A question was posed to me the other day. Is basketball worship? I immediately laughed. There is a difference between bringing glory to God in all we do and calling whatever we do worship. Maybe it is time to look at some definitions.
What is worship? Is it that thing we do on Sunday, sitting in a pew, singing some songs, listening to the sermon? I started looking up verses and discovered my definition was somewhat lacking.
The most common Hebrew word that we translate for worship is shachah. It is used 172 times in the old testament and means “to bow down, prostrate oneself, before superior in homage, before God in worship.” I think of Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David and Daniel. I imagine these men face down. It was a private matter between them and their God. They worshiped because of trouble, they worshiped when God gave direction, they worshiped because they were overcome by who He was.
There are also the examples of corporate worship. Kings would call the people together to worship when there was trouble or after a great deliverance. There were also regular scheduled times for worship. The temple was open daily for sacrifices and worship.
Many warnings can be found about worshiping the wrong thing. We have a tendency to worship anything that catches our eye. We especially are drawn to things that we have “made with our own hands.”
One thing was very clear. Worship was about God. Worship should still be about God. He is holy, we are not. He is worthy, we are not. He is full of lovingkindness for unworthy self-centered people. That should cause us to fall down and worship Him.
So getting back to my question. Is basketball worship? I can’t wrap my mind around what basketball has to do with God and his holiness. I would be afraid to call it worship for fear that I was creating an idol.
(A few useful texts: Genesis 22:5; Exodus 20:5; 33:10; Joshua 5:14; 2 Samuel 12:20; 2 Chron. 7:3; 2 Chron. 20:18; Job 1:20)
(I just looked at Old Testament passages today. I’ll look at the New Testament for my next post.)