Worship for the Believer
Genesis 18:1–5 (KJV 1900)
And the Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; 2 And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, 3 And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: 4 Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: 5 And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said.
This passage of Scripture recounts Abrahams meeting with the promise of Isaac. The three men were obviously heavenly messengers carrying an urgent greeting directly from God to Abraham and Sarah. In fact, it was Sarah for whom they asked.
The word translated bow is actually a word translated worship throughout the Hebrew Old Testament. When Abraham met the three strangers he conducted the physical action of the core meaning of the Hebrew worship. The basic core meaning of worship is to bow of the heart and being to God.
Abraham treated the strangers with honor, respect, and hospitality which was an expected behavior that all Hebrew people were to do for the stranger or sojourner. The act of preparing food and providing roadside comfort was a natural part of that society’s civil culture.
Remember, the opposite was demonstrated in the Good Samaritan passage. Thieves and evil men accosted the traveler and did him bodily harm. This was the action of an uncivil society in the days of Christ. This was also the act of aggression when David’s men came in peace and were treated rudely by Hanun. There was no roadside or sojourner civility.
2 Samuel 10:4–5 (KJV 1900)
4 Wherefore Hanun took David’s servants, and shaved off the one half of their beards, and cut off their garments in the middle, even to their buttocks, and sent them away. 5 When they told it unto David, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed: and the king said, Tarry at Jericho until your beards be grown, and then return.
What does this tell us about worship? Worship is the willful act of bowing in honor, respect, and hospitality. When the believer worships he willfully welcomes God’s will into his life as Abraham made the will of those whom he met as his personal concern. We embrace it not because of fear of retribution, but because our willful honor and respect for God.