) with the reverence and adoration appropriate to a deity;
  • [intrans.take part in a religious ceremony

Obviously, most of the definitions of worship focus on a deity of some kind. It's what most would term "religious worship". This is the normal context most people think of when they use the word. While it's possible to worship people and things, and even considering that some people do this, the typical understanding is religious in nature.

The focus then becomes the deity one worships. If you choose to worship a deity of some sort you must first decide which deity you're going to worship. There are literally thousands of so-called "deities" that have existed in history. It's possible to "worship" any of them, giving them honor, respect, and adoration. But the real question quickly becomes, "Of what real value is this worship?" That's directly connected to who or what you're worshipping.

All but one of the world's "deities" are simply false gods. History is littered with the devastation caused by putting your faith and trust in something or someone that cannot help you, thereby treating them as a deity. Most of them cannot speak, hear, think, move, or do anything for you whatsoever. They are not even worthy of being called deities - yet they are. They're worshipped in ignorance.

The Word of YAHWEH teaches there is only one deity. His name is YAHWEH. He alone, according to Scripture, is “ od". Everything else is a false god, a myth or a fake. It is this God, YAHWEH, who is the focus of this website. And if you are going to say you believe in Him then it becomes essential that you understand what it means to worship Him. His Word teaches us what that means. The following information will help you gain a better understanding of what He desires.

The Hebrew term for worship is shachah. Its basic meaning is to prostrate oneself, in homage or respect, to bow down before, to crouch or fall down flat, to humbly beseech (beg, implore). 

The Greek term, proskuneo, means essentially the same thing. Here are the definitions from Strong's Exhaustive Concordance:
7812. hDjÎv shachah, shaw-khaw´; a primitive root; to depress, i.e. prostrate (especially reflexive, in homage to royalty or God):
—bow (self) down, crouch, fall down (flat), humbly beseech, do (make) obeisance, do reverence, make to stoop, worship.

4352. proskune÷w proskuneo, pros-koo-neh´-o; from 4314 and a probable derivative of 2965 (meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand); to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore):
— worship.

Note: Everything after the (:—) is a word that is used to “translate” the Hebrew or Greek term in The King James Version of The Bible. Those words are not part of the definition.

Worship, in our modern understanding, has become mightily confused today. Somehow it's come to mean going to a "worship service" of some kind, usually in a specific place and at a specific time. This is actually "religion", not worship. It’s performing a ritual, which is in essence the definition of “religion”.

But this is far from the Scriptural view. 
True worship is an attitude of the heart toward YAHWEH. 
It is not confined to a time and a place, nor can it be.

The Word of YAHWEH declares in John 4:24:
"YAHWEH is a Divine Nature. And it is necessary that those who worship Him worship in Divine Nature and truth!”

If you never worship YAHWEH with your “heart", with your vital essence, right where you are at any given moment in time you are not really worshipping. Worship is never merely some physical action on your part. If your "heart” is not in it then it's not worship, no matter what you may think or say or do.

On the other hand, whenever you're doing some physical action out of a sense of deep love and commitment to YAHWEH that action can indeed become an act of worship. Even a simple thought in your mind can be an act of worship. You don't have to go to some "religious” place or follow some prescribed ritual in order to worship. Yet for many this is the only time they conceive of themselves as worshipping.

So why do people seem to need a place and a time to worship YAHWEH? It's as if they're trying to force themselves to do what they know intuitively they ought to do on their own. Yet far too often it's just following the traditions of men. But in so doing it becomes virtually meaningless.

The Messiah, YAHUSHUA (Jesus or Yeshua to most of you), spoke out most strongly about such things to the religious leaders of His day - the scribes and the Pharisees. They were completely wrapped up in following the traditions of men instead of doing what YAHWEH desires - and had instructed them to do. Because of His disagreements with them they murdered Him, on the torture stake (cross). Sadly, the religious traditions were more important to them than the love and teachings of YAHWEH.

Unfortunately much of what passes for worship today is little more than an association of individuals trying to prove to each other that they are ‘religious'. Their so-called worship is little more than a crutch to hold up an otherwise broken vital essence that has no ability to stand on its own before YAHWEH. All too often it's simply a time of "feeling good" through singing a few songs and shaking hands with a few friends. Afterward they go right back to living as if there was no god in their lives at all.

There is merit in gathering with others who truly seek to worship YAHWEH - from their heart. Yet the most profound experiences of true worship, as revealed in Scripture, are typically individual rather than corporate. Here are just a few:

  • Moshe at the burning bush.
  • Abraham at the sacrifice of Yitzhak.
  • Yonah in the belly of the fish.
  • Stephen when he is being stoned to death.
  • Ya’akob in his physical struggle with YAHWEH.
  • Yitzhak seeing a vision with his head resting upon a rock.

These are the times and manners of worship that are acceptable to YAHWEH.
And there are many more that might be presented.

Do you realize that many so-called worship services today are totally devoid of the name of YAHWEH. Most church-going folks have never heard God's personal name proclaimed at a worship service, or ever seen it in their Bibles. For more on this you'll want to read Bible Errors and several of the other articles listed at the right of the page. There's a lot of Truth you haven't been told.

Do you find in Scripture stories which provide evidence of true worship within the context of a group setting? How often? Where are they? Check it out for yourself and write them down on a list. Then write down all the religious gatherings that serve some other purpose, and note the purposes involved. Next, take note of the private moments in the lives of the individuals presented and observe when and where they are found worshipping - including The Messiah Himself.

Corporate gatherings are often seen as times of fellowship, or prayer, or sharing a meal together in Scripture, but rarely as times of true worship. Some of them were intended to be times and acts of worship - but The Word of YAHWEH plainly speaks of the meaninglessness of sacrifices and offerings as acts of worship that are done out of “habit". Instead it speaks of acts of humility, compassion, mercy, forgiveness - acts of agape, sincere love - as being the true form of worship. Those things are far more pleasing to YAHWEH than all the ritual actions of "religious" people.

You see, worship, in its truest form, is about a relationship.
It's not about an activity.

So why do we, today, have so many worship services that are devoid of true worship? 
Why do we have so much activity on Sundays, or Sabbath days,
that are lacking in the true function and purpose of worship?
Perhaps it's because we've failed to rightly divide The Word of
YAHWEH, and act accordingly?

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May YAHWEH speak to your heart and bless you with understanding as you explore His Word.