Article II, part 1



What is the definition of worship? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines worship as:

(noun) reverence, homage or honor paid to God // ceremonies or services expressing such reverence; public worship // an utterly devoted admiration for a person; ‘Your (His) worship’ (esp. Br.) a courtesy title used to (or of) certain magistrates, officials, etc.

By defining worship as a noun (person, place, thing, or idea), Webster is indicating that the word has physical properties, parameters, substance — belonging.

But the word “worship” can also be defined another way. In the Life Application Study Bible (NIV) the word is defined as “(verb) to express praise and devotion.” So this definition reveals activity . . . involvement . . . choices being made.

So, which is it? Is worship something physical, tangible, and full of substance, or is worship an activity; something we choose to participate in, such as singing songs on Sunday mornings? Worship actually is both; the blending of two definitions — the noun and the verb. The best example of this mixture of two definitions is in the Hebrews’ view of worship.

In the book Called To Worship: The Biblical Foundations of Our Response to God’s Call, by Vernon M. Whaley, we read that the Hebrew word used for worship is shachah, which means “to kneel, bow, prostrate yourself, or throw yourself down in reverence.” But there are four other very closely related words that Mr. Whaley says broaden the Hebrew description of worship; words that reveal the heart of their worship. These four words are: shabach, “to shout out to the Lord”; yadah, “to worship with raised hands”; tehillah, “to sing impromptu, spontaneous songs of praise”; and halal, “to celebrate God foolishly and boast about His attributes” of faithfulness, goodness, love, mercy, etc. (see Galatians 5:22-23). Can you see the blending of the noun and the verb? It’s a formula, really — a formula that requires the attributes of God and our acknowledgment and application of those attributes to produce the actions that equal worship.

(attributes of God + acknowledgment and application of God’s attributes in us = worship)

A closer look at three key attributes of God should help you understand.

First, God is faithful. How do we know this? By studying Scripture and developing a relationship with God which allows Him the opportunity to reveal His faithfulness over time to us. Consider the following verses: Deuteronomy 7:9 reads, “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commands.” Psalm 37:27-28 says, “Turn from evil and do good . . . for the Lord loves the just and will not forsake His faithful ones.” Lamentations 3:22-23 states, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” And we also read in 1 Corinthians 1:9 that “God, who has called you into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.” By knowing God’s faithfulness, and acknowledging His faithfulness to us, we ourselves can then be true worshipers of God through our faithfulness to Him.

(God’s faithfulness + acknowledging and applying God’s faithfulness = worship)

Grasp with me that faith is not only being loyal to God, but it also requires a complete trust in God. Joshua understood this. As a Hebrew, Joshua defined faith as a complete truth and trust. If you know something is true, you can easily trust it with your whole self. You practice this every time you sit in a chair or walk through a building with multiple floors. You blindly trust that the chair will hold you; that the building won’t collapse on you. Joshua simply practiced this same principle of worship in his relationship with God. How else could he have led such a rag-tag nation into a new land filled with so many ominous situations and formidable opponents and do so without fear or hesitation?

Second, God is hope. Hope can be defined as desiring something with a confident expectation of its fulfillment. In Psalm 62:5-6 we read, “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.” Proverbs 13:12 reads, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Isaiah 40:31 famously says, “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Romans 5:1-5 states:

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ . . . and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.

Also, we read in Hebrews 6:16-19 that:

Men swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of His purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, He confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.

If we desire a relationship with God and confidently expect that relationship to be realized through Christ, then God will fulfill that desire in us.

(God’s hope + acknowledging and applying God’s hope = worship)

Joshua so desired a relationship with God and pursued that relationship with such vigor that he not only hoped in the idea of living in the ever elusive Promised Land but knew without any doubt that God would give it to him and the Israelites, as promised to Moses so many years earlier (Exodus 3:17). This is the same type of hope that we just examined and that Paul mentioned in Romans chapter 5 verses 2 and 5. The writer of Hebrews also wrote regarding this hope in chapter 11, verse 1, “Now faith [in Christ] is being sure of what we hope for [eternal life] and certain of what we do not see [God and the hereafter].” As Eliza E. Hewitt so perfectly penned in 1898, “When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be. When we all see Jesus, we’ll sing and shout the victory!” Such wonderful words; they reveal our hope and our worship as a result of that hope being realized.

In our next post we will continue with building the temple of worship God desires in us as we study the third key attribute of God — His love.

The Joshua Project by J.Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at jasonmin.wordpress.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://jsnmin.org/.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

Called To Worship” © 2009 by Vernon M. Whaley

All rights reserved. The brief information quoted from this book appears in this article with the permission granted per the copyright statement which appears in the publication copyrighted 2009.

Published in Nashville, Tennessee, by Thomas Nelson. Thomas Nelson is a registered trademark of Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Thomas Nelson, Inc., titles may be purchased in bulk for educational, business, fund-raising, or sales promotional use. For information, please e-mail SpecialMarkets@ThomasNelson.com.

When We All Get to Heaven” by Eliza E. Hewitt, pub.1898, Copyright: Public Domain

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.

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Article I, part 1


People should take the time to study history. You cannot know where you are going if you do not know where you came from. The greatest of people, the ones who stand out in our history books, all knew who they were as it related to where they had come from. They also knew where they were going. They possessed a vision for the future.

Before we begin our study of worship, it is imperative that we examine someone who has lived as a true worshiper of the living God. Someone who knew his history and how it affected him, and someone who, in addition to others, had a vision for the future. Joshua was just such a man.

Others may be used as examples of what it is to be a true worshiper of God, but it is my opinion that no other biblical character ever exhibited as fully as Joshua what it was to be a true worshiper. Certainly, Christ is the ultimate example, but I’m referring to someone who was neither perfect nor was he deity in the flesh. Joshua was nothing more than a man willing to serve both God and mankind, and it’s that willingness to serve that God can use to do His most mighty of miracles through us all.

Joshua fit the battle ’round Jericho and the walls came tumbling down.” This is probably one of the most well-known lyrics any songwriter ever wrote, and quite possibly one of the most recognized stories from the Bible. But Joshua and his “battle” at Jericho is only one of many examples that led me to choose him as an example of true worship. The Life Application Study Bible (NIV), co-published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. and Zondervan Publishing House, reveals that Joshua exhibited five key themes, called “megathemes,” throughout his storied life. These five megathemes are what I will use to help you understand why Joshua is an excellent example of a true worshiper, and these same megathemes will lay the foundation for our study on worship as it relates to each one of us, who are children of the living God.

The first of these five megathemes is Joshua’s success as the leader of his nation and his family. God gave success to Joshua and the nation of Israel because they were committed to following God’s plan for their lives. It wasn’t about Joshua’s plans and desires. It wasn’t about what Israel’s elders wanted or what the Israelites wanted, either. Success was given to them by God when they trusted in God and His plans for them (Proverbs 16:3; Jeremiah 29:11).

Success came to Joshua, the elders, and the nation they served, Israel, because their faith was not in their military might, nor was it in their economy, their own physical strength, or even in their own intelligence. Their success came because of their faithfulness in following God’s plan, which for them was the conquering of Canaan.

You see, God’s plan, when followed faithfully, will always bring about success in our lives, as it did in Joshua’s life. We can’t set our standards for success by the world’s definition. No, it must be set by God’s Word. We must adjust our thoughts to always consider God’s way. Then and only then can we realize similar success in our lives.

So, where does this fit into our study of worship? How does Joshua’s success lead us to become true worshipers of God? Joshua’s worship is his testimony/witness of God’s success in his life to his people. The success God gave Joshua became an opportunity Joshua would later use to teach the elders and testify to the nation of Israel about the importance of being faithful to God (Joshua 24:29-31).

Faithfulness to God and a willingness to testify about our faith in God are just two of the several acts of worship we will study. In fact, faith is the second megatheme connected with Joshua’s life, so let’s examine this act of worship modeled by Joshua.

First let’s understand the original meaning of the word, as the Hebrews would have understood it. Faith, or emunah (em-oo-naw’), means “steady,” “steadfast,” or “to support,” but there is another Hebraic word connected to faith that is both an active and passive word meaning two things at once — bittachon (bit-taw-khone’). Bittachon means both “truth” and “trust.” You see, to trust in the truth — to be confident in the truth — (bittachon) makes you steady (emunah). This, all together, is “faith.”

Joshua demonstrated his faith in God by choosing to trust in God’s truth; not once, but on a daily basis, thus allowing God to move in Joshua’s life and providing opportunity for God to save him and the nation of Israel from their enemies and also allowing God to guide Joshua in his leading of this fledgling nation.

Ultimately Joshua, the elders, and the nation of Israel became increasingly aware of God’s faithfulness to them and, as a result, they all developed a strong confidence that God would continue to be faithful in the days to come. This faith allowed God to make both Joshua and the Israelites strong in many ways.

Our confidence and strength comes along in this same way. In order to do God’s work, we have to have faith that truly God wants what is best for us; trusting that He is not out to harm us in any way. God’s promises found in Jeremiah 29:11, and in other Scriptures, reassure us of His love and that He will be there to guide us in the decisions and conflicts we face on a daily basis. Truth and trust can’t begin to exist in our lives until we believe in God, wholly. Joshua had a steady trust in the truths of the living God (Joshua 24:14-15).

These first two of the five megathemes in Joshua’s life set up the principles we all will need to follow if we are to become the true worshipers that our heavenly Father desires us to be. Our faith in God allows Him to bless us with success. A wholehearted trust in God’s truths allows our faith in God to grow in all areas of our lives.

Article 1, part two, will take us through the remaining three megathemes in Joshua’s life. These five megathemes together will become the foundation for the temple of worship in which God desires to reside.

The Joshua Project by J.Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at jasonmin.wordpress.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://jasonmin.wordpress.com/.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

Joshua Fit The Battle Of Jericho lyrics written as recorded by Elvis Presley (original author unknown).
If you want to use these lyrics, please contact the authors, artists or labs.

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.