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Volume 34 - Page 245 of 261 Index | Zoom | |
Worship due to God as "Our Maker" (Psa. 95: 6).
pp. 57 - 60
We have seen something of the nature of the worship that was offered by Israel, and
we have learned from the testimony of the New Testament to shun all "carnal
ordinances" because of their inability to touch the conscience or to please the Lord. We
have also seen that true worship can be offered only by the free. With this knowledge in
head and heart, we can now turn to the Old Testament, and learn some of the essential
features of true worship, for there were, even in O.T. times, men of God who saw beyond
the shadows and perceived the more excellent way.
It cannot be accidental that the first reference to "worship" found in the Bible is far
removed from ceremonial. If the place where this worship was offered be deemed a holy
place, it is only so because of what transpired there, not because it was holy in itself.
Here we have a sacrifice without a priest, and an altar without a temple. The offerer is a
father, and the offering his beloved and only son. This first reference to worship is a
record of perfected faith, offered to God in a place far from the haunts of men, far from
the courts of a temple, and yet a worship as near to the true and the ideal as the Old
Testament can shew.
"I and the lad will go yonder and worship" (Gen. 22: 5).
A priest and a sacrificial victim are essential for Israel's worship, but here at the
beginning the place of the priest is occupied by a "Father", and the place of the sacrifice
by a beloved "Son".
For further light on the spiritual elements in Old Testament worship we turn to the
Psalms, which record experiences too deep for ritual to reach, and too high for
ceremonial to clog. In Psalm 95: 6 we have the thought of worship rendered to God as
"O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our Maker"
(Psa. 95: 6).
We sincerely hope that not a few of our readers will be critical enough to pause at this
passage, and wonder why we did not include it in Articles 2 and 3 of this series in the list
of references connecting "worship" with "bowing". The reason is this. Qadad means to
"bow the head", but the word used in Psalm 95: 6 is kara, meaning "to bow the knee".
In its verbal form it is used in I Kings 8: 54 for the act of "kneeling", and in the plural
form keraayim it is translated "legs" in Exod. 12: 9. The plural form also occurs in the
curious definition in Lev. 11: 21--"which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon
the earth". Parkhurst renders the phrase: "Which have benders or crouching joints
above their feet or lower part of their legs." The verse that follows in Lev. 11: speaks of