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What Worship does the Creator Appreciate?

honor god, bow, prostrate praise, give glory, humble, humility, serve

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To understand what the New Testament (NT) teaches about worship we first need to understand the perspective of those that lived and wrote during that time.  Their background was rooted and grounded in the teaching of the Hebrew scriptures, the Old Testament.


One of the first principles to keep in mind in understanding Hebrew speakers and writers is their proclivity to be what modern English speakers might call redundant.  Formally it’s called Hebrew parallelism.  That is, they repeat their thoughts, not with the exact same words, but with different words often from a slightly different perspective.  To them it’s all the same intertwined thing, but to us it can seem like multiple different things.  We must read Hebrew Scripture from a Hebrew perspective, not our own.


Ps 66:4 “All the earth shall worship (shachah) thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing [to] thy name.”


Ps 138:2 “I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy loving kindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.”


1Sam 1:3 “And this man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the LORD of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the LORD, [were] there.”


Ps 95:6 “O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.”


Chronicles 29:28 “So all the assembly worshiped, the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded; all this continued until the burnt offering was finished.”


Chronicles 29:30 “Moreover King Hezekiah and the leaders commanded the Levites to sing praise to the LORD with the words of David and of Asaph the seer. So they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed their heads and worshiped.”


Psalm 66:4 “All the earth shall worship You And sing praises to You; They shall sing praises to Your name."


Exodus 34:8 “So Moses made haste and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped.”


II Chronicles 7:3 “When all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD on the temple, they bowed their faces to the ground on the pavement, and worshiped and praised the LORD, saying: "For He is good, For His mercy endures forever."


Genesis 22:5 “And Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey; the lad [Or young man] and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you."  Animal sacrifice = worship/ bowing


Worship throughout the fairly literal translation King James Version Old Testament is closely associated with verbal praise and religious music, also animal sacrifice, literal bowing and prostrating one’s self.  It is also frequently associated with the temple or house of God.  It seems to emphasize semi-public activity directly in honor or praise of God.  Isn’t that what people typically refer to when they talk of worship i.e. singing, praising, acknowledging (bowing to) God?  Of course today it is not associated with animal sacrifice…we have gotten out of that habit.


Christianity gave this author the impression that the greatest thing we can do for God is to worship Him.  Is it really?  How interested in our worship is our Creator?


Actually the Hebrew word translated worship in all these cases is 'shachah'. It literally means: to bow down, depress, or prostrate oneself. 


Interestingly enough the only place this 'worship' was enjoined on or required of ancient Israel in the Law is Deuteronomy 26:10 when they present their first fruits to Him.


“’...and now, behold I have brought the firstfruits of the land which you, O Lord, have given me’  Then you shall set it before the Lord your God, and worship before the Lord your God.” 


On that occasion they would be right there at the House of God, it is only reasonable that they go in, pay their personal respects and bow.  Compared to many other stipulations in the law, worship is hardly mentioned.  So it seems that God was not intently interested in ‘worship’, or the outward show of worship.  It is requested only when people are already ‘in town’, taking care of other obligations.


If God was not overly interested in worship, what did he want?


“And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 To keep the commandments of the LORD, and His statutes, which I command you today for your good?” (Deu. 10:12-13)


Worship is not directly mentioned here in this straightforward statement illuminating what God really wanted from Israel.  The reason for that may be fairly simple.  The use of the word worship in the OT is more an interpretation of modern translators.  They see worship as singing, praise and the external show of religion.  In ancient times God was apparently not overly interested in this worship.


Apparently this is not what God really wanted.  However, are keeping the commandments, walking in His ways, loving God, fearing and serving Him five different things?  This seems fairly obviously a variation on Hebrew parallelism (see also Ex 20:6, Deu 5:10, 6:13, 8:6, 11:13, 20, 13:4, 30:16, Jos 22:5, etc.). These things are all the same intertwined thing, each separate phrase approaching from a slightly different angle or perspective.  Pardon me if I call that 'serlove' for easy reference. I want to avoid any extra baggage.  Worship is not specifically included as an important aspect of this intertwined fear, love, service, obedience and walk of serlove.


So above worship, God desired 1. Fear (yare) 2. to walk (halakh) in all his ways, 3. to love (ahav) him,  4. to serve (avadh) the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,  5. To keep (shamar, keep, guard, preserve) the commandments of the LORD and his statutes.


Does ‘worship’ fit at all?


II Ki 17:36 “But the LORD, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt with great power and a stretched out arm, him shall ye fear, and him shall ye worship, and to him shall ye do sacrifice.”


A parallelism outside the law includes and mixes worship with fear of God.  Although not duplicated in the law, it seems that the Prophets understood these things were related.  But the primary act of 'bowing' is not that in which God is overly interested in the Old Testament.


Actually the Hebrew word avadh translated 'serve' in this case can also include a sense of worship or obeisance. This by itself would tend to merge worship as an aspect of serlove.  Indeed service is directly connected with singing and praise (1Chron 6:31).  However, in that context it is also connected with the Levites who were specifically employed (paid) by God to serve Him on behalf of Israel. It was part of their work to sing, so their service included some outward show beyond what was originally asked of the people.


2 Chronicles 8:14 “And, according to the order of David his father, he appointed the divisions of the priests for their service, the Levites for their duties (to praise and serve before the priests) as the duty of each day required, and the gatekeepers by their divisions at each gate; for so David the man of God had commanded.”

2 Chronicles 31:2 “And Hezekiah appointed the divisions of the priests and the Levites according to their divisions, each man according to his service, the priests and Levites for burnt offerings and peace offerings, to serve, to give thanks, and to praise in the gates of the camp [ That is, the temple] of the LORD.”


“And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, [even] the service of the tabernacle of the congregation (Num 18:21 AV)


Service is equated with employment as well as actual servitude, (see Ex. 21:2).


So how were they to serve God? How does anyone work for someone else?  They do what He says.  What did He tell them to do?   “…and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, 13 To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?” (Deu 10:12c-13)


“Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.” (Deu 13:4 AV)


God didn’t give Israel time consuming work with which they were to busy themselves.  He gave them direction as to how to relate to others.  This is what the commandments address.  So they were free to go about whatever business they wished, but they were to conduct that business in a manner upholding God’s instruction regarding respect of their brothers and their Creator.


What is the fear of God?


Deut 8:6, “Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him


“I said, Surely thou wilt fear me, thou wilt receive instruction; so their dwelling should not be cut off, howsoever I punished them: but they rose early, [and] corrupted all their doings (Zep 3:7 AV)


Fear is an openness and attentiveness to receive the instruction of His commandments.


“And I will come near you for judgment; I will be a swift witness Against sorcerers, Against adulterers, Against perjurers, Against those who exploit wage earners and widows and orphans, And against those who turn away an alien––Because they do not fear Me," Says the LORD of hosts. (Mal 3:5)


“You shall not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but shall fear your God: I am the LORD.” (Lev 19:14)


The fear of God is the fear, care, concern, and attentiveness that we not disobey even when no one will likely know.  Those that do not fear have little regard for God’s instruction.  The result is they mistreat their fellow man because they think they can get away with it.


“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all.” (Ec 12:13)


‘And Moses said to the people, "Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.”’ (Ex 20:20)


So we fear by being attentive and careful to obey the commandments. 


How was Israel to Love God?


Deu 30:16 “in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess.”


Josh 22:5 "But take careful heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul."


Deu 11:1 “Therefore you shall love the LORD your God, and keep His charge, His statutes, His judgments, and His commandments always.”


Deu 11:22 “For if you carefully keep all these commandments which I command you to do––to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, and to hold fast to Him––“


Deu 19:9 “and if you keep all these commandments and do them, which I command you today, to love the LORD your God and to walk always in His ways, then you shall add three more cities for yourself besides these three”


So serlove revolves around keeping the commandments, which are His ways.  It is a continual service and love toward God by living according to His policies and being cautious and fearful of running counter to them. God asked ancient Israel to show love toward Him by doing what he requested of them.  What He requested is what He determined would be in their best interest.


What is walking in His way?


Deu 26:17 "Today you have proclaimed the LORD to be your God, and that you will walk in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments, and His judgments, and that you will obey His voice.”


Jud 2:22 "so that through them I may test Israel, whether they will keep the ways of the LORD, to walk in them as their fathers kept them, or not."


Worship does not appear in these verses that explain what God really expected of Ancient Israel.  It is secondary in what was expected of Israel.


“Then Samuel said: "Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.” (1Sam 15:22 AV)  That which is closely associated with ‘worship’ is secondary.  Worship and obey do not appear in parallel together in the OT or NT.  They are in different categories. However any action in accord with the Commandments of God would be service to God and would therefore be of greater worth to God than ‘worship’.


New Testament Worship

Has this changed in the New Testament?  Is God still interested in the same relationship with people that He desired of ancient Israel?


“But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets." (Acts 24:14)


‘Worship’ here is actually the Greek word "latreuo" which literally means to serve for hire,


This is the same word that is used for service in “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1)  Is offering ourselves in service a new concept?  Ps 4:4 “Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord.” (Ps 4:5) “My tongue shall speak of Your word, For all Your commandments are righteousness.” (Ps 119:172)


“For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. 17  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart––These, O God, You will not despise.” (Ps 51:16-17)


It was recognized in the Psalms that doing the commandments was a righteous sacrifice.


Luke 2:37 “and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years who did not depart from the temple, but served (latreuo) God with fastings and prayers night and day.”


For we are the circumcision, which worship (latreuo) God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh  


Mat 6:24; “No one can serve (doulos) two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and mammon”. 


This word, (Gr. Doulos), which primarily means a slave, is never translated worship, but it is clear it continues in line with what God said he wanted of ancient Israel.


Jesus Christ throughout the Gospels compares the faithful to servants. Peter used the word in connection with believers after Christ ascended.   "And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy". (Acts 2:18, Joel 2:29)  Peter in Acts clearly continues the instruction ancient Israel received.  Believers would continue to conduct themselves as servants of God who obeyed His will.


Another Greek word translated worship is proskuneo.


Revelation 3:9 “Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie--indeed I will make them come and worship (proskuneo) before your feet, and to know that I have loved you   


One can almost see prostrate in the word. It is often used of those who bow or do obeisance. God will actually share this kind of ‘worship’ with His faithful.  It is not something reserved exclusively for God and Christ.  This worship is often associated with a presence at the temple.


Act 24:11 “because you may ascertain that it is no more than twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem to worship.” (proskuneo)


Act 8:27 “And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship” (proskuneo )


Rev 11:1 “And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship (proskuneo) therein.”


Proskuneo is the word that used for 'worship' in Matthew 4:10, ‘Then Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’"’  Latreuo is the word that is used for 'serve'


Interestingly Matt 4:10 is supposed to be a quote from Deuteronomy 6:13, among other places.  "Thou shalt fear (yare) the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name."


Did Jesus change what was intended in Deut 6:13?  What is the status of ‘fear’ in the NT?  This would be indicated by the Greek word phobeo especially and also sebomai.


Phobeo is used of Cornelius in Acts 10:2 "a devout (eusebees, reverent, pious, devout, religious) man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always". Peter clearly recommends fear (phobeo) as an aspect of how we should approach God.  He also again includes the thought of servitude (doulou, 1Pet 2:16-17) “as free, yet not using your liberty as a cloak for vice, but as servants (doulou)  of God.  17.  Honor all people.  Love the brotherhood.  Fear God.  Honor the king.”  So fear toward God is still highly recommended.


When referring to the upright the New Testament often uses the word, sebomai, which emphasizes the aspect of reverence. (sebomai .. Stand in awe of, to venerate, to reverence, to adore, to feel dread of a thing).  This word is used in Acts 16:14.


"Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped (sebomai) God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul."


Act 18:13 ‘saying, "This fellow persuades men to worship (sebomai) God contrary to the law."’


John includes this word in his narrative an interesting way, "Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him." (John 9:31, note the Hebrew parallelism, respect/worship & do His will) Actually the word used there is "theosebes" which is a combination of theo and sebomai.  This is a quote from someone Jesus had healed.  Is there any hint that John did not agree with the understanding of his statement?  Obedience and reverence or fear are the same basic thing and are in turn respected by God.


So why is Proskuneo used in Matt 4:10 instead of fear as it is in the original of Deuteronomy 6:13? , ‘Then Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship (proskuneo) the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’"’  More than likely it was changed in the translation from Hebrew to Greek to keep thought with the statement of Satan.  “And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship (proskuneo) me.” (Mt 4:9)


Satan of course requested proskuneo, bowing & prostration.  He simply wants to be acknowledged and praised.  Simply come as you are, no particular conduct is necessary.


The better translation for yare, fear, is phobeo.  Sebomai, would work too.  Whoever translated Jesus words into Greek probably went for effect rather than precision.  Perhaps the translator or maybe even Jesus was influenced by the context, either that or Jesus misquoted the verse


Interestingly, even though God did not stress 'worship', it shows up very frequently in scriptures that discuss homage to other gods like Deuteronomy 8:19.


Deu 8:19 “And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish.”


Jeremiah 16:11 “then you shall say to them, "Because your fathers have forsaken Me,' says the LORD; "they have walked after other gods and have served them and worshiped them, and have forsaken Me and not kept My law


“…you shall not bow down to them nor serve them” (Ex 20:5, 23:4, Deut 5:9, Josh 23:7, Jud 2:19, 2Kin 17:35, Josh 23:16)


Deuteronomy 11:16 “Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them”.


2 Chronicles 7:19 "But if you turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods, and worship them


Jeremiah 22:9 ‘Then they will answer, "Because they have forsaken the covenant of the LORD their God, and worshiped other gods and served them."'


See also: Deuteronomy 12:31 Deuteronomy 17:3 Deuteronomy 29:26 Deuteronomy 30:17 1 Kings 9:6

1 Kings 9:9 2 Chronicles 7:22 Jeremiah 1:16 Jeremiah 13:10 Jeremiah 16:11 Jeremiah 25:6


II Ki 5:18 "Yet in this thing may the LORD pardon your servant: when my master goes into the temple of Rimmon to worship there, and he leans on my hand, and I bow down in the temple of Rimmon––when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the LORD please pardon your servant in this thing."


The Greek words for love are never translated worship.  However a frequently quoted directive in the New Testament is love God and love your neighbor.  So God still wants to be loved, as He did in the Old Testament.  On these hang the law and prophets (Deu 6:3, Lev 17:18). “Jesus said to him, "‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment.39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." (Mt 22:37-40 see also Luke 10:25)


Jesus uses the same terminology to delineate what is important to God.  Can it be taken out of the context that every Jew listening to Him would have attached to it?  The context was that of Deuteronomy 6, which just the chapter before had repeated the commandments.  The Law and the Prophets were continually pleading for a continual love and service toward God by living according to His policies and being cautious and fearful of running counter to them.


Seldom is it mentioned that these same words (love the Lord and love your neighbor) came from an apparently unbelieving Jew.  ‘And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"’ (Lu 10:25)   Even less often is it noted that Jesus felt this Jew understood the meaning of these words and praised him for his correct answer.  ‘And He said to him, "You have answered rightly; do this and you will live." (Lu 10:28)  Note also that Jesus went to the law for instruction in this matter ‘He said to him, "What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?"’ (Lu 10:26)  So here we have a Jew with apparently no special gift of the Holy Spirit checking up on Jesus and His understanding of how to attain eternal life.  Jesus acknowledges this Jew’s understanding which came from the Law as being accurate.


Let’s note some other verses in the NT that help define Love of God.


1Jo 5:3 “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous


1Jo 5:2 “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments


Interestingly enough there is no parallel expression or command connecting Worship + love in the KJV, NKJV, or NASB.  There is one quote from the NIV.


“And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD to serve him, to love the name of the LORD , and to worship (servant ‘evedh) him, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant-“ (NIV Isaiah 56:6)  Of course this is a loose interpretation.  Evedh is more literally translated serve.


Some would say that the meaning intended by "commandments" is different in the New Testament than in the Old.  This ignores the fact that the entire Jewish population of the world had a preconceived idea of what the commandments were.  If the apostles intended a different meaning they should have clarified it regularly to distinguish their concept of the word from everyone else's.  There is no such clear distinction.


Jesus did issue a "new commandment" (Jo 13:34).  In this command He told the disciples to love one another.  Not according to the general standard of the day, but “as I have loved you”.  The next day Messiah would give His life not only for those disciples, but for the whole world.  Messiah is asking a pure selfless love of His followers.  “…a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”  On this evening when the symbols of the New Covenant are instructed, we are called to a higher standard of selflessness.


What does the NT say about our walk?


“He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” (1Jo 2:6)  He kept His father’s commandments. John 15:10 “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”


“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1Jo 1:7)  He didn’t do it all for us.  We should walk that same walk.  Many would say this is impossible.  Perhaps, but with God all things are possible (Mt 19:26, Mk 10:27, Luke 18:27).  Don't sell Him short.


“This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.” (II Jo 1:6)


“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Eph 2:10)  What walk did God before ordain for us?  The walk was ordained in His covenant.


‘Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, "Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?"’ (Mr 7:5)


"but they have been informed about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs.” (Ac 21:21)  This is not changing the walk God desired, but that defined by men. ‘But He answered and said to them, "Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?”’ (Mt 15:3)


“And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men." (Mt 15:9)


“Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God.” (1Th 4:1)


“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” (III Jo 1:4).


“You are near, O LORD, And all Your commandments are truth.” (Ps 119:151)


“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (Rom 8:1).


“For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Mt 16:25)


‘Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."’ (Joh 8:12).  The 'following' that is intended here is clearly a mimicking of his principles and philosophy of conduct.  If we walk as HE walked in the love of His Father and keeping His commandments we will have light. “O house of Jacob, come and let us walk In the light of the LORD.” (Isa 2:5)  “For You have delivered my soul from death. Have You not kept my feet from falling, That I may walk before God In the light of the living?” (Ps 56:13)

Based on all this it seems God is still very interested in the same things in the New Testament in which He was interested in the Hebrew Scriptures.  We are still exhorted to serve (latreuo and doulos), fear (phobeo & sebomai), love, keep His commandments and walk as He walked.  Worship (proskuneo) is valued by the Father, but freely shared with His saints.  It is not something Jesus specifically required of us.  However, Satan seems most interested in this form of service.

New Testament bowing

Proskuneo is the worship in question in John 4:23. "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.” (Joh 4:23)


In the overall context of the Bible, true 'bow-ers' are not primarily concerned with proskuneo, bowing.  However that was the type of worship the Samaritan woman was asking about.  Those that truly bow to God are those that reverence Him and seek the spirit of His will. (The law is spiritual, Rom 7:14) 


Once they understand how the intent of the law applies to them they work accordingly in that way for God.   The problem throughout the history of Israel is that as a whole, they never really did serve, love or fear God.  Consequently they never really did keep His commandments or walk is His ways.  The Creator is still seeking people to truly and completely serve Him, not just by keeping the letter as written, but by understanding and applying the spirit and concept in their conduct.


This doesn’t typically mean you alter your career, but that you obey your Creator and respect your fellow man.  Can we do this in the spirit and ignore the letter?


“What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?  15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food,  16 and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?  17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (Jas 2:14-17)


Worshiping in spirit is the same.  If we say we worship in spirit, but do not do what God said to do, we are no better than those who simply ignore Him without pretense.  Actually maybe worse, because we become familiar with the instruction of God, but harden our mind against it.


“David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them.” (Eze 37:24)


“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them." (Eze 36:26-7)


Putting the spirit of God in someone will cause them to walk in the statutes and judgments of the Ten Commandments.


The commandments of God, i.e. the ten commandments of Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 are the short form expression of the mind of God and a summary of how one walks in His ways.  His judgments and statutes, especially Ex 20:22-23:19 and to a large degree Lev 18-26, detail these commandments and give insight that may or may not be intuitive in our culture.  Some of these are specific to the operation of the tabernacle.  Lessons can be learned even from these. 


However these statutes and judgments are all derived from the commandments themselves.  Unfortunately, almost no one spends much effort in trying to understand the concepts and the spirit behind this instruction.  No wonder the world and the church are in such a mess.


We are to seek the spirit of these laws and apply that in our lives continually.  The worship God really wants is to “fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command you today for your good” This is how we “love the Lord your God with all thy heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.”


This has not changed from what God requested in the Old Testament.  Neither will it change after His return.


‘Many people shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.’ (Isa 2:3)


Singing and praising our Creator is admirable.  Doing what He says and living as he lived is better.  Unfortunately, there is no indication that any significant group of people will actually ever live within this instruction until after David is resurrected.  Be a special treasure to your Creator; try to live by all His law and walk is His way.  A study of the judgments of Exodus 21-23 is vital.  This is something you need to do for yourself.  However, CreatorsCovenant has put some insights into writing that may help.