Today’s reading: Psalms 96-102.
“Worship is the believer’s response of all that they are – mind, emotions, will, body – to what God is and says and does.” Warren Wiersbe
Psalm 96 was written and sung when David brought the ark of the covenant into Jerusalem. Tradition says that it was sung again when Israel dedicated the new temple after returning from exile in Babylon. It’s easy to imagine that it will be raised in praise to God when Jesus returns to reign on earth. It is a song of worship, and teaches us how to worship.
Ascribe to the LORD, O families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts. Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth. Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns.” Psalm 96:7-10
Worship involves singing. “Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth.” We sing because it releases our emotions to worship. Our song of worship should be new because we have been made anew in Christ and because God’s mercies are new every day.
Worship includes praising God. “For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.” “Ascribe to the LORD, O families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name.” When we praise God we magnify who he is much more than anything he has done or will do. Praise lifts up his nature and character.
Worship means acknowledging he is the creator. “For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens.” It may seem out of place, but God’s work as creator is foundational. Everything else in our relationship with him flows out of accepting his role as maker of heaven and earth. “Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” (Psalm 100:3)
Worship is proclaiming his salvation and telling others of God’s glory. “Proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all people.” Our worship is incomplete if it remains captive in the sanctuary. It must reach the ears of the lost. Worship fuels evangelism, but evangelism is also an essential part of our worship.
Worship means giving an offering to God. “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his court.” The type of offering described by the Psalmist is a thank offering. We can’t truly celebrate the worth of our savior and creator without being moved to give back to him. If we don’t feel a need to give, I say we don’t give much worth to God.
Worship causes us to tremble before God’s holiness. “Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth.” The Psalmist describes an involuntary reaction that rises out of our recognition of our own sinfulness and God’s pure righteousness. If we fail to tremble, either we don’t realize our own guilt, or we have not come into the presence of the holy God.
Worship means celebrating his return. A day is coming when all the world will be united in worship. On the day when Christ returns and God judges the earth, all believers will worship as one, and creation will join in worship. “Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy; they will sing before the LORD, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth.”
The wonders of his Being, to inspire them with awe. The wonders of his creation, to fill them with amazement. The wonders of his judgments, to restrain them with fear. The wonders of his grace, to allure them with love. W. Jackson.
Image by Cash Luna on Flickr, CC by-nc-sa 2.0