Daniel's friends had the faith of Abraham.
Worship in Genesis: Two Classes of Worshipers
" 'Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.' And he was afraid and said, 'How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!' " (Genesis 28:16-17, NKJV).
The Dictionary defines worship as an act of religious devotion usually directed to one or more deities. The word is derived from the Old English worthscipe, meaning worthiness or worth-ship — to give, at its simplest, worth to something. As we can see, the word has changed meanings. In our understanding, God gives value to us, and we acknowledge His. Based on this reality, someone defined worship thus: "The absolute acknowledgment of all that lies beyond us—the glory that fills heaven and earth. It is the response that conscious beings make to their Creator, to the Eternal Reality from which they came forth, to God; however, they may think of Him or recognize Him. And, whether He be realized through religion, through nature, through history, through science, art, or human life and character."
But, God is more than Creator. He is redeemer. So, in true Christian Worship there is an acknowledgement of God as redeemer. Thus, there is a heartfelt appreciation for what He is and what He has done, is doing and will do. True worship entails gratitude for creation and redemption.
Now, the word we translate from the Hebrew as worship means to bow down. In the Hebrew culture, you typically bowed down to your superiors. Servants or slaves bowed down to their masters and subjects to their king. There is an acknowledgment of submission. Now, just because we submit to God, it does not mean there cannot be friendship. Jesus called His disciples friends (John 15: 15). In worshipping God, we willingly submit to One Who gave His life to save those who considered Him an enemy (Romans 5:10). The idea was to show them that God is not an enemy but a Loving Master. A Master that would do anything - even give His life - for His servant's well being. When we truly worship God, we are serving friends.
Can we reconcile worship with the Hebrew word "to bow down"? How about through submission, we acknowledge not only God's superiority but His love for us. Through submission, we demonstrate our gratitude or heartfelt appreciation for what He has done for us. Through submission, we show gratitude for how much worth He has put on us.
No one will deny that Abraham was a true worshiper. He lived by faith and is called the father of the faithful. He believed (same word for faith) God's precious promises, and because of this was declared righteous. Did Abraham live in submission to the God he loved? Paul says in Hebrews 11,
Heb11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
Heb11:9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
Heb11:10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Heb11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,
Heb11:18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:
Heb11:19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.
"Faith comes through hearing and hearing through the Word of God" (Romans 10:17). Abraham heard God's word and believed it. Abraham did as God instructed; he submitted to God. Abraham did it because he trusted that God had Abraham's best interest at heart. Now, if Abraham was a true worshiper, and therefore an actual submitter, then we can argue that only those who have faith submit and are true worshippers.
We have, in contrast, those in Matthew 7:21 - 23 that did works but not out of faith (which is Sin – Romans 14:23). So, they were insubordinate, even rebellious. They were not submitted. They were not true worshippers. Yet, they were deceived in believing they were. Are we deceived also?