Summary: We can praise God because He reigns over all

Psalm 97:1-12

Our God Reigns

Woodlawn Baptist Church

August 19, 2007

Psalm 7:17 tells us “I will praise the Lord according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the Lord most high.” Psalm 9:2 says, “I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O though most High.” Another says “ye that fear the Lord, praise him.” Psalm 29:2 says, “Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” Psalm 66:4 says “All the earth shall worship [God], and shall sing unto [God]; they shall sing to [His] name.” Psalm 99:5 says “Exalt ye the Lord our God, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy.”

We were told in Psalm 95 to praise and worship God. We were told in Psalm 96 to praise and worship God. In fact, in at least 63 different psalms we’re told specifically to praise or worship the Lord. I told you two weeks ago that our lives are to be joyful expressions of worship. Not just our lips and mouths, not just when we come to church and sing the songs and say the prayers, but all our lives are to be joyful expressions of worship: our time in front of the TV, the way we eat, the way we relate, the way we forgive, show mercy, serve others, shop at Wal-Mart even – it’s all supposed to be a joyous offering of worship to the Lord our God.

In Psalm 96 we discovered that not only are our lives to be joyful expressions of worship, but we’re to be faithful to declare the glory and wonder of God. The rocks and trees and fields all worship God, but what about us? Ain’t no rock! Gonna stand in my place, ain’t no tree gonna wave its branches, and ain’t no bird going to sing His praises! That’s my job!

However, even though I know the catchy little tune and all the words, even though I know that Kevin Higgins was placed on this earth to please the Lord God, I still wrestle with doing it. We found out the reason in Psalm 95 – our hearts grow hard over time, and for that we must drag our lives into the presence of God and see how He might go about changing our lives and softening our hearts. That’s what discipleship and real worship are really all about.

But if you’re like me, you have trouble doing it. Whether we like it or not, our hearts do grow hard. We do grow cold and indifferent. We forget that our lives are to be joyful expressions of worship. We forget that we’re to be faithful in declaring the glory of God each day. We get so busy that God doesn’t get penned into the day. Some of you are so caught up in carnal living that God is not a priority. Our sin will keep us from true worship. Running a home and a business takes its toll. You know the words to the songs; you know how to pray if called upon. And let’s face it, the camp songs are fun and uplifting, but work and bills and the demands of life drown it all out, right?

You watch the evening news and some little kid has been molested. An elderly couple gets robbed. A guy gets cancer in the prime of his life. Kathy and I have been robbed three times since February. A murderer gets off scott free. What’s up with all the injustice in the world? Seems like ungodly people all over the place are prospering while people I know who love the Lord are barely hanging on. Men and women enjoy their lives together in sin, then those who go to church and try to do the right thing fight to keep a marriage together. A godly woman with Alzheimer’s wanders off never to be found again.

Today as I look around the room, I see men and women, even young people, who are tired, hurting, frustrated, worried, longing for acceptance and someone to love, longing to be loved. Not all of you are like that, but many are, and all of us at times find ourselves wondering whether God really cares about what’s going on in the world, and more importantly, at least to us, whether He cares about what’s happening in our lives. Life hardens us. It hardens our hearts.

If God does care, why does it all go on? Is there any hope? Intellectually we know there is, but does that knowledge move us? Does it drive us to our knees in worship and adoration of the God we’re to worship and praise? It can, and in fact it should. What does life do to your response to God? Has your heart grown so hard that God’s Word is just another word in a world of words fighting for your attention? Do you take a casual approach to God – lacking the awe and wonder of one in the presence of a king? Or do you lean toward the view that is afraid to approach God for fear of Him? I’m thankful today that God gives us some answers about how we might worship Him in a way that is going to bring glory to Him.

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