Monday, 9 July 2012

The Father is seeking...

I have just restarted my Biblebase Daily Bible Readings readings based on the Earley Christian Fellowship's Church Life School which we ran some years ago. I am reading in Genesis, the book of beginnings. In many ways Genesis is like a seed plot, all kinds of wonderful truths that flower later in the Bible can be found in the seed-plot of Genesis.

For example. How often have you heard it said that the first reference to worship in the Bible is in the story of Abraham's intended sacrifice of Isaac? This is the verse in mind:
And Abraham said to his young men,“Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.” Gen 22:5 NKJV.
It is true that this is the first use of the English word worship but it is not the first time the Hebrew word for worship is used.

The Hebrew word for worship used here in Genesis 22:5 is [Hebrew Strong’s 7812] shachah, it is a word which means to prostrate oneself (especially reflexive, in homage to royalty or God): and is usually translated by the old King James Version as 'worship'. This is the word used by Abraham en route to Moriah. It is used earlier in Abraham's story in the record of 3 mysterious visitors to his tent door;
So he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing by him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the ground, Gen 18:2 NKJV.
That is a vivid picture. Old Abraham runs to meet them and then throws himself on his face at their feet. Later we find Lot greets these mysterious messengers of God in a similar fashion. (Gen 19:1 NKJV)

If we were trying to find a modern equivalent what words would be use? I have a suggestion, surrender. The position adopted by Abraham and later by Lot indicated total and absolute surrender to another.

When the Hebrew scholars translated the word shachah into the Greek language for a translation known as the Septuagint they usually used the ordinary Greek word for worship, [Greek Strongs 4352] proskuneO. It is a word with an interesting history. The letters kune link it with the Greek word for a dog. It seems that originally the word indicated the kind of total surrender that a dog gave to its master when it licked his hand. We are back to that word surrender again.

Apparently the Bible's idea of worship is constantly linked with the idea of total surrender. Perhaps, mischievously, I found myself putting the Bible word into some of our more common uses of the word worship. How does a Surrender Service sound? or a Surrender Band or perhaps even a Surrender Leader?

And it was not curiosity alone which made me try using the word in its older sense. I found my thoughts centring around two profound statements of Christ...

Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’  Matt 4:10 NKJV.
But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. John 4:23–24 NKJV.
We magnify Your name, Lord,
We worship and adore You,
For who You are, for what You've done
Among Your people here.
We open up our lives to You,
Lay down our minds and wills,
We want You Lord to have Your way,
For we delight in You.

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