This series explores the different “shades” of praise and worship that we see throughout the Bible. Where in English we might only see the word translated as “praise” – there are several different meanings that can apply.
Today’s worship word is BARAK – Pronounced baw-rak’ (1288)
It literally means to kneel or bow as an act of blessing or adoration. We see this literal word all throughout Scripture and in the context of praise it means to bow down in worship as an act of adoration.
But we also see it to mean bless in the same way that God “blessed” Adam and Eve, encouraging them to be fruitful and multiply.
In the praise sense, to kneel and to bow is a blessing to God. We see this in Genesis 14 when Abraham’s servant finds Rebekah (to be Isaac’s wife). He bows down and worships the Lord. We also see the Israelites bowing down to idols and other Gods all throughout their history.
Using some word pictures to paint how this looks as we enter into praise, we might find ourselves thinking of a person who takes a knee or bows when someone of great importance enters the room. As an outward sign of an inward respect and reverence one would kneel and make themselves “lower” than the person receiving the reverence.
We can also think of it as humbling ourselves to the lowest stature that we can achieve. Bowing face down to the ground in a prostrate position as an act of worship is very humbling.
In some instances we actually see the word “bless” transliterated from Barak. For example:
Psalm 103 uses the phrase “Bless the Lord, oh my soul and all that is within me, bless His holy name.” That’s transliterated in a very literal sense, but what we can pull out of this “flavor” of praise is that it’s not just words. Blessing the Lord with all that is within us can be about humbling ourselves and focusing on God. We can even BOW down as an act of “blessing the Lord.”
In other instances we can see,the essence of Barak translated into the concepts of bowing down like in Psalm 95:6. It says, “O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker.” We can literally see the physical act of bowing down in the Psalmist’s song here.
Ultimately, in worship, as we kneel and bow before God we are outwardly acknowledging the greatness of God with a physical action. As worshipers who are also worship leaders, it’s important to LEAD in this act of worship as well.
Do you remember the last time you bowed before God in worship? Was it comfortable? Are you ok with humbling yourself before God during your times of personal and even corporate worship?
Russ Hutto is the Associate Director of Worship & Media at St. Simons Community Church where he mentors, oversees and helps lead Family and Student worship environments. He is also the content curator and editor here at The Worship Community.