Monthly Archives: July 2019

Let Us Worship – Part 5

Our Worship Is Rewarded By His Promises

This is the final post on a study of worship from Psalm 145. Verses 1-3 focused on our worship being evidenced by our attitude. Verses 4-7 indicating our worship is expressed by our words and actions. From verses 8-13, we see how our worship is defined by our allegiance. This section of Psalm 145, verses 14-20, tells us of the promises of worship.

There are seven promises listed in Psalm 145: 14-20.

The Lord upholds all who fall, and raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look expectantly to You, and You give them their food in due season.16 You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all His ways, gracious in all His works. The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them. The Lord preserves all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy.

– Psalm 145:14-20

Worship is rewarded by these great promises of God, but I must follow the pattern set by King David with my attitude, words, actions and allegiance set on Him.

            The promise of verse 14 is one of Restoration. Once one is humble before Him, the LORD “upholds” those who have fallen. He raises up those who are bowed down. If you need restoration in your life, you must worship Him.

From verse 15 we see a promise of Provision. He gives us what we need in His perfect timing. It is trusting Him and seeing provision not as what you want, but what he is providing you. If you are in need of His provision, you must worship Him.

            Satisfaction is the promise from verse 16. This might be one of the greatest desires of the many church attenders. Our churches are awash with heaps of dissatisfied and discontented people. Whether it’s their job, marriage, finances, physical physic or another area of life, many people walk around in a state of dissatisfaction. Worship helps realign one’s thinking.

When your are concentrating on worship, being 100 percent focused on Him, you will find yourself being satisfied with things in a much different way than you had ever imagined. If you want to be satisfied, you must worship Him.

            Verse 17 centers on His Graciousness & Righteousness. It is another way of saying forgiveness. We need His forgiveness, not just as a one-time event when we realize our need of a savior but an on-going need of forgiveness when we chose sin over His best for us. If you need His forgiveness, you must worship.

            His Presence is the promise of verse 18. When we become focused on Him, our agenda fades into the back ground. We begin to experience Him in a deeper way. Taking our energy off of our own hurts, feelings and plans, and learning to worship Him, we will become more aware of His working in our life. We will sense Him in a more profound way. If you need God’s presence in your life, you must worship Him.

            The second part of verse 19 indicates His promise of Deliverance. Much like the promise of Satisfaction from verse 16, here David writes this promise is to those who “fear Him.” He will “Hear their cry and save them.” Worship puts us in the proper position for Him to work in our life. We move out from the idea of our thinking and turn to Him, thrusting ourselves onto His mercy and we receive his deliverance. We must seek deliverance or rescue from Him and not become locked into the counsel of human intellect. If you need rescue, you must worship.

            Finally we come to the promise of Justice. Verse 20 indicates the wicked will not prevail. The injustice you have experienced has not gone unnoticed by Him. There is a coming day of judgement; a day when He will right all the wrongs and bring real justice to the world. The challenge for us is to allow Him to fight our battles. Worship helps us better accomplish the task as when we are in worship, centered on Him, the injustices we’ve experienced are no longer relevant. Oh they still exist and they still affect us. But now, we are no longer out for vengeance. Worship has turned the tables and God will deal with the injustices we’ve faced. If you need justice in your life, you must worship.

I know this seems overly simple, just worship Him for restoration, provision, satisfaction, grace, presence, deliverance and justice. But worship, at its’ core, is trust. To trust Him with everything we have; to humbly bow before Him and being in awe of His glorious majesty. Without demands, with requests, without our agenda, we just come before Him because He is God. When we worship, these promises and many more become ours.

This isn’t easy, nor is it simple. Sin has so ingrained itself into our beings it is hard to set all of ourselves aside and concentrate on Him. We often come to God with a list of things we want Him to do. We tell Him of all our desires and plans. We ask Him to bless our efforts and present our works to Him as somehow validating our worship. We come to Him trying to prove how good we are and therefore present ourselves as worthy vessels, implying He should be happy we’ve come to worship Him. He got a good deal with us coming to Him. No, worship my friend, is none of that. Worship 100 percent God, zero percent us.  

But when we do come to Him with this same understanding of David’s here in Psalm 145, His promises ring true for us. He does and He will, restore, provide, satisfy, and deliver us. We will recognize His mercy and presence in a way beyond anything we’ve previously experienced.

Our worship is rewarded by His promises.

David’s Summary Statement

We reach the end of Psalm 145 with this verse;

My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD, And all flesh shall bless His holy name Forever and ever.

– Psalm 145:21

David concludes this psalm with a simple, but profound pronouncement. It is a two-fold statement where he first repeats his declaration of commitment to praise the LORD. He then follows his commitment by mentioning how everyone – “all flesh” shall praise God eternally. He may be making a prophetic statement, at some point in the future everyone will worship. Or, he might be trying to communicate how everyone should be praising Him forever. His supremacy is above everyone and everything else, it is only logical for everyone to worship God as David is demonstrating.

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Psalm 145 is not the only place in Scripture where worship is taught. There all many other examples of worship in the Bible. Nor do I think this is an exhaustive study into Psalm 145. I make no claims to being a worship expert or having complete understanding of the concept. But this I know, worship is considerably more than a singing a few songs on Sunday morning. It is more than an event and it can occur anywhere.

            I know worship is important; more important than most church attenders demonstrate. It is so important, Jesus told the Samaritan woman, “for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” God is seeking those people who understand worship. As believers, it should be our goal to better understand the idea of worship. I want to be one of those people.

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But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. – John 4:23

Let Us Worship – Part 4

Our Worship Is Defined By Our Allegiance

Like children nationwide, when I was growing up, we began each day of school by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Even today, many school children start their classroom activities with the pledge. It is used in graduations, military services or other patriotic events. It states one’s allegiance or loyalty to the United States.  

Beginning in verse 8, David is declaring his allegiance to an even greater power. 

The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy. The Lord is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works. – Psalm 145:8-9

Before David states his specific declaration of loyalty, he makes it known the character of this God he is serving. Using the familiar and often repeated description of God, he describes God as being gracious, merciful, and compassionate. He tells of God’s goodness to all and how His character is over all His creation. David knows God’s character, therefore, he is confident he can trust Him.

            If you are going to worship God, then it makes sense to know as much as you can about Him. You need to know whom you are in allegiance to! The only way you can know Him is to be in His Word.

            There is modern temptation to skip over this idea of knowing God through His Word and concentrate on almost anything else. Whether it’s His creation, serving others or just being a nicer person, there are a flood of perceived short-cuts about knowing God which go around or ignore His Word.

            “I don’t need to spend all that time reading the Bible as I experience God when I am walk in the woods.” Or, “I feel God’s presence when I serve at the food pantry” are among the cacophony of ideas expressed in our church culture about knowing God. While I agree, I too can enjoy God with time in His creation, it is only through the lens of His Word I can properly know Him. Without His Word, I end up worshiping the creature (His creation) and not the Creator. Without my service to others being connected to Him, my volunteer activities become about me. I become the one to be looked up to and deserving of worship as “look how diligent I am in serving.”

            To worship Him, you need to strive to know Him. To know Him, you MUST be in His Word. This is why David quotes the Exodus 34 passage of God being gracious, compassionate, and merciful. He is full of forgiveness and grace. You need to know the One with which you are in allegiance.

Moving through the rest of this section, notice how David, the King, is speaking of the majesty of another Kingdom, one greater than his own. It is a Kingdom which is everlasting and endures forever.

All Your works shall praise You, O Lord, And Your saints shall bless You. They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom, And talk of Your power, To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts, And the glorious majesty of His kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And Your dominion endures throughout all [f]generations.

– Psalm 145:10-13

David uses the words “you” or “yours” no less than eight times in these few verses. He refers to this being God’s Kingdom four times. David is making his loyalties known. His allegiance is to God’s Kingdom. It comes above all else as God’s Kingdom is the one he wants people to talk about. Notice how David does not ask God for anything, he is just praising God. In this psalm, David is only speaking of His “glorious majesty” and “everlasting Kingdom.”         

            But how often do we speak like this? Do we declare our allegiance to God by acknowledging His Kingdom or are we too consumed with our own little world?One major flaw in modern worship songs is how we turn around the object of the song to us. Our feelings, our hurts and our position in Christ become the main theme of many songs we call “worship songs.” These are all valid things to sing about, but they aren’t worship. Worship is 100 percent God and zero percent us!

            You can sing songs describing how God rescued you or got you through a storm in life. You can praise Him for everything He has done for you. Expressing gratitude is a marvelous and necessary part of the Christian life. But if all you do is talk about yourself, your needs and your hurts, you haven’t worshiped.

Abraham was planning on sacrificing his son, the son of promise when they went off to “worship.” He doesn’t seem to be worried about how God was going to work this out for him. The magoi were searching for the new-born King and journeyed a great distance, just to give Him gifts. The Scripture does not record if they asked Him (or His parents) for anything. David is clear, he knows God’s Kingdom is an everlasting and glorious Kingdom. And it isn’t his. He, as the King, is expressing His allegiance to God’s Kingdom.

Our worship is defined by our allegiance.

Let Us Worship – Part 3

This is part 3 of a series of posts about worship. The first post as a general introduction about Worship and the second covers the first 3 verses of Psalm 145. In this post, we’re examining verses 4 through 7 of Psalm 145.

Our Worship Is Expressed By Our Words & Actions

While worship begins within one’s mind, it becomes expressed by what is said and to a degree what actions one engages. Notice all the speaking verbs in verses 4 through 7 of Psalm 145.

One generation shall praise Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts. I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, And on Your wondrous works. Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts, And I will declare Your greatness. They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness, And shall sing of Your righteous.

– Psalm 145:4-7 NKJV

“Praise,” “declare” (twice), “speak” and “sing” are all used to indicate how worship is to be expressed. Even the word “meditate” in verse 5, is often translated as “speak.” It conveys the idea of speaking on something you’ve been thinking over. This isn’t an off-the-cuff expression but something said after giving it some thought.

            The term in verse 7, “utter” or in some versions, “pour forth” means to “bubble up.” Here David describes praise as just bubbling up or coming to the surface of someone. It is a natural expression of worship. This is how we are to express worship. It is vocal and it is a natural occurrence.

            Most of us have to work at worship. We’ve been so used to worship only being a church thing, we rarely make worship a natural part of our conversation. We don’t think (meditate) on worship which allows us to speak about it with meaningful insight. We walk into our Sunday gatherings without much thought and expect to sing some words on a screen, written by someone we don’t know – and that’s only if we like the music.

            David is telling us worship must be something we think about. Something we express and something which bubbles up from us. When we’ve made worship a priority as the first three verses of this Psalm indicate, the words and actions of verses 4 through 7 become a habitual part of our character.

            In the 2011 movie, Iron Lady, Margret Thatcher tells her doctor, “Watch your thoughts, for they will become actions. Watch your actions, for they’ll become your habits. Watch your habits for they will forge your character. Watch your character, for it will make your destiny.” I think King David would agree. To be a person of worship – and remember the Father is seeking such to worship Him – it begins with your thoughts and words.

Let Us Worship – Part 2

Psalm 145

King David had his faults. He was not a perfect man as there were plenty of things he did wrong. But understanding worship is not one of those things. David knew how to worship. The fact an imperfect man understands worship should be encouraging to all of us as Biblical worship does not require perfection from the worshipers.

This Psalm might be the go-to place within Scripture to heighten our understanding of worship. Interestingly, the word “worship” does not appear within its’ 21 verses, but it is treasure for us about understanding worship. This simple Psalm can be broken down into four sections, each identifying a specific characteristic of worship.

Our Worship Is Evidenced By Our Attitude

David begins by displaying his attitude. Remember, this is the King of Israel, the most powerful person of ancient Israel. No doubt being told on a daily basis how great he is by those serving him, it would be easy to assume a magnified sense of self-worth. Yet here is the King, understanding his position relative to God’s.

I will extol You, my God, O King; And I will bless Your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless You, And I will praise Your name forever and ever.  Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; And His greatness is unsearchable. – Psalm 145:1-3 (NKJV)

There are a number of attitudes David displays in these verses but the first one is his Humility. The King is referring to God as his King. Rather than listing out his accomplishments or service to God, he begins by centering his worship on God alone. He is completely submitted to God and humble before Him.

I am afraid part of the carnage in the Worship Wars over music styles the past few decades has been the concept of worship being one’s preferred style of music. We’ve even developed a specific genre of music labeled “Praise and Worship” as if the style of music defines worship. Worship has moved into an entertainment realm where how the music makes me feel is of highest importance.

David expresses nothing about himself in these verses. He is completely humble before God. I am convinced humility must be the main ingredient in worship. It is the basic flour upon which the bread of worship is created.

Humility is also evidenced by the last phrase of verse 3. “His greatness is unsearchable” is a hard phrase to translate from Hebrew into English. The word basically means, “beyond my ability to understand.” David’s claim is God’s greatness is beyond his limited knowledge. In spite of David’s inability to fully understand God, he still trusts Him and acknowledged the LORD is worthy of praise.

If King David didn’t have God all figured out, how can we conclude we do? How many times have you gone to Him with a list or suggestions about how He should run things? Or get upset because He didn’t take your advice and things didn’t work out as you wished. Humility trusts Him, even when you don’t understand.

There is another attitude displayed by David in these verses. Notice his use of the words “I will” and “everyday.” Determination or Persistence are on display as David is so committed to worship he makes the declaration, “I will” four times in these few verses. David will not be knocked off course as he is determined or committed to praising God. Further, he is not limiting his time with God to just a Sabbath Day or once-a-week event. This is something we will engage in “every day.”

This is harder to do than most of us think on first consideration of the idea. Making Him our first priority every day is not a simple task. Try this little experiment; make your first conscience thought in the morning worship. Before your feet hit the floor and before your mind begins to mull over all the tasks you plan on accomplishing, take just a few seconds and worship Him. You made it through another night – worship Him. Make it the FIRST thing you think about. You will find out after just a few days how hard this is to do. We are so wired to think of us first and what we need to do and where we need to go. Use David’s determination and persistence and say “I will” worship you.

Our worship is evidenced by our humility.

Let Us Worship

Worship is a term thrown around within our evangelical world but the word’s exact meaning can be somewhat vague and hard to nail down. The entire service might be designated as worship as in the question, “Where do you worship?” Worship may be considered something only done at a building, often being referred to as a “house of worship.” But for many people, the word worship is an event. A point in time of our church services featuring music. This can be most any type of music. However, the music will vary between each body of believers as to what music is acceptable and considered worship and what is not. The idea of worship is forced into a narrow funnel of being music which a group of people like. This limited understanding of worship, is unfortunate. I maintain, most church attenders have little understanding of worship and therefore rarely experience it as it is described within Scripture. 

In our English Bibles, the first time the word “worship” occurs is in Genesis 22. This is where God has commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac. He is told to take him to the area of Moriah and “offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you” (Genesis 22:2b ESV).

Abraham, Isaac and his two servants launch their journey the next morning. One their third day of travel, Abraham sees the place a distance way. He tells his servants to wait there with the donkeys while he “and the boy will go over there and worship and will come back again to you” (Genesis 22:5).

When we study this passage we most often focus on the last phrase as it displays Abraham’s confidence in God’s plan. Even with sacrificing his son, Abraham fully trusted God’s promise of his descendants coming through Isaac. But I am interested in his comment to the servants. “(we) will go over there and worship.” Music isn’t mentioned in this passage and this event doesn’t happen in a church. Yet worship was said to occur.

The first appearance of the word “worship” in the New Testament is found in the opening pages of Matthew. Starting in verse 1 of Chapter 2, the wise men or magoi, from the East enter Jerusalem. They consider the city to be their final destination on their quest to find a new born Jewish king. They state, “Where is He who has been born ‘King of the Jews’ for we have seen His star in the east and have come to worship Him” Matthew 2:2 NKJV).

Upon the realization the child’s birth was prophesied to occur in the small town south of the city, they made their way to Bethlehem. Guided once again by the star they are directed to the exact house of Joseph, Mary and Jesus. No longer an infant, He is referred to as a child or what we might describe as a toddler. The wise men, upon entering the house, “fell down and worshiped Him.” Once again, there is no indication of music being part of their activities.

These are just two Biblical examples of worship where the presence of music is not indicated. But there are other times when music is mentioned. The dedication of Solomon’s temple in 2 Chronicles 5 and the account of Paul and Silas in Acts 16 as they were confined within the Philippian prison come to mind.

Worship is so important it is the topic of a conversation Jesus had with the Samaritan woman. The story is found in John 4 where they speak of where one is to worship. She says the Samaritan leaders teach they were to worship on Mount Gerizim, yet Jewish leaders indicated they were to worship in Jerusalem. The response of Jesus is quite telling as He said,

But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. – John 4:23

This passage reveals how vital worship is for one to have relationship with God. Jesus said the Father is seeking such people to worship Him, those who worship Him in spirit and in truth. I am not completely sure what worship is as defined by Jesus but I maintain worship is more just a segment of our Sunday services lasting 20 minutes as we stand and sing a few songs.            

If we look to the Scriptures for some guidance I think we can begin to clear away the clutter of buildings, stages and music tastes. The Psalms are an excellent place to invest some time into understanding more about worship. While there are many Psalms you can study on this subject, I have found Psalm 145 to be an excellent source for worship.

Over the next few days, I will be examining Psalm 145 and exploring the lessons taught by King David about worship.