Five Ways to Worship HaShem

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By: William Jackson

We sometimes find ourselves battling the age old question; “What is the meaning of life?”. The irony is that it’s stated in the Tanakh (Old Testament). Simply said, “We were created to glorify His name” (Deuteronomy 6:5, Isaiah 43:7, Psalm 86:12). Part of fulfilling this purpose is to worship our Maker, YHVH (1 Chronicles 16:28-29, Nehemiah 9:5-6, Psalm 29:2, 99:2-3,9). Worshipping is not just showing up for fellowship at a set time, it has many levels. Outlined here are five areas given in scripture that show us how YHVH is to be worshipped.

1. Song:

“I will praise God’s name with a song and overly praise him with thanksgiving” (Psalm 69:31).

The Psalmist tells us to worship YHVH with songs of praise, gladness and thanksgiving (Psalm 71:23, 95:2, 100:2, 107:21-22). Our evidence is the Psalms themselves. Of the 150 psalms found in the Bible, thirteen have the title song, fifty-eight are designated songs set to music and many others are labeled “song of praise” (1). HaShem genuinely had us use music to sing His praises, we should fill our lives with it.

2. Prayer:

“Let my prayer be like incense set before you, my uplifted hands like an evening sacrifice“ (Psalm 141:2).

HaShem desires our prayers in worship; because through them He hear us (Jeremiah 29:12, 33:3, Psalm 141:2, Proverbs 15:8). Our prayers should not be limited to once a day. The Tanakh/Old Testement says that we should be praying throughout the day (Deuteronomy 8:10, Daniel 6:11, Psalm 55:18, 119:164). Also Isaiah 29:13 tells us our prayers should not be rote, this means mechanical or an unthinking routine (2) . HaShem wants us to pray from the heart (Genesis 24:45, 1 Kings 8:48, Job 11:13, Psalm 119:145) not from memory.

3. Studying:

“…Adonai gives wisdom; from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6).

There is nothing more intimate then to know someone on a personal level. How better to know HaShem than to study His word (Psalm 119:105, Proverbs 2:1-5, Joshua 1:8). Rabbi Harold Kushner said it best by quoting his seminary professors “When I pray, I speak to G-d. When I study Torah, I keep quiet and let G-d speak to me” (4) . Studying HaShem’s word is the foundation everything else is built on.

4. Living:

“In short, he lives according to my laws and observes my rulings, so as to act faithfully. Such a person is righteous, and he will certainly live,” says Adonai Elohim” (Ezekiel 18:9)

Our strive is to be righteous (Isaiah 33:15-16, Ezekiel 18:5-9, Psalm 106:3, Proverbs 2:5-20), and in doing so, a righteous life honors HaShem. Remember, a righteous person tries to bring holiness into everything they do by doing it as an act that praises YHVH, and honors everything YHVH has done. For such a person the whole of their life becomes an act of worship (5). We should be living in such a way that without saying anything, by how we live, people know we are His.

5. Mitzvah/Good Deeds:

“Also to you, Adonai, belongs grace; for you reward all as their deeds deserve” (Psalm 62:13)

Mitzvah can mean either HaShem’s commandments or performing good deeds. Here are a few verses that are speaking of performing good deeds (Isaiah 59:18, Jonah 3:10, Daniel 4:24). Although; we may see performing these charitable acts as a subcomponent to living for HaShem, it deserves a singular mention. Adonai monitors the activities of humans; he rewards individuals for good deeds and punishes evil (6) . Remember, one of the reasons Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed was because of it’s lack of charity (Ezekiel 16:49-50). HaShem constantly tells us to take care of the unfortunate (Deuteronomy 27:19, Isaiah 1:17, Zechariah 7:10).

It’s a busy life worshiping HaShem; with praying several times a day, reading scripture (at least) daily, maybe volunteering our time at a shelter or another charity, and doing all these while keeping His song in our heart. On top of all this, we are to try and lead a righteous life. The good news is, if we sing His songs, pray, study and perform mitzvoth, the righteous living will follow. HaShem deserves it all. What a sweet blessing in itself to be able to do the things that He asks of us.

References:

(1) By Jonathan L. Friedmann (July 2008) Music of the Psalms, Music in the Holy Temple

(2) Merriam-Webster, “Rote” An Encyclopedia Britannica Company

(3) By Dovid Zaklikowski, What Is Jewish Prayer? Chabad.org

(4) By Rabbi Harold Kushner, Torah Study as Worship, My Jewish Learning

(5) Jewish faith and God, (Sept 14, 2009) Jewish beliefs, The BBC

(6) Judaism (April 30, 2010) Lewis Historical Society

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