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.