….the concept of worship. In most people’s minds, worship involves some sort of public service with hymns of praise, prayers and a well-planned liturgy. Such services epitomize for many what is involved in worshipping God. Yet this provides only a partial picture.
A dictionary definition of worship is “reverence tendered to a divine being” and “an act expressing such reverence.” The word “worship” comes from an Old English word meaning “worth-ship” and refers to worthiness, respect and reverence directed toward God.
Do we show our appreciation for God’s worth?
Our worship of YHWH would therefore literally mean showing our appreciation of God’s worth. Certainly forms of outward religious practice, with their rituals, ceremonies and prayers, can show worship for God. But we must pay careful attention to what God tells us in His Word, the Bible.
YHWH makes it clear that He seeks those who will worship Him “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24). When Satan sought to tempt Yahushua ( Jesus) to worship him, Yahushua sharply rebuked him, saying, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve” (Matthew 4:10). The apostle Paul equated his worship of God with “believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets” (Acts 24:14), referring to what we call the Old Testament.
YHWH wants us to worship Him in truth. We do this by honoring Him, serving Him and giving heed to His instructions. YHWH asks us to live “by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3). Our worship of God is shown in how we live our daily lives. True “Christianity” is a way of life (Acts 18:25, 26; 19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14, 22). It is a way of thinking, acting and living. It affects every aspect of one’s life.
What does true worship involve?
True worship of God involves nothing short of the inward transformation of the human heart by faith in Yahushua and His sacrifice and having Christ live in us through the Holy Spirit to help us obey…, by obeying all of YHWH commandments and meditating on them day and night. External worship practices alone are inadequate. YHWH is looking for those who will worship Him in spirit, from a converted and transformed heart. True worship, then, is much more than praise of God in a public worship service. This broader meaning is indicated by the fact that five Greek verbs are translated “worship” in the New Testament. “The worship of God is nowhere defined in Scripture . . . It is not confined to praise; broadly it may be regarded as the direct acknowledgement to God, of His nature, attributes, ways and claims, whether by the outgoing of the heart in praise and thanksgiving or by deed done in such acknowledgement” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, “Worship, Worshiping,” p. 686).
Yahushua sharply rebuked the religious leaders of His day because they misrepresented God’s commands and substituted their own humanly devised teachings (Matthew 15:9; Mark 7:7). He said such worship was in vain. Yahushua reserved the harshest words of warning for those who would profess to worship God (who say “Lord, Lord,” Matthew 7:21), but refuse to do God’s will or obey His laws (verses 21-23). Such worship is empty and without merit, unacceptable to YHWH and Yahushua.
We live at a time when many people are disillusioned with traditional worship services. They find them vacuous, without meaning and irrelevant to their lives. It is time to take a fresh look at what true worship is all about. When we come to understand its real significance, true worship becomes supremely relevant to our lives now and to our ultimate destiny.
The Sabbath is full of meaning today
Many people, professing Christians in particular, might be shocked to learn that the seventh-day Sabbath—God’s commanded day of rest and communal worship—is not abrogated for the Christian today. It remains very much in force. It is full of meaning and supremely relevant to the lives of all humanity. We are missing some of YHWH’s most wonderful blessings if we ignore the observance of His commanded day of rest.
True worship of YHWH God honors His commands concerning the Sabbath. In contrast, Sunday observance does not rest on God’s authority or that of His Word, but on the reasoning and tradition of man, including the adoption of pagan religious customs to honor Him, which He forbids (see Deuteronomy 12:19-32). The hard question must be asked whether YHWH accepts such worship when His clear commands regarding these matters are ignored.
OUR APPOINTMENT WITH YHWH
In Leviticus 23:2-3 YHWH reveals an important aspect of the weekly Sabbath day and His other annual festivals: “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘These are my appointed feasts, the appointed feasts of the Most High YHWH, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies . . . the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, a day of sacred assembly'” (New International Version, emphasis added throughout).
YHWH plainly says these are His feasts, His “sacred assemblies.” The Hebrew word mo`ed, the plural form here translated “appointed feasts,” means “appointed time” or “meeting” (Lawrence Richards, Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, 1985, “Feast/Festival”). “Sacred assemblies” and “sacred assembly” here are translated from miqra, which denotes a divinely summoned gathering.
In other words, YHWH says His Sabbath is a divine appointment that He commands His people to keep through their gathering before Him with other believers (compare Hebrews 10:24-25)or alone.
Notice that YHWH is the one who sets the appointment, not us. He is the one who determines the time—that time being His weekly seventh-day Sabbath and His annual festivals. Weekly Sunday worship does not fulfill YHWH’s command.
That raises an interesting question: If we don’t come before Him at the time He commands, either by not coming at all or coming on a different day, are we really keeping an appointment with Him?
If you make arrangements to meet with someone next Wednesday but he decides to show up on Thursday instead, would you think he had kept the appointment? Of course not. So why should we think God would find it acceptable if we decide to assemble on a day different from the one He commands?
The Sabbath is YHWHs day, not ours. It is a time He wants to meet with you, a time for reading His Word, for prayer, for fellowship with other believers, for your family—but, most of all, a time for His presence with you, especially as you are taught from His Word at His commanded assembly.
A TEST FOR YOU??
By now perhaps you’ve realized that most of mankind has failed to obey YHWH when it comes to His Sabbath day. Much of humanity ignores YHWH altogether and couldn’t care less about setting aside a day to honor and worship Him.
Maybe you’re one of the many who have been told that the Sabbath command has been transferred from the seventh day of the week, Saturday, to Sunday, the first day of the week. Or maybe you’ve been told that it’s no longer necessary to keep it at all.
Sadly, traditional Christianity has for the most part turned its back on the Fourth Commandment—considering the Sabbath obsolete, fulfilled by Yahushua , replaced by Sunday or somehow negated by the dozens of arguments that have been marshaled against it over the centuries. However, we shouldn’t be surprised at this widespread disdain for the Sabbath day, since God’s Word tells us that “the mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit itself to God’s law” (Romans 8:7, Holman Christian Standard Bible).
What about you? What’s your view of YHWH’s most ignored commandment in light of the clear instructions in His Word? The simple fact is that nowhere in the Scriptures will you find that the day God established at creation as the proper day of rest and worship has been changed or abolished. Most religious groups don’t have a problem with the other nine commandments, but few are willing to submit to YHWH’s will on the Fourth.
It’s instructive to note what YHWH said when He revealed His Sabbath to the Israelites in Exodus 16 through the miracle of the manna to feed them in the wilderness. Unlike on other days, the people were not to go out to gather on the Sabbath, as there would be none. Rather, they were supposed to gather double the day before to prepare for the Sabbath.
Notice God’s intent: “that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not” (verse 4). Indeed, the Sabbath was a test commandment—and remains so today. While the rest of the Ten Commandments are generally acknowledged as right and proper, keeping the Sabbath commandment often brings ridicule and even ostracism. So this command can reveal who is willing to go the distance in obedience to YHWH. Will you?
Rarely will a church organization change its beliefs. But with YHWH’s help and guidance, you as an individual can change yours and begin patterning your life according to His instructions. You would do well to ask yourself: If YHWH made the Sabbath holy at creation, if He made it a part of the Ten Commandments, if Yahushua, the apostles and the early Church kept it (as the New Testament and history shows they did), doesn’t it make sense that He would want you to keep it?
Will you pass the test? Are you willing to surrender a portion of your time to build the kind of relationship YHWH wants to enjoy with you?
** My personal note on Sabbath. I love Sabbath – it is a delight. Sure it requires commitment in a busy life for me to cook and prepare ahead of time – sometimes we start early in the week to get ready – as Sabbath is the climax of the week – the HIGHLIGHT. While the world is out on Friday nights and on Saturday afternoons doing their own will we are doing Yah’s Will – which is A-okay with me. This life is ALL ABOUT HIM!! and He is a precious treasure and a delight and the LOVE OF MY LIFE 🙂 Praises to Yah forevermore! I want my GOD to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he can trust me , depend on me – that I am faithful to Him no matter the “inconvenience”. If people would just understand the blessings involved in obeying Yah- and no its isnt always external blessings – there isnt a better blessing than knowing HE IS PLEASED WITH YOU.. and you have peace in your soul! ***