Christians understand the need to read the Bible and to spend time in prayer, but many believers dont understand the importance of worship. We can worship the Lord while were singing, while were praying, or while were meditating on God. But too often we sing, pray, and meditate without spending time really worshipping the Lord.
Years ago when many churches stopped using hymnbooks and went to overhead projectors, pastors and worship leaders across the nation were saying "The problem is people are staring at the hymnbooks instead of worshipping God." Now today as those churches are using overhead projectors or slide projectors, pastors and worship leaders across the nation are probably saying, "The problem is people are staring at the screen instead of worshipping the Lord"!
What does it mean to worship the Lord? Its that time when we allow our spirit to focus entirely on God and his goodness, our heart lifts up in praise to the Almighty, and our soul is flooded with the feelings of the Lords presence. We are not thinking about ourselves or anyone around us. Our entire concentration is on the Lord.
Psalm 100 teaches us about worship.
Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands!
Who is to worship God? This verse tells us "all you lands." God desires that every believer in every nation spends time worshipping him. That means everyone no exceptions. What happens when we worship him is that our spirit is being mysteriously fed as we commune with God. We are being carried above our daily problems, and the worries and concerns of our everyday life seem to dim in comparison with our spiritual perception of the Lords majesty and power. It almost seems like a contradiction as we are blessing the Lord, we are being blessed by the Lord. As you read through the Bible you will be amazed at how all of Gods people spent time praising Him. If Abraham, David, Habbakuk, Peter, and Paul felt it necessary to spend so much time worshipping God, dont you think we should spend some time at it too?
We might ask, what is the proper way to worship. This verse tells us to "make a joyful shout" so obviously the correct way is to be loud and boisterous. But then Psalm 46:10 tells us, "Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth." So maybe we should be quiet. Psalm 95:6 says, "O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker." Well, we may not know if were supposed to be loud or quiet, but at least we know were supposed to worship the Lord bowing down. But Jethro informs Moses in Exodus 18:19, "Listen now to my voice; I will give you counsel, and God will be with you: Stand before God for the people, so that you may bring the difficulties to God." So maybe were supposed to stand. 1 Timothy 2:8 tells us, "I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer." I guess we have to lift up our hands to the Lord in order to praise him. Genesis 17:3 informs us, "And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him." Maybe the correct worship position is with our face to the ground. But then again Psalm 47:1 says, "Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph!" So I guess we have to clap our hands.
Apparently, there is no one way to worship God. Do it when youre standing, when youre kneeling, when youre lying on your face before the Lord. Praise him with a shout, with quietness, with clapping, with lifting up of hands. In all things, in all ways, at all times worship the Lord.
Serve the LORD with gladness; come before His presence with singing.
When are we to worship God? The first words of this verse say, "Serve the Lord." In our daily walk, when we are at work, at home, or at leisure, we are to serve Him. In all moments and all activities of our day. Also notice that throughout the day we are to serve the Lord with gladness. Serving God is not a drudgery. It is not a long list of all the fun things that we cant do. As we learn to serve God in everything throughout every day, we discover true joy and happiness.
We are to worship the Lord when we come before his presence. When we spend time in prayer, lets not make the mistake of taking all the time to ask for things from God. We need to spend time praising and magnifying God in our hearts.
We can also worship the Lord with singing. As we lift up our voice in song to God, we need to allow our heart to worship the Lord. Sometimes all we do is sing. Maybe intellectually we are thinking about the words. Perhaps we are musically enjoying the blend of the instruments and voices. Maybe were caught up in the rhythm and excitement of the music, or the quiet beauty of the song. But we are not worshipping God. We need to do more than just sing, than just enjoy the music, than just be moved emotionally. We need to allow Gods Spirit to fill us with his presence as we focus on the goodness of the Lord. We need to worship our Creator.
Know that the LORD, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Why we worship him. Part I because of what he has done for us. This verse starts with the word "know." We worship him because we know these things. God has revealed these truths to us.
The word Lord in the Hebrew is Yahweh. Yahweh was the name by which God revealed himself to Israel as the covenant -keeper. We know that God keeps his promises to us. He will not break his word.
He is God. This Hebrew word is Elohim. This is the word used for the creator, the ruler of the universe. God rules over all things. We worship him because we know that no matter what may happen to us, God is in control of everything.
He made us and is continuing to form us. We worship him because we know we are in good hands. We know that he knows exactly whats best for us. He is making us into what he wants us to be.
This little phrase "and not we ourselves" reminds us that we didnt save ourselves, but he provided the way. He provided the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Nothing we did made us deserving of his grace. It was his free gift to us.
We are his people. We have all the benefits of being part of Gods family. We know we are under his watchful care. If anything comes against us, we can know that we are not on our own, but we are his people. God will take good care of us.
God will meet all our needs as a shepherd takes care of his sheep. We dont have to worry about the future, because the one who holds the future is taking care of us.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
How we are to worship him? It seems the psalmist is almost giving us progressive stages of our worship of the Lord.
We start by entering his gates the beginning of entering into his presence. We are outside going through the gate. I think of this as we are leaving the cares of this life behind and begin to enter into his presence with worship in our heart.
As we begin entering into communion with the Lord, we are overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude. We enter his presence with thanksgiving. As we praise him in our heart, we think of all the good things God has done for us. This causes us to rejoice in thanks to him.
As our heart is filled with gratitude to the Lord, we find ourselves entering into his courts, the holy of holies of Gods presence. We begin to sense his power and majesty surrounding us. We have entered into that time of close communion with our Lord, our Savior, our Healer, our Friend.
As we sense that we are in the court of the throne room of his presence, it then that our heart is filled with praise to our God. He has done so much for us, we cant help but praise him.
After spending time alone with God, we are struck with our utter unworthiness. His light shines on the dark areas of our life, and we confess them to him as we sense his holy presence. We are so thankful for all he has done for us. We realize how often we fail him, but we are so filled with his awesome presence that we have this strong desire to turn over every dark area of our life to the one who loves us so much.
Finally, we begin to bless God. We cannot hold back all that we are feeling toward God our gratitude, our praise. We become like David who wrote in Psalm 103:1, "Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name." We bless the Lord with all that is within us. We praise him with every fiber of our being.
For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.
Why we worship him. Part II because of who he is. We worship the Lord because of all he is. This verse gives us three attributes of his character that should cause our heart to leap with praise to our Master.
The first is the Lords goodness. He does what is the very best for us, for our family, and even for all believers. His goodness brings justice to the wicked, but it extends his hand of mercy to those who will receive it.
The next thing that should cause us to praise the Lord is his mercy. He reaches down to us in grace. We deserve punishment but we receive his blessing. His mercy is not given to us for only a short season, but it is everlasting. It is extended to us for eternity, and to our descendants for all generations.
The final thing the psalmist mentions is Gods truth. We can depend on the truth of who he is, the reliability of his written word, and the surety of his promises to us. His truth never changes. His standards of holiness are constant. In fact, it endures to all generations.
We have taken a look at worship and examined it closely. We found out what worship is, we looked at who is to worship God, we examined when we should worship him, we discovered how we are to worship God, and why we are to worship him. There is only one more thing to do. Let us all go before the Lord and spend time worshipping him.
This Study of Psalm 100 © 1997 by David
Humpal. All rights reserved.