Summary: One of a series on the Book of Psalms. All psalms have to do with worship, but some have significant emphasis on our worship of God.
O Worship The Lord
Delivered on February 5, 2006
The Rev. Dr. W. Maynard Pittendreigh
1 The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;
2 for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.
3 Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.
5 He will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God his Savior.
6 Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob.
7 Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is he, this King of glory? The LORD Almighty-- he is the King of glory.
With the recent tragedies of mining accidents, I came across an interesting story in a recent newspaper. Many years ago a visitor to Pennsylvania was out for a walk and he noticed that in that small mining community the fields were absolutely full of mules. He saw a young child and asked why the fields were so full of mules.
The child explained that these were mine mules. They worked in the mines during the week and were brought up on Sundays to keep from going blind.
Not a bad reason to be in church on Sundays after spending a week in cultural darkness and moral blindness. Worship can help us keep and/or recover our spiritual sight.
But we don’t think about how to worship nearly enough. And that is why I want us to look at Psalm 24 today.
It is wonderful that we did not read the Old Testament lesson for today, but instead we sang it – because Psalm 24 was not meant to be read. It was meant to be sung.
We have been studying the Book of Psalms. This is the hymnal of the Bible – the prayer book. Our banner reminds us of the wide variety of different types of Psalms. There are Prayers of Confession, Praise, Thanksgiving, Laments – and there are also Psalms that focus specifically on worship.
Now in a sense, all of the psalms have to do with worship, but some are specifically to be used in community worship, and when we look at these psalms, we can learn a great deal about what God expects of us in our worship.
Psalm 24 is a worship psalm that the congregation would begin singing as they walked up the hill and into the sanctuary. Their worship would actually begin outside, in the world, and would begin as they started their journey to the Temple.
It started with a hymn of praise, in which the congregation would praise God for who He is.
Community Worship Needs To Be God-Centered
First and foremost, worship needs to have that God-Centered element to it.
It is unfortunate, but many times our worship has become self-centered.
It’s all about us, not about God.
What do we think about when we start worship? As we get into our cars and drive to church, why are we coming here?
Sometimes it is all about us.
We think in terms of “I need to be blessed” rather than, “I need to bless God.”
But in the Bible, the Worship Psalms always start with a focus on God.
Our Old Testament Lesson today begins, “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.”
Parents – have you ever tried to get your children into the car to come to church and met with resistance? They squirm and wiggle and then they start insisting that they want to stay home. And when you say, “We’re going to church,” they respond with “Why?”
Teenagers – have you ever been in bed and enjoyed the opportunity to sleep late – and you want to sleep even later – but Mom and Dad are telling you to come to worship and you lay there thinking, “Why?”
In all honesty, that is not a bad question at all. It is a wonderful question to ask.
Why worship God?
In an episode of The Simpsons Homer is asked a similar question. He replies, "God is very powerful, but also very insecure.”