Words mean things.
When the majority of us think of the word, ‘worship,’ we think along the lines of the following definition:
1 : to honor or show reverence for as a divine being or supernatural power
2 : to regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, or devotion
However, believers should ask whether or not the Scriptures have the same definition for the word, ‘worship.’
The Hebrew word most often behind the English word, ‘worship,’ is ‘shachah,’ which literally means to bow down.
Why is this important? Well, to the ancient Hebrew, the idea of ‘worship’ would be closely tied to the image of bowing down to or submitting to. In other words, bowing down is a way of showing that one is under the authority of that to which one bows down.
Now, this does not mean that the ancients thought they were worshiping the king when they bowed to him, though, in many of the nations surrounding Israel, this is not too far removed from the reality of the time (i.e. Pharaoh portrayed himself as a god to be worshiped). But there is always a danger that this is exactly what can happen — if we are not careful.
A precautionary story to always keep in mind would be that of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and their refusal to ‘worship’ (i.e. bow down to) the golden idol (Dan 3). In the case of these three faithful believers, they were not asked to bow to the earthly authority of a king, but to an idol representing a foreign god. To bow to the king would have been to recognize that he was the law of the land, which is not worship; but to bow down to the false god would have been to worship that god. This is a distinction which every believer should be mindful to guard against — lest we unwittingly fall into worshiping false gods in the process.
[NOTE: I have given much thought to the matter of worship, and it would seem to me that the act of worship would include the giving of our trust and faith to that which we worship. I believe this is important, as that which we turn to in our time of need or fear will indicate where our true allegiances lie. When we are in the most need, where we turn to for help will indicate who or what we worship.]
[NOTE: I do not necessarily agree with everything in the following links, but I have found edification in them, so I offer them for consideration to those who might do the same.]
Words mean things