A little boy once asked his father, “Daddy, what’s the highest number you’ve ever counted to?”
“I don’t know, son,” the father replied. “What’s the highest number you’ve ever counted to?”
“973,” the boy quickly replied.
“Why did you stop there?” the father inquired.
“Because church was over,” his son responded.
Sadly, for too many folks church has become a dull, boring, and monotonous exercise. While you may not sit there counting, your mind may be far away from what is happening in the worship service.
While preachers, pastors, song directors and other worship leaders bear responsibility in providing an atmosphere and environment that is conductive to worship, our experience is more dependent upon our attitude about worship.
Psalm 95 presents a view of worship that will move us toward a closer communion with God, a more joyful feeling, a deeper reverence and a practical application in our lives.
A Joyful Invitation
“Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.”
The thrust of this Psalm speaks to the heart of worship. It’s the first part of Jesus’ command to “worship in spirit.” To put our heart, mind and soul into it. Worship should be vibrant and vigorous. We ought to be exuberant in worship. Joyful. Enthusiastic. Excited. Can we say with Oswald Chambers, “A joyful spirit is the nature of God in my blood”?
A Collective Activity
Note the number of times, the Psalmist says, “Let us.” “Let us come..Let us sing…let us shout…Let us worship…Let us bow down…Let us kneel.”
While there is a private element to worship and we may worship God at any time, anywhere, there is a time to assemble. God calls us to come together. Worship is better together with fellow Believers.
A God Focused Directive
Worship is really not about us. It’s about God. “Come before Him,” the text says. In the first five verses, He is called “our Rock.” “The Lord.” “The Great God.” “The Great King.” And is further identified as our Creator, Sustainer, Protector, Deliverer,
A Truth Based Aim
This passage reminds us that God is sovereign. He is supreme. And that His Word is authoritative and absolute. Just as God expected Old Testament worship to be carried out in a certain way, He calls us to follow His commands for worship today. Jesus said, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (Jn.4:24).
A Reverent Attitude.
In verses 6 and 7 the mood changes. God is now pictured as our Redeemer and Savior. We are His sheep. The focus has changed from praise to prostration. “Let us bow down.” “Let us kneel.”
There is a balance between rejoicing and reverence. There is a time for vibrant singing, soul stirring preaching, and animated rejoicing, But there is a time for speechless reverence, for silent meditation and humble reflection.
It’s possible to act so reverent, so solemn, so serious that we wring all the joy out of our worship experience. However, We can become so emotional, excited and boisterous that worship become irreverent and impertinent. Balance is the key. We must approach God with a spirit of respect.
An Obedient Response
The Psalm concludes with another dramatic mood change. We have moved from jubilant praise, to serious reflection and now to solemn warning. In verses 8-11, we’re reminded that we must listen to God’s voice in our daily lives.
Worship ought to strengthen our resolve to work for the Lord. To let our light shine. To be the salt of the earth. To follow the footsteps of Jesus. To put into practice our profession of faith. Like Israel of old, there’s a danger of doubting God, grumbling at His commands and hardening our hearts. We may become like the Pharisees where worship becomes a ritual instead of a life-changing challenge.
This Sunday, do more than just attend church. Enter to worship. Enjoy fellowship. Engage your emotions. Focus your attention. Lift your voice. Reverently reflect. And leave better equipped to serve.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman