Making my way through Psalms 96-100 today.
This powerful picture of worship resounds with the attributes of a holy, awesome God and our response to Him and His character. Pure praise, right?
Hold on, there. In with all the exhortations to praise, mingled in with the commands to worship, there are some other “necessities” that actually make worship what it was always intended to be.
- Worship must include evangelism. Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth! Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! (Psalm 96:1-3). After all, didn’t Jesus say that the Father is looking for people from every tribe, nationality, tongue, class, and geography to worship Him in spirit and in truth? By the way, He shared that principle in the context of a conversation with a woman who was far from God: evangelism – that goes along with worship. Are we so enamored of “worship” and all that has come to entail today that we have forgotten the Father’s heart for those who are not yet worshipers?
- Worship must include stewardship. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts! (Psalm 96:8) Real worship costs something. It’s impossible to say we’re worshiping God with our whole hearts while our treasure tells the real story.
- Worship must include holiness. Not holier-than-thou-iness. Not rigid, legalistic Pharisaism. Not a pseudo-elitism that separates “us” from “them.” But real holiness of character in our everyday life. O you who love the LORD, hate evil! He preserves the lives of his saints; he delivers them from the hand of the wicked. Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart. (Psalm 97:10-11)
- Worship must include seeking and expecting to hear from God – and obeying when He speaks. Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel also was among those who called upon his name. They called to the LORD, and he answered them. In the pillar of the cloud he spoke to them; they kept his testimonies and the statute that he gave them. O LORD our God, you answered them; you were a forgiving God to them, but an avenger of their wrongdoings. Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the LORD our God is holy! (Psalm 99:6-9). If we claim to be seeking God’s heart in worship, why don’t we expect Him to speak to us? And if He is actually going to communicate His heart and His plans and His purposes, why aren’t we willing to obey Him fully?
- Worship must include joyful service. The “classic” passage often used to describe worship is this: Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! (Psalm 100:1-2). How many times have we heard – or said – something like, “I just can’t give up my worship experience to work with the children/students/hospitality/whatever”? Guess what? You already gave it up. And you replaced the only true Person worthy of your worship with someone far inferior. Ouch!
My thoughts. As usual, the customary disclaimer applies. Oh, and your mileage may vary…