|Posted on October 29, 2013 at 9:10 PM|
Why we worship.
A. Scripture teaches: Worship is our response to God.
1. God commands us through the Prophets and the Psalmists to worship him.
"You shall worship the Lord your God, and I will bless your bread and your water; and I will take sickness away from among you." (Ex.23.25)
This worship is:
Awe, respect, reverence
Bowing down, kneeling = postures of worship
Sacrifice, offering in thanks to the Lord
Prayer - communion with him who is our creator.
Worship should be a believer’s first and foremost response to God. Speaking to Moses about His attributes, the Lord said He is “the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness” (Ex.34:6). How did Moses response to these wonderful truths about God? Did he immediately grab a tablet of stone and say, “let me write that down”? No. when God revealed Himself, “Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped” (34:8). Ezekiel responded in a similar way when he was confronted with a vision of God’s glory (Ezek.1:28).
Let’s look at psalms 100
We should worship Him because of who He is. He is our:
LORD (v. 1).
God (v. 3a).
Creator (v. 3b).
Owner (v. 3c).
Shepherd (v. 3d).
3 For the LORD is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
The LORD is to be worship because He is the great God (Heb., El, i.e., the Omnipotent One). He is a great King above all the idolatrous gods of the heathen. The deep places of the earth are in His hand in the sense that He owns them. The mountain peaks are His also because He formed them. He created the mighty oceans, and it was His hands that shaped the continents and the islands.
Psalm 145:3 . . . Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! His greatness is beyond discovery!
Because God is such a great God (v. 6). “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.”
He is not just such a great God, but v.7 “ He is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.”
That God is the Creator of everything is the first reason for the call to worship in verses 1–2. Second, He is our Shepherd v.7
Appreciation can be shown to many people, praise to others. Worship belongs to God only. Yet we cannot worship God until we have a proper sense of who He is. “Not until we grasp who the Lord is, are we inwardly moved to worship him,” writes John Stott. Verses 4–5 begin by teaching that he is the Creator of all things.
Second, He is our Shepherd v.7. The invitation to worship becomes more personal and intimate. We should worship and kneel before the LORD our Maker, because He is our God.
He is our God by creation and then by redemption. He is the Good Shepherd who gave His life for us. Now we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep who are led, guided, and protected by His nail-pierced hand.
Worship is the recognition of who God is, and of who we are in relation to him.
The better you know God, the more you will worship Him. The more you experience His grace in daily life, the more praise you will bring to Him. Worship is the response of man when he encounters either God or God’s actions. When we encounter the reality of God, true worship is the outcome.
Do you recall the encounter between Elijah and the prophets of Ball on Mt. Carmel? In front of the people of Israel, Elijah issued a challenge to the prophets of the false god Baal. “Get two bulls for us. Let them choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD. The god who answers by fire-- he is God” (1 Kings 18:23-24). The people agreed.
They did everything exactly as Elijah had said. Baal’s prophets prepared their sacrifice and called out to their god. From morning until evening they called out, but nothing happened. Finally, it was Elijah’s turn. As if to really prove the point he had his helpers pour large jars of water on his sacrifice. He then stepped up and prayed that the Lord would show the people that He was indeed God. And He did. The bull, the wood, the stones, the soil and even the water were all consumed by the fire.
What happened? “When all the people saw this they fell prostrate and cried,
‘The LORD — He is God! The LORD — He is God!’” (1 Kings 18:39). No one needed to tell them what to do or how to respond. Worship is the natural response when people encounter God or His actions.
Today, if you will hear His voice …
In the remaining verses we hear the voice of Jehovah Himself warning His people against an evil heart of unbelief.
There are several things to note.
1. The verses are applied to salvation through faith in Christ. In their Old Testament context they have to do with entering the Promised Land, and under normal circumstances we would have no warrant for applying them to anything else, except perhaps as an illustration of some spiritual truth. But here we have an inspired New Testament commentary on the psalm that tells us that the meaning of the psalm is not exhausted by the entry of the people into Canaan, or by their failing to enter, but is to be seen in the far more important matter of entering the promised rest of God, which is in heaven. Derek Kidner says that Hebrews “forbids us to confine [the psalm’s] thrust to Israel. The ‘Today’ of which it speaks is this very moment; the ‘you’ is none other than ourselves, and the promised ‘rest’ is not Canaan but salvation.”
Hebrews says, “If Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day” (4:8). This means that the psalm, which came later than the conquest, would not have been written; but it was written because the rest about which it speaks is more than the rest the people had after occupying Canaan and defeating its inhabitants. The writer of Hebrews continues, “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his” (4:9–10).
2. The warning is for those who have heard the gospel and who seem to have responded to it. Others should be warned too, of course. But the uniqueness of Hebrews is that it is written to those who have heard the gospel, have even seemed to respond to it by attending Christian worship services, but who have never actually surrendered to Jesus Christ and are in danger of falling away from Christ entirely. The author of Hebrews traces this to unbelief, just as the psalm traces the rebellion in the desert to “testing” and “quarreling.” Hebrews says, “See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness” (Heb. 3:12–13).
This is a good equivalent of Jesus’ parable about the five wise and five foolish young women who were waiting for the bridegroom. All seemed to be Christians. But in the end five were shut out. The master said, “I tell you the truth, I don’t know you” (Matt. 25:12).
3. It is important to believe in Jesus Christ now, while it is still “today.” The psalm says, “Today, if you hear his voice…” (v. 7), and Hebrews repeats “today” five times (once each in 3:7, 13, and 15, and twice in 4:7). The point is that “today” is the day of gospel invitation, and it is a day that will not last forever. Now is the time to turn from sin. Now is the time to believe and follow Jesus Christ. Have you? Have you trusted Jesus Christ for your salvation? Don’t put it off. Others have delayed and perished.
Worship is a fitting response to God’s holiness, power, and grace.
Psalms 96 like the preceding psalms begins with ‘A Call to Worship God.’
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth.
Sing to the LORD, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
His marvelous deeds among all peoples (vv. 1–3).
There are six imperatives in these verses, three calls to “sing to the Lord” (twice in verse 1 and a third time in verse 2) and one call each to “praise his name,” “proclaim his salvation day after day,” and “declare his glory among the nations.” We are being told to do this. The psalm itself is doing this, of course, so it is a model of how we can praise God properly.
There are a couple of things to notice especially.
1. A new song. The call to sing a new song is a call to sing about some new thing God has himself done. In 1 Chronicles, where the words of the psalm occur for the first time, the new thing was God’s coming to Jerusalem by the symbolism of the moving of the ark. From this time forward he was to be especially honored there, which is what the psalm does. It was also expected that he would now rule over his people as well as the Gentile nations from Mount Zion.
When we read about “a new song” today we also think of the new song of Revelation 5. There we are told of four living creatures and twenty-four elders who fall down before God’s Lamb and sing “a new song,” saying,
You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased men for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth (Rev. 5:9–10).
The new thing here is Christ’s atonement, and the “new song” is a joyful acknowledgment of it. It is possible that John, the author of Revelation, was even thinking of Psalm 96, for his emphasis is on the universal reign of Christ, which is what Psalm 96 anticipates.
2. Praise plus proclamation. The second thing to notice about this stanza is the way the declaration of God’s glory among the nations follows upon praising him. The psalm teaches that worship should never be merely a private thing, something between ourselves and God only, but should also be that which leads to a missionary witness. We should never be satisfied to worship God alone. G. Campbell Morgan wrote of these verses, “If the song of the Lord begins in the heart, it always grows into the chorus in which others are included in its music.”