Worship in The Bible
When you look at “worship” in the Bible it is often used in the context of servanthood, admiration, actually falling down in front of something or probably most commonly sacrificing something…(as in Romans 12:1).
However we have a whole category called “worship music.” What is that anyway??
For example Psalms is probably the most “musical” book of the Bible (if for no other reason than that it is the longest and partially written by David). When you look at the word “worship” you see things such as:
Psalm 48:9 O God, we meditate on your unfailing love as we worship in your Temple.
Psalm 95:6 Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our maker,
Psalm 96:8 Give to the Lord the glory he deserves! Bring your offering and come to worship him.
Psalm 138:2 I bow before your holy Temple as I worship. I will give thanks to your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness, because your promises are backed by all the honor of your name.
There are a FEW verses that mention singing in the same verse as worship, but those usually add in praise as follows:
Psalm 66:4 Everything on earth will worship you; they will SING your praises, shouting your name in glorious songs.”
Psalm 100:2 Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy.
So singing can obviously be an aspect of worship, but worship is not defined by singing and singing is not defined by worship.
Contrast the above verse with the mentions of “praise:”
Psalm 5:11 But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever.
Psalm 7:17 I will thank the Lord because he is just; I will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.
Psalms 33:1-3 1 Let the godly sing with joy to the Lord, for it is fitting to praise him. 2 Praise the Lord with melodies on the lyre; make music for him on the ten-stringed harp. 3 Sing new songs of praise to him; play skillfully on the harp and sing with joy
Psalm 40:3 He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be astounded. They will put their trust in the Lord.
I could go on and on, but I won’t bore you with that, you can check out the rest on your own…or just read Psalm 150!
Anyhow, as a result of these thoughts some folks thing I am “radical” and I tend to feel like a misfit as a “worship” pastor…because I lead the music. I mean, c’mon…it MUST be worship…because there is a whole industry CALLED worship music, right??
So am I supposed to “lead people in worship?” Or am I helping them to praise? Is there such a thing as worship music? Does any of this distinction even matter??