When we have a nice, leisurely morning to get up, Scrappy gets in my face and presses his forehead into the bridge of my nose, looking down until I rub his neck, and then he licks me- eyes, nose, whatever.
This is the difference between praise (the licking) and worship (the head thing).
You see, the morning sermon was on why worship was important. And I said, "Hold the phone, I'm in more need of what worship is. If it's so darn important, explain THAT to me!"
And God said, "Well, you have a concordance." Yes I do, the big ol' Strong's ten-pound concordance. For those of you that have never worked with the "BOSTPC", let me explain to you that it takes each word in a KJV Bible and gives you the original Greek (NT) or Hebrew (OT) root. So many times, the trick to using it is figuring out what the word you find in your translation is translated in the KJV, then finding the root in the index. This case, though, I was looking for one word- worship. I envisioned a variety of meanings that I could almost string togother in a "worship rosary" to help me start the morning with worship.
When I saw what I found, I saw why God told me to go to the concordance.
You see, there are three words for what worship done right is, and 7 for what it is not. Let's look at what it is not. The only OT word for what it is not is used in Jeremiah 44:19, where the prophet is scolding the men of Israel for "not knowing" that their wives are making cakes for the "queen of heaven" (Catholics: does it not bother you that the Church borrowed it's term for Mary from the OT term for the fertility goddess? It did me.). Literally, here worship was a carving out of an object, making a symbol to worship. The worship does not occur without you creating something.
In the NT, we start with a word found in Luke 14:10 that describes winning the esteem of men. Worship is not just to "esteem" God, even if you esteem Him more than all others. It doesn't go far enough.
The next one is found in Colossians 2:23, where Paul warns them against "affected piety"; in other words, worship is not something you can fake for show.
Next one comes from the temptation of Satan where he demands Christ worship him. This was actually a combination of words that seemed to indicate, "Get in my face and look," Or to put another way, "Look at me! See how great I am!" This might be what Satan is looking for, but it isn't what God is looking for.
Next, comes from Acts 17:23, when Paul talks to the Athenians about "what you serve in ignorance." They were covering their bases, praying to every act of nature, every facet of divinity they can imagine, never really knowing the nature of what they served. God wants worship to begin with knowledge of Him.
Next comes from Acts 7:42, where Paul admonishes those who have been abandoned to the worship of the host of heaven (i.e. astrology and mythology). The word literally means, "do the service", and references going through the ritual with no idea of what it means. (There goes the rosary plan!)
Finally, the last one connects to both Mark 7:7 (where Jesus quotes scripture about the empty reverence of those who put the dogma of man ahead of the Word Of God - another shout out to the Catholics, perhaps?) and Acts 18:13 (where Paul lectures about those whose worship follows what men say and is contrary to what God commands.
So worship ISN'T anything we make, is more than simple esteem, can't be faked, is more than just telling God how great He is (a big fat oops for me), is not done in ignorance or by ritual, and isn't just doing what the "worship leader" says on Sunday. But what is it?
The first OT word, found in too many places to list, means, to depress (push down, not make sad), or to prostrate yourself.
The second OT word means, "to fall down".
The lone NT word means, "to crouch, as a dog licking his master's hand."
So go back to what I said at the beginning. Scrappy gets as close as he possibly can, pushes his down-looking head against my nose so hard it's as if he's trying to COMBINE OUR BRAINS (think about the implications there), and stays there until I act, which moves him to lick (or praise).
Worship was a whole lot simpler to conceive, and harder to do, than I thought.