Summary: Worshipping the right God the right way gives us joy.
Everyone is wired to worship. Last night, 160,000 people came together to worship. Where? At the Bristol Motor Speedway. Every August, the Sharpie 500 takes place in Bristol, TN, a town of only 25,000 people. Just across the state line is Bristol, VA, a town of only 18,000 people. But 160,000 show up for worship. 160,000. They cheer. They dress up. They make banners. They… well… worship. Heaven is the checkered flag.
But the people who follow Dale Earnhardt, Jr. or Michael Waltrip or Tony Stewart or Rusty Wallace went home feeling kind of empty last night. There can only be one winner and last night it was Matt Kenseth. So, maybe 150,000 people went home feeling blue. Odds are that next weekend, Matt Kenseth won’t win. And his fans will be blue.
Worship a god with a little “g” and you’ll always end up empty. But there’s another kind of worship that is sure to leave us feeling full of joy. It’s worshipping the one true God – Father, Son, and Spirit.
You’re going to worship. Something or someone is going to be the object of your affection and attention and devotion. Choose wisely.
“The Air I breathe” pp. 28-29.
Worshipping the right God the right way gives us joy. This past week, I sat in our café with a friend and heard her say, “My husband has absolutely no joy.” He comes to services, but he doesn’t connect – doesn’t really worship. The joy of Jesus is gone.
I wonder. Do you have joy? Really? Some of you don’t look so happy. If I could talk to your spouse or kids or friends, they might confirm that you aren’t very fun to be around. I want to talk to you today about finding more joy for your life.
every 6 steps… joy!
We’re going to learn about a defining moment in a King’s life. It is the story of a passionate worship that begins with joy and ends in joy.
Let me set the stage for the story. Long before, God had told His people to build an ark, a box overlaid with gold, to symbolize His presence and his power for His people. The ark was right at the center of worship for many years. But due to a series of unfortunate events, the ark had been captured by an enemy nation. When it was returned to God’s people, to Israel, for a long time, it was not restored to a place of prominence.
But now, there was a new King, a man who loved God with great passion. His name was David. He knew he was wired to worship and wrote of a lot of the worship Psalms in the Bible. He said, “I want the ark – the symbol of God’s presence and power – to be at the center of worship for the people. I want to get back the power and presence of God.” (And maybe that’s just what’s missing in your life today.)
So, David organized a worship celebration – a parade to bring the ark to the capital city, Jerusalem. Over 30,000 people were a part of that celebration. On that day, God rained down judgment on David’s parade.
In past weeks, we’ve talked about 4 quadrants of worship. Q1 worship is worshipping the wrong God the wrong way. Q2 worship is worshipping the wrong God the right way. This wasn’t the problem for David that day. David was leading Q3 worship – worshipping the right God the wrong way.
The ark also symbolized God’s holiness and was not to be touched. It was to be carried on poles by priests. But David had put it on a cart. And when the ark almost fell off the cart, a man named Uzzah reached out to stabilize it. And he died on the spot.
The celebration was over and David asked a man who lived close-by, a man named Obed-edom, to keep the ark in his house. Now, Obed-edom was a Q4 worshipper. He worshipped the right God the right way for the right reason. And the Bible says he and his family were blessed by God.
Q3 worship is dangerous. And that’s where most of us are. Usually, God shows mercy in spite of our Q3 worship and gives us opportunity to get it right. But every now and then, God will display His justice, like He did with Uzzah. We don’t want to stay with Q3 worship.
Q4 worship results in blessing. Listen carefully. Worship is first and foremost for God. It’s for Him, not us. We worship Him for who He is, not for the things He does for us – not to manipulate Him to get His blessings. That’s what I mean when I say we must worship the right God the right way for the right reason. What’s amazing is that we find out that in giving Him pleasure, we get joy. Q4 worship satisfies like nothing else.