The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.
Last Monday’s Marinate we explored what it means to be enthralled by our King. This week we look at what our response to God should be as a result of His enchantment with us.
Clearly, we are directed to honor God. Why are we to honor God? “For he is your lord.”
Unless otherwise noted, I typically am referencing the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible for read-ability in most of my blog posts. Sometimes, in order to determine the original Hebrew word and meaning, I will consult the King James Version of the Bible. Let’s look at the King James Version of this Scripture.
Psalm 45:11 (KJV)
So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty; for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.
The NIV translators use the word “honor” as our response to the Lord. The KJV uses the word “worship” as our response to the Lord.
As one might imagine, when looking up the Hebrew , the word translated as “worship” is used frequently throughout the Bible. The Hebrew שָׁחָה, transliterated word shachah, which is pronounced shaw-khaw means “to bow down” according to Strong’s Concordance.
“Shachah is a verb meaning to bow down, to prostrate oneself, to crouch, to fall down, to humbly beseech, to do reverence, to worship. The primary meaning is to bow down. This verb is used to indicate bowing before a monarch or a superior and paying homage to him or her.” (Strongs Complete Word Study Concordance)
One very simple example of how we honor and worship God is literally bowing our heads during prayer. We are outwardly showing signs of reverence and submission when we lower our heads.
As a child I remember my brother and I kneeling in prayer by the side of our beds. We were not a religious, faith-filled family. Yet, for some reason, we did say nightly prayers as kids before going to sleep. Whether we knew it or not, we were showing reverence and honor to the Lord, or at least being taught to honor God those first few early years.
The Hebrew word for worship (shachah) is used over and over in the Bible. Sometimes, it is used in reference to worshiping the Lord. Other times, it is used to worship man in positions of authority (i.e. King David and Haman are just a couple examples). At other times shachah is used when Israel worships false gods (with harsh consequences).
For our purposes, we will explore some of the references to worshiping the Lord, since that is our appropriate response to the Lord’s being enthralled by our beauty. Note: the word translated from Hebrew shachah is in bold for each of the Scripture references.
Psalm 29:2, 29:10-11
2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness. 10 The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD is enthroned as King forever. 11 The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.
We are to ascribe, or assign to, God the glory due Him. We are to worship him in the splendor of his holiness. Later in this psalm, God’s voice is said to be over the waters (v 3), His voice is powerful and majestic (v 4), & His voice breaks the cedars of Lebanon (v 5). We are to consider God our King and through worshiping Him we receive strength and are blessed with his peace (v10-11).
Worshiping God is for Him, but it is also for us as mentioned above because we are blessed with peace.
Worship might be singing, praying, or taking a walk outside and really appreciating God’s creation – just to name a few ways to worship God. There have certainly been days I have felt fear and anxiety. However, when I step into worship with God, those feelings are lifted away and I am left with God’s peace. When we humbly submit ourselves and our time to worship God, we are left with an overwhelming sense of peace.
In Psalm 138:2, shachah is translated “bow down”. Let’s look at this in its context by reviewing Psalm 138:1-3 to better understand what it means to worship God and why it is an appropriate response.
1 I will praise you, LORD, with all my heart; before the “gods” I will sing your praise. 2 I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness, for you have so exalted your solemn decree that it surpasses your fame. 3 When I called, you answered me; you greatly emboldened me.
King David is bowing down to the LORD in the holy temple (v 2). King David’s response is based on the LORD’S unfailing love and faithfulness (v 2). King David has seen God’s answer to prayer (v 3). Because God has answered David’s prayers, David is emboldened. David is left with no other response than to sing praises to the LORD (v 1).
I thought it would be interesting to look at others’ response to the LORD, to review examples left for us. Who bowed down to the LORD and what drove their behavior?
In Judges 7:15, Gideon bowed down and worshiped the LORD. The verse states,
When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed down and worshiped. He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, “Get up! The LORD has given the Midianite camp into your hands.
Prior to the battle against the Midianites, the LORD spoke to Gideon. Gideon was directed by the LORD to dramatically reduce the number of his troops that would enter into battle against the Midianites. The LORD wanted to ensure victory could only be attributed to Him and not to the number of troops in Gideon’s army. Gideon started with 32,000 men and was ultimately left with 300 men to enter into battle with (Judges 7).
I imagine Gideon was a bit apprehensive coming up against all of Midian with only 300 men in his army. However, when the LORD gave Gideon the dream that was interpreted by Gideon’s friend as a victory, I imagine Gideon’s response as one of great relief. Relief and deliverance are surely reasons we would lay prostrate, bowing down to worship God.
Another example left for us of someone bowing down to worship the LORD appears in Genesis 24:26-27
26 Then the man bowed down and worshiped the LORD, 27 saying, “Praise be to the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who has not abandoned his kindness and faithfulness to my master. As for me, the LORD has led me on the journey to the house of my master’s relatives.”
Who was this man and why was he worshiping the LORD? This man was Abraham’s servant who had sworn to Abraham he would find a wife for Abraham’s son, Isaac. The servant went on a journey to search from among Abraham’s relatives and homeland for Isaac’s bride (Genesis 24:3-4).
The servant was reassured by Abraham that God’s angels would go before him on the journey back to Abraham’s country (Gen 24:7).
Genesis 24:12-15a gives us more information.
12 Then he (*the servant) prayed, “LORD, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. 13 See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. 14 May it be that when I say to a young woman, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’-let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this will I know that you have shown kindness to my master.” 15 Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder.
* Text within parenthesis added for clarification.
Here we start to see the reason the servant was later found bowing down in worship to the LORD. The servant had been praying to the LORD, very specifically, so he would know which woman the LORD had chosen for Isaac’s bride-to-be. Even before the servant’s prayer was finished, the LORD had already brought an answer to his prayer (v 15). Rebekah was quickly presented in response to the servant’s prayer.
Imagine being the servant who had posed such a specific request of the LORD in verse 14 – that the woman would generously offer to draw water for his camels. In response to the servant’s prayer, God has Rebekah offer to draw water for the servant’s camels (Genesis 24:19).
I don’t know if you have ever had such specific and immediate answer to prayer. Certainly, when we see the LORD moving and working in such powerful ways in response to our prayers, we are left with no more appropriate recourse than to bow down and worship God. I was going to end here, but I think maybe we should explore one more of the many times and reasons to worship.
We’re going to briefly look at David and Job. Let’s look at 2 Samuel 12:20 and Job 1:20.
2 Samuel 12:20
Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate.
At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship
What happened to cause David and Job to worship the LORD? Both men were experiencing great loss and were grieving.
Because David had shown contempt for the LORD, David’s first son from Bathsheba was killed. David had prayed and fasted for his son, yet his son was taken as a result of David’s sinful behavior.
Job lost his sons and daughters in a tragic incident. A mighty wind had swept through the home, causing it to collapse upon Job’s children, killing them.
Upon first glance, we might think, how can David, or Job, or us, for that matter, worship God under such tragic circumstances. I am not sure there is anything worse I can imagine than losing a child. Yet, these men responded in worship to God.
I’m not sure exactly how it works, but I can say, that it does work. I have never lost a child, but I have walked through tragic circumstances. I didn’t always know how to worship God in the midst of tragedy, but God taught me how. As I have sang and prayed to him, often through streams of tears, God has brought me to a place of healing and peace. I imagine that’s what happened with David and Job as well.
We could never mend our grieving hearts from the loss of a child (or some other tragic situation). But somehow while singing praises to God, He shields us from the full weight of that pain. He carries us through the storm.
I don’t know where you personally are at with all this. I used to do a lot of serious eyebrow raising – quite frankly I think in terror – at the thought of tragedy and how on earth someone could respond in worship.
Again, I don’t understand it fully, but I have felt it. God gave us these examples to help us understand the importance of worshiping Him in times of terrible loss. God knows worshiping Him is part of our healing journey.
If this writing finds you in a place of loss or tragedy, I pray that you will experience God’s peace. Let’s pray.
Jesus, thank you for the love you show us, especially when we are hurting and full of sorrow. There is no greater closeness I have known than when you are wiping away the tears from my eyes. Lord, I know your compassion and your love. I pray that those reading this needing to know your loving compassion would grow closer to you each and every day, gaining a bigger sense of who you are. I pray too, Lord, that they would experience full healing in their hearts. While it makes no sense to us, Lord, I ask that you would use any tragedy in a person’s life in powerful and positive ways for a good and perfect purpose and that you would not waste any tear or any sorrow we might feel. Help us to know you through our worship of you. Help to heal our hearts as we worship you, Lord. Thank you, Lord, that you are a Healer, that you are Powerful, and that you work all things together for the good of those who love you! (See Romans 8:28)
In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Let the words of this song “Your Love Never Fails” by Jesus Culture wash over you as you listen to the lyrics.