Sunday, July 8, 2012

AWAKE MY SOUL (2):  WORSHIP  (Psalm 150)

Worship comes from an old Anglo-Saxon word that means to value something highly; to applaud;  to shower affection.  God longs for our worship.

Worship matters to God.  It is the aim of Scripture to direct our worship to the one true and living God.

Worship matters to us.  Some may say “I’m not religious”.  So what?  Every worships something.  We are hard-wired for worship.  It’s in our DNA.  We are never not worshiping.

Psalm 150 is part of what we call the Hallelujah (“praise God”) Psalms  (Psalm 146-150).  Theses are Psalms that encourage us to take worship over the top by singing, dancing, and playing instruments with emotion and passion.  The kind of worship that these Psalms calls for actually would not be welcome in most of our churches today:  “too loud”, “undignified”, etc.

When did we begin thinking worship is about us?  It’s difficult being a pastor or worship leader these days – people are so picky.  I’ve heard congregants complain about the loudness and/or style of the music, the light/darkness in an auditorium, the fact we put our song lyrics on a screen instead of using hymnbooks, the temperature in the auditorium, etc., etc., ad nauseum.  Again, when did we begin thinking worship was about us?

In Psalm 150 the Psalmist explains…

a.  The WHO of worship (vs 1).  “Praise the Lord” is an imperative sentence with the understand subject of “you”.  “You praise the Lord.”  Who? You.  You whom he has created and redeemed and forgiven and justified and reconciled to himself.  You.

b.  The WHAT of worship (vs 1).  “Praise the Lord”.  That’s what we are to do – praise the Lord.  We are to value him highly, acclaim him as God, applaud him, admire him,  lavish our afffection on him.

c.  The WHERE of worship (vs 1).  “In his sanctuary”.  For the Old Testament worship that meant the Temple.  For us, it means the church.  Some say, “I can worship by myself at home”.  While there is truth in that, the Scriptures seldom tells us to do so.  Almost all of the admonitions in the Scriptures concerning worship tell us to do so in a communal, corporate, church setting (Psalm 35:18, Psalm 149:1, Ephesians 5:19, etc.)

d.  The WHY of worship (2).  “…for his mighty acts of power…for his surpassing greatness.”  Creation, redemption, provision, protection – all mighty acts of his power.  His omnipresence, ompotence, omniscience – all products of his surpassing greatness.

e.  The HOW of worship (3-5).  “…trumpet…harp…lyre…tambourine…dancing…strings…flute…clash of symbols…resounding cymbals…”.  And here’s where it gets sticky – let the worship wars begin!  What?  The Psalmist doesn’t mention a pipe organ or sanctuary choir?!  No problem with either of those things – we just need to realize that God can be worshiped with ALL kinds of instruments, in ALL kinds of settings,  with ALL kinds of different musical styles.  Don’t criticize me for my screaming electric guitar and crashing drum cymbals (vs 5) and I won’t criticize you for your pipe organ.  Deal?  Good.

The Psalmist winds up by encouraging “…everything that has breath” to “praise the Lord”.  Let’s stop worrying so much about HOW it’s being done and … just do it.

Worship causes the soul to awake…and do we ever need more awakened souls in our churches.

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