Praise and worship are words that are often used together to describe the music portion of a church service. However, each of these words has a different definition.

Praise can be defined as to commend, to express approval or admiration of, to magnify or to glorify. Praise is something we direct toward God or express to others about who God is and what He has done. Worship is more difficult to define because worship is a divine encounter with God. It involves giving to God our total self. We can worship without uttering a single sound because God’s spirit within us is contacting the Spirit in the Godhead.

When we praise we become more conscious of God’s presence. Worship is not only a response to His presence, but also recognition of His presence even when we feel very far from Him. Scripture gives examples of individuals who chose to worship God even when in their darkest hour. We will look at two of these.

Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22:1-19)

God tested Abraham by telling him to sacrifice Isaac, the promised son, as a burnt offering. Abraham was facing the greatest hour of trusting God, and he chose to call this trial a time of worship (v. 5). God was pleased with Abraham’s obedience and spared Isaac.

Job (Job 1:1-22)

Job was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. This angered Satan and he challenged God for the right to test Job. Within the course of one day Job lost everything that he had possessed. “At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said. . . ‘The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.’” (v. 20).

Here we see that the root idea of worship was to bow themselves to God regardless of their circumstances. Worship is born in the heart of God. Since the Holy Spirit initiates worship, we can worship in our darkest hour.

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