Declaring the Worth-ship of God
July 27, 2022
-by Dr. J. Vernon McGee, from the digital booklet “True Worship: What it Takes to Really Praise the Lord”
Airports used to be known as “flying fields,” but the airport is only a place to take off; the flying is done up in the air. Likewise, the church is called a house of worship, but worship is not really done there; the church is simply the place from which we take off. Worship is done up yonder. Sometimes we just go out to the field, warm up the motor, race down to the end of the runway, and then come home and say we’ve worshiped God. We have not worshiped Him at all.
But don’t misunderstand. We should go to the house of God where people are to worship Him, because it is the taking-off place. We are more apt to worship God in church than in nature. We are more apt to worship God in the singing of the hymn, “There is a Green Hill Far Away,” than on the third green of the golf course. We are more apt to worship God in John 6, the feeding of the five thousand, than at a picnic lunch on a mountainside some Lord’s Day morning. We are more apt to worship God by the Sea of Galilee than down at the local beach. We are more apt to worship God on the road to Emmaus than on the freeway. We are more apt to worship God in the Gospel of Matthew than in our city’s evening paper.
But, remember, it is possible for us to go to God’s house and not worship Him at all. In order to worship Him, we must keep our focus in mind. We must keep our heart engaged.
Worship is acknowledging God’s “worthiness” to be worshipped, His “worth-ship.” We can do that in song or in surrender; in obedience or in thought. That being said, we can worship on our feet or our faces. Our posture isn’t the priority—it only reflects the heart. Victor Hugo once said the soul is on its knees many times regardless of the position of the body. Our souls need to be prostrated before God.
Notice two Bible words. The Hebrew word hishtahaweh actually means to “bow the neck.” The Greek word proskuneo means to “bow the knee” to God. Today we need to get down on our faces before God in heaven. In the book of Revelation, we read some things we don’t understand about heaven, but one thing we can be sure about—that every time we read of those in heaven, they are either getting down on their faces or getting up off their faces from worshiping God. And, friend, if you don’t like to worship God, you wouldn’t like heaven anyway, because that is how they’re occupied. Most of the time they are worshiping God, prostrating themselves before Him on their faces. Beloved, how we need that today.
When my spiritual life gets frayed and fuzzy at the edges and begins to tear at the seams, I like to get alone, get down on my face before Him, and pour out my heart to Him. Friend, when was the last time you got down on your face before God? When was the last time you prostrated yourself before Him? Oh, it would do us good; it would deliver us from deep freeze; it would deliver us from the shell in which we live; it would create within our hearts a different attitude if we would learn to prostrate our souls before God.
The world is a noisy mess these days. Every person plays their own little tune. It’s bedlam! One of these days, out from the wings will step the Conductor—the Lord Jesus Christ. And when He lifts His baton, from the ends of God’s universe those galactic systems will join in and every bird, every angel, and then mankind will join the heavenly chorus. In the meantime, you can bow before Him and bring your own little soul and your own heart into the harmony of heaven.
From Dr. McGee: “Attempting to define worship is the same issue a soldier stationed on the West Coast faced when his mother, a native of Kansas, wrote saying, “When you come home, bring me a souvenir that will tell me something of the Pacific Ocean that I’ve heard so much about.” So he took her a bottle of sea water. It literally was the ocean, but it expressed nothing of its vastness, of the breakers along the shore, nothing of the beauty of the sunlight on the whitecaps. It told nothing of the things of the deep, of the breeze that gently hovers. But such are the limits of a definition.”
When you want to define worship, by definition you are wanting to describe the worth-ship of Jesus Christ. Is He worthy?
Ponder these passages from God’s Word and then as an expression of worship, answer the question, “Is Jesus worthy of worship?” (You may also be blessed by the song, “Is He Worthy?” by Chris Tomlin. Hear it below.)
- Were Paul and Silas worshiping in prison? Read and consider Acts 16:24-26.
- Was David worshiping when he dedicated the temple? Read and consider 2 Chronicles 7:1-6.
- Was the widow worshiping with her offering? Read and consider Mark 12:41-44.
- Read and describe what was happening in Revelation 4:8-11; 5:8-14.
Now, describe what it means to worship God.