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Worship - according to the Psalms

Psalm 81 admonishes singing for joy to God because it is a statute (or ordinance of God (vss 1-4). Many passages of scripture teach us much about worship; but none teach us any better than the Psalms of the Old Testament.

Psalm 81 emphasized that they were not be worshippers of “foreign” gods. (vss 9-10). This we use to begin our study of worship in the Psalms.

1. Worship Belongs To God Alone.

The great wrath of God poured out in the Old Testament against the nations before the flood, against the Egyptians, against the nations of the land of Canaan, and then later against the Assyrians, Philistines, the Edomites and other neighbors of Israel, and finally against Israel and Judah itself... All because those nations persisted in the worship of false and idol gods. It is no accident that the Ten Commandments began with prohibitions against idolatry (Exod 20:2-6). This principle occurs again and in the Old Testament (Ps 97:7).

Again, we consider the nature of God with an emphasis upon why men must be worshippers of Jehovah God (Ps 99:1- 9). It is interesting that worship is not given to God because he is eternal. or omniscient, or omnipresent, or omnipotent.

The psalmist says we worship God (2) because God is Holy.

The Hebrew word for “holy: is “qadowsh” meaning sacred (ceremonially or morally). God, by His very nature, is holy. Holiness is in God, as in man, the purity of character. But in God it is absolute. God cannot lie. God cannot sin. God is just, perfect in justice, and perfect in righteousness (Ps 92:15). Of all the great things about God’ for which our worship might be due; this characteristic becomes the motivating force (Ps 22:3; Ps 30:4; Ps 48:1; Ps 98:1)!

We worship God because of the good things He has done for us. And these good things began in His holy and powerful right hand! So we “Glory in His holy name”. (Ps 105:3). We worship because “The LORD is righteous in all His ways, and kind in all His deeds (Ps 145:17).”

Now we ask a question. What shall we wear to worship God? In what garments shall we approach the glorification of a perfectly holy God. Is it dresses and hosiery for the ladies and suits and ties for the men? Or shall we just say the best in our wardrobe is appropriate? What does our worship require in our dress? The answer is that we “worship the Lord in holy array” (Ps 29:1-2; Ps 96:8-9).

So 3. The appropriate attire of worship is “holy dress.” God had dedicated Israel as His people. They are "holy" by their relationship to the "holy" God. All of the people are in a sense "holy" ( Num16:3). It was God's intent that they be His "holy" nation (Ex 19:6). So He expected then to be holy to Him and apart from the peoples (Lev 20:26).

And with certainty and even more so, this principle of holiness applies to God’s people today (1 Pet 2:5; 1 Pet 2:9). This is the principle of attire in worship: 1 Pet 1:16, “because it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy." Let us be sure that when God looks upon you and me as we worship Him, it is not the style of dress or color of suit; but it is the holiness of the worshiper which becomes us that the holy God observes.

So now, properly attired in holiness, we turn to the very essence of worship itself...

4. What does worship involve?

There are two fundamental characteristics. The first is reverence (Ps 2:10- 12). Reverence means to fear; morally, to revere; to frighten, or to make afraid.” I am afraid that we have taken the fear of God out of worship. To reverence God is to fear Him. It is respect for every awesome characteristic of God’s nature..esp. His holiness. Let us heed the Psalm; “Worship the LORD with reverence, and rejoice with trembling.” If we are not trembling as we rejoice in the presence of God, we are not worshiping!

The second essence of worship is the glorification of the name of God. Reading from Psalm 86:3-17, we note the following: (1) and they shall glorify Thy name (v 9). (2) I will glorify thy name forever (v 12). (3) “I will give thanks to Thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and will glorify Thy name forever (v 12). Note the context that the glorification of God is directly the result of the great, good and kind deeds that God has done. One cannot glorify God without a conscious awareness of the goodness of God and the great things that he has done for us. Salvation, most of all, is our motive for worship.

5. The psalmist tells us that worship is a “humbling experience”. It is both the action of the humble and an activity that produces humility. In reading from the 99th Psalm we note that we are to “Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at His footstool; Holy is He” (v 5). Worship is at the footstool of God! We know this is a reference to the earth; but we miss the point if we do not see that being at the footstool is being in a most humbled position (Ps 132:7).

Even the position of our worship is a humbling experience ( Psalm 95:1-7). Psalm 95:6; “ Come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD our maker.” Brother and sister.. If you are not bowing down, if you are not kneeling before your maker, then you are not worshiping.

If the Lord Jesus Christ literally walked through the back door of the building, what position would you assume? And even more, if the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to us as He did the Apostle John (Rev 1:12 -16), what position would we assume? When John saw Him, He fell at His feet as a dead man (Rev 1:17). Real, true worship leaves the man of God humbled before the presence of the Lord! (Rev 1:17-18).

6. Let us note the scope of proper worship (Ps 96:5-12). The proper scope of worship is “all the earth”. Worship was not designed for a select few. It is not just the duty and privilege of a selected number. “O families of the peoples.” “tremble before him, all the earth.” Ps 66:1-4, Shout joyfully to God, all the earth. God demands this of all worshippers (Ps 86:9), God would have all the earth to hear the gospel (Ps 22:27-29).

If you desire to be a faithful worshiper of God, be attired in holiness by coming to God for the forgiveness of your sins. Obey the gospel or be restored to Him today.

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