In Hebrew: [H4720] miqdâsh: a consecrated place or asylum, a holy place. In Greek: [G39] hagion: a sacred spot or holy place. Referencing Psalms 73:17, Webster’s 1828 dictionary puts it like this: “A house consecrated to the worship of God; a place where divine service is performed.”
While doing a study on Worship, I heard someone say: As Christians we are all called to be Sanctuaries. This struck a familiar cord with what I had been learning. I had already thoroughly looked at what it actually means to Worship God, but this added another dimension. We are not merely to Worship God; we are to be “a house consecrated” to Worship God. Indeed, if we are to truly Worship God, we must not only look at what Worship is, but our relationship to that Worship.
(For your convenience an Audio of this post follows the end. Just hit play)
Before digging into these things, I want to make a statement, followed briefly by supporting Scripture, logic, and common sense. You were created to Worship! In support of this bold statement, I supply just a few Old and New Testament Scriptures:
- 1 Chronicles 16:29: “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto His name”
- 1 Corinthians 10:31: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
- Isaiah 43:7: “Even every one that is called by My name: for I have created him for My glory [H3519], I have formed him; yea, I have made him.” [H3519] splendor: – glorious (-ly), glory, honour
- Revelation 4:11: “You art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for You created all things, and for Your purpose and pleasure they are and were created.”
Now the logic and common sense. Whether the words were being spoken to you and me, the Israelite’s, or Adam is a distinction without a difference. As we know from some of our previous studies, before God created any of us, He had all of us in mind. We have made clear that God was not forced to move or change because of Adam’s choice; rather, before creating Adam, He had already planned on Christ to remedy it. So, suffice it to say, if the Bible says do all for His Glory, Honour, and Splendor, then all of us – from the beginning of Adam’s existence to you and me – are to follow that instruction. If the Bible says give God the Glory He is due, then God, being before Adam and after you and me, deserves that Worship, infinitely. When both Old and New Testament says you, me, and Adam were created for God’s pleasure, God’s purpose, and God’s glory, there is no question: We were created to Worship!
If this is the “Purpose” of our existence, then we better get it right. So, here we go!
I would like to start with Worship as a noun, and a definition even Webster’s 1828 says has become obsolete. “Excellence of character; dignity; worth; worthiness.” Sad that such a thing has become obsolete, but keeping this in mind will help us with understanding the verb Worship. Here, Webster’s 1828 uses descriptions like “reverence with supreme respect” and “honor with extravagant love and extreme submission.” The Greek and Hebrew words for Worship include these definitions: “Fall down, Humbly beseech, Prostrate oneself in homage, Revere, Adore, Serve, to Bow or Crouch down.” Notice what these definitions do Not say: “to make a show, rave, celebrate, and sing.” Why are these words in quotes then? These are the definitions of the Hebrew word for “Praise.” [H1984] [hâlal haw-lal’]
Unfortunately, today’s Christian has all but lost “Worship” in the fervor of “Praise.” What do we call those who lead Praise? “Worship leaders.” This is not an attack on Praise; the Bible references it 248 times. Rather, this is a plea for Worship. So, let’s dig a little deeper.
“Humbly beseech,” this makes sense to me. If we are to be all the other things in the definitions, if we are to truly Worship, then we need to understand this. Isaiah 57:15 says: “The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: ‘I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite [H1792] and humble [H8217].’” H8217 simply means “humble.” So, we will look for other words for humble to expand our understanding. This verse pairs humble with contrite [H1792], so that seems a good place to start.
[H1792] dâkâ’ daw-kaw’: A primitive root (compare H1794) to crumble; transitively to bruise (literally or figuratively): – beat to pieces, break (in pieces), bruise, contrite, crush, destroy, humble.
We also find [H6031, H6030, H3665, G5011, G5013]. These words for humble defined, include: “Abase self, Chasten self, Submit self, bring down into Subjection, Bring low, Cast down, to Humble self.”
The whole passage is this: Isaiah 57:12-15: “12 ‘I will expose your righteousness and your works, and they will not benefit you. 13 When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you. But the wind will carry all of them up, And a breath will take them away. But he who takes refuge in Me will inherit the land And will possess My holy mountain.’ 14 And it shall be said, ‘Build up, build up, prepare the way, remove every obstruction from my people’s way.’ 15 The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: ‘I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite [H1792] and humble [H8217]. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.’” Proverbs 16 clarifies (I excerpted for space, feel free to look it up) Proverbs 16:2,5,9,18-20: “2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, But the LORD weighs the motives. 5 Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD;… 9 The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps. 18 Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. 19 It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly Than to divide the spoil with the proud. 20 Those who listen to instruction will be joyful; those who trust the LORD will be happy.” Verse 18 is usually quoted as “Pride goes before a fall,” leaving “haughty” out and, thereby, leaving out an important distinction. Haughty deepens the word pride. Webster’s 1828 provides that clarification. It defines haughty, not just as pride, but “excessive pride,” and not just excessive pride, but “pride mingled with contempt.” Haughty is not just pride, but “pride and disdain.” In short, an arrogant spirit goes before a fall, but a Humble spirit will be joyful and happy.
It is clear, that to be “Humble and Contrite” we must “crush” our ways, and “submit” ourselves to God’s ways. We are to “fall down,” to “Bring ourselves (self) low,” and to “destroy ourselves (self).” It is only in this state that God can “restore the crushed spirit” and “revive the courage of our repentant hearts.” As Isaiah says, “He will expose your righteousness and your works, and they will not benefit you.” If this doesn’t sound familiar, read the “Is” series. It’s saying God will expose the worthlessness of our works and self-righteousness, and of our idols. And when we cry out we will see that “all is meaningless except God.” But he also says we have a “Choice;” we can “take refuge in Him.”
How then, in this narcissistic, arrogant world, do we “destroy self,” and be “contrite?” So, glad you asked! This is us: Matthew 23:5,6,7: 5 “All their deeds are done for men to see… 6 They love the places of honor at banquets, the chief seats in the synagogues, 7 the greetings in the marketplaces,…” But what Christ said we need to be is this, Matthew 18: “2 Jesus called a little child to stand among them. 3 ‘Truly I tell you,’ He said, ‘unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven 5 And whoever welcomes a little child like this in My name welcomes Me.” We’ve all thought of this lesson from Christ and contemplated the innocence of a child, but it’s more than that. Children are not arrogant or self-sufficient. They don’t know what they know, so they submit themselves to the knowledge, guidance, and safety of their parent. They are a blank slate, open and eager to learn. Grateful for all the parent has to offer. You might even say they “worship” them. But as Matthew 23 continues, we are not like children, we: “exalt ourselves,” we are “blind guides,” even though verse 12 says: “whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” We view ourselves as “gifts on the alter,” “gold on the temple,” even though verses 16,18-22 say: “16 Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ 18 You say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gift on it, he is bound by his oath.’ 19 You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes it sacred? 20 So then, he who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 21 And he who swears by the temple swears by it and by the One who dwells in it. 22 And he who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the One who sits on it.” We are like cups that we clean and polish on the outside but on the inside are “full of greed and self-indulgence.” Even though verses 26 and 28 say: “26…First clean the inside of the cup and dish, so that the outside may become clean as well. 28 In the same way, you appear to be righteous on the outside, but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”
Once again, James is here to lend us a hand. In referencing Proverbs 3:34: “God opposes the proud, but gives Grace [H2580] to the humble [H6035].” James says this: “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn, and weep. Turn your laughter to mourning, and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.” Chapter 4 verses 7-10. In other words we must “Humbly beseech,” we must “subdue” and “submit self” to the Lord. Only then can we truly Worship.
Now that we understand humility we are ready to Worship. How does a humble person worship? At the end of 40 days of temptation Christ summed it up like this: Matthew 4:10: “For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’” What does this Worship look like? How do we serve Him only? Can our worship turn to other things and what happens if it does? Deuteronomy 30:15-18 answers these questions: “15 See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; 16 in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the LORD your God may bless you… 17 But if your heart turns away and you will not (listen) obey, but are drawn away and worship [H7812] other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today that you shall surely perish…”
One more sticky point. Can we Worship God if we are not living a life of “Truth?” Well, Jesus told the Samaritan woman this: John 4:23, 24: “But a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father is seeking such as these to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and His worshipers must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” Refresher, what is “Truth”? Acts 24:14: “I worship the God of our fathers according to the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets.” In other words, “Truth Is” the Word declared by God and documented in the Scriptures by the prophets under the “Divine Influence” of God.
So, we return to our question. R U a Sanctuary? We showed in the beginning that a Sanctuary is a “Holy Place,” a “Sacred Spot,” an “Asylum.” R U? In the Bible, and throughout time, a Sanctuary has been a place of Worship. R U? As with Jerusalem, a place God set among sinful nations as an asylum for His people, a Sanctuary is not always a building but a place. It is a place set apart from the outside world, separate from Satan’s lies and darkness, a “Shining Light.” R U? As Christians, we are to be devoted to keeping it that way. How do I know? Well, there are lots of examples, but here’s one: Ezekiel 5:11: “‘So as I live,’ declares the Lord GOD, ‘surely, because you have defiled My sanctuary [H4720] with all your detestable idols and with all your abominations, therefore I will also withdraw, and My eye will have no pity and I will not spare.’” Seems clear enough!
Let’s put it all together. We, as God’s people, are called to be His Sanctuary. R U? We are to have His Spirit in us, and, as Jesus says, we are to Worship in Truth with that Spirit. R U? Also, there are many Scriptures that point out that where there is sin God cannot be. As Ezekiel states, if we allow evil into our Sanctuary, God will not have pity on us and He will withdraw. Once again, the Bible makes it simple. If we are to be a Sanctuary, we are to be a Sanctuary all the time. R U? As a Sanctuary is a Holy Place of Worship, we must empty ourselves as children, or clean cups, to provide an asylum for the Spirit. We must be “A house consecrated to the worship of God; a place where divine service is performed.” R U? We must bow down in “Excellence of Character,” Humble and Contrite in His presence. Our Sanctuary must always be a place of “Reverence” to God. R U? If this is our Sanctuary, then the outside of our cups will be clean, and the world will see God in us.
To reiterate what I said at the beginning, this is not an attack on “Praise;” in fact, just the opposite. A Sanctuary that is filled with Worship should also be filled with Praise. Praise for all we write about here at P.O.C.. Praise for creation. Praise for choice. Praise for forgiveness and for the Gift of Christ that gave us access to that forgiveness. Praise for all that “God Is.” But a Sanctuary that is not grounded in Worship for those same reasons, loses purpose and direction and will be “drawn away,” defiled with worldly idols, becoming an “Empty Vessel,” from which God has “withdrawn.”
Audio below is a reading of this post:
© Scott A Caughel 11/17/2017