What is Worship? Shachah

Shachah is a Hebrew word that calls us to bow down before our God. On Thursdays I have been posting on the meaning of various words related to worship.  Here is a complete list of the words we are studying:

Worship Terms

Worship – What is the meaning of the English word “Worship?”
Shachah – The primary Hebrew word for worship
Proskuneo – The primary Greek word for worship
Halal – A Hebrew word for crazy exuberant praise
Shabach – A Hebrew word for loud praise
Tehillah – A Hebrew word for song of praise
Zamar – A Hebrew word for making music accompanied by strings
Yadah – A Hebrew word for extending the hands in thanksgiving and praise
Towdah – A Hebrew word for a thanks offering
Barak – A Hebrew word for kneeling before God in humble submission

Hidden Meaning in Psalm 100:4 - See how understanding these words enhances the meaning of this popular praise verse.

In my last post on worship terms, What is Worship?, I discussed the English word "worship" and its meaning "to ascribe worth to a person or object."  Although understanding the English meaning is valuable, even more important to our understanding of the word "worship", though, is its biblical usage.


Definition of Shachah from Bible Hub

Meaning of Shachah

The Old Testament was written in Hebrew and the most common Hebrew word translated as worship is "shachah."  According to Strong's Concordance "shachah" means "to bow down."  What is interesting about this word is that it may be translated as either "to bow" or as "worship" depending on the context.

For example, we find in Genesis 23:7 that Abraham “bowed” before the Hittites.  In this case the context lets us know that Abraham was physically bowing as a respectful greeting.  Just one chapter before, in Genesis 22:5, Abraham informs his servant that he and Isaac will go up on the mountain and "shachah."  In this case the context makes it clear that Abraham intends to worship on the mountain.

What can we learn from this?

Worship [shachah] the Lord in the splendor of holiness;
    tremble before him, all the earth! Psalm 96:9


Barak - Kneeling before God in humble submission

In the Hebrew mind there was a very close relationship between bowing down and worshiping.  Here are three ways we can apply this truth to our lives:

  1. Humility.  Worship is fundamentally about humbling ourselves before an awesome God.  We bow down because there is no greater or more powerful being and He is worthy of our complete surrender.  According to C.S. Lewis, pride "is the complete anti-God state of mind" and humility is the antidote.  If we are to worship properly, we must begin with humility.
  2. Submission.  Worship is about submission of ourselves to the goals and purposes of our King.  Bowing before our King is a recognition not only of His superiority but also of His right to command us and our responsibility to obey.
  3. Physical Response.  Worship is not just an inward heart response.  Our hearts and our bodies are closely connected.  When I physically bow it reminds and helps my heart to submit.


Three Questions to Ask

  1. Am I coming to God in humility?
  2. Am I willing to obey anything God asks me to do?
  3. Am I willing to physically kneel or bow down before God as I worship and pray?

by Jerry Wyrick, President of Worship Arts Conservatory

Posted in General Worship, Personal Worship and tagged , , , .