The Priority of Praise

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David Morris

God views praise and worship as high spiritual priorities. Praise, meaning “value” or “price,” is the proclamation of God’s importance or worth.

Many of the praise and worship expressions in the Scriptures were exhibited around David’s tabernacle and are still culturally functional for today. As defined in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, some of these Hebrew and Greek words are “ingredients” for the posture of worship and service to God.

Towdah is an extension of the hand. It implies a choir of worshipers lifting their hands (see Ps. 100:4).

Shabach is to lift the voice in a way that addresses someone of importance (see Ps. 63:3).

Yadah implies holding out one’s hands toward an intimate embrace. In this sense it is not an admission of surrender but of deliberate desire for closeness with God in worship (see Ps. 142:7).

Zamar, means “to pluck the strings of an instrument to accompany singing” (see Ps. 57:7).

Halal is used to mean radical enjoyment, encompassing all the visual demonstrations of worship to God in the regalia of pageantry (see Ps. 150:1).

Barak connotes humility, bowing or kneeling before God in heartfelt thanks (see Ps. 34:1).

Shachah is the act of lying prostrate before the Lord in deep worship (see
Ps. 96:9).

Proskuneo is the most common word for intimate worship in the New Testament. Jesus used this word when speaking about worshiping the Father (see
John 4:23).

Tehillah implies the idea of corporate hymn singing (see Ps. 22:3).

Shiyr communicates movement combined with song (see Ps. 98:1).

Raqad, meaning to spin and whirl about in dance, describes King David’s display of emotion before the presence of the Lord. This seems to be an individual expression of dance where other words are used to communicate a choreographed team of dancers (see 1 Chr. 15:29).

Ranan is to shout or shriek for joy, or to sing out aggressively (see Ps. 5:11).

In all these physical expressions, acts of praise and worship are demonstrations of giving something to God! What we have and what we are belong to Jesus, because He purchased us for God.

In Romans 12:1, Paul makes it clear that not only is thanksgiving to be expressed as worship to God, but our bodies are also to be presented as living sacrifices.

It’s not just words that God wants. He wants praising Him to be a lifestyle. God wants it all!

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