Torah - A Form of Worship?
Updated: Apr 3
In yesterday’s Torah Bites, we discussed how G-d fashioned the world and mankind through his Word, his Memra, the authoritative creative force of his essence. (If you missed that Bite, you can find it here: https://www.ourancientpaths.org/post/genesis-and-the-word) We also showed how it was understood that this Memra was at once apart yet part of the Creator, and how when John the Apostle wrote his gospel, he was fully aware of the acceptance by Jewish sages of an infinite G-d who was able to penetrate and become part of the finite world through the Memra or the Word in the flesh and blood Messiah we call Yeshua.
Today I would like to show how reading and studying the Torah is actually the highest form of worship that we can perform. 2 Timothy 3:16 says: “All Scripture is G-d-breathed and is valuable for teaching the truth, convicting of sin, correcting faults, and training in right living.” The verse before that says that the Holy Scriptures give us wisdom.
When we go back to the Targums, the Aramaic version of the Scriptures, we find that G-d’s Word, his creative force, is also referred to as “Wisdom.” In Proverbs 8:23-35 (The Complete Jewish Bible), Wisdom speaks and says:
I was appointed before the world, before the start, before the earth’s beginnings. When I was brought forth, there were no ocean depths, no springs brimming with water. I was brought forth before the hills, before the mountains had settled in place; he had not yet made the earth, the fields, or even the earth’s first grains of dust. When he established the heavens, I was there. When he drew the horizon’s circle on the deep, when he set the skies above in place, when the fountains of the deep poured forth, when he prescribed boundaries for the sea, so that its water would not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the earth, I was with him as someone he could trust. For me, every day was pure delight, as I played in his presence all the time,. playing everywhere on his earth, and delighting to be with humankind.
Therefore, children, listen to me: happy are those who keep my ways. Hear instruction, and grow wise; do not refuse it. How happy the person who listens to me, who watches daily at my gates and waits outside my doors. For he who finds me finds life and obtains the favor of Adonai.
Here Solomon personifies Wisdom as having existed before the world and was present at the creation of the world. He says that life is in Wisdom (or the Word). It is through his Word that we come to know G-d. It is through his Word that learn how to be in relationship with G-d. When we pray, we speak to G-d, but when we study Torah, we become quiet and allow G-d to speak to us.
Jewish perception has always been that what makes us unique among creation are our minds and our consciences. These are dimensions that we share with Elohim. When we study the Scriptures, according to Jewish thought, we enter into the highest form of worship. In Acts 2:42, the first disciples “continued faithfully in the teaching of the emissaries, in fellowship, in breaking bread and in the prayers.” Their continuing study of the Scripture was the first of the four priorities.
If Yeshua is the Word of G-d, then what better way to get to know him than through the Scriptures that are the very Word of G-d? What better way to worship him than to hear his voice as he speaks through Torah, instructing us, comforting us, equipping us for the work he has for us?
Prayer and worship through music are aspects of our interaction with the Father, but it is only in studying Scripture that we become quiet enough to listen to his voice and his instruction. That is relationship.
That is worship.