Summary: David understood the priority of worship. This sermon looks at his devotion to worship and what we can learn from it.
The Attitude of Worship
Text: Psalm 27:4
Introduction: As his parents watched from the patio, a little boy played baseball by himself in the back yard. Of course this amounted to tossing a ball into the air and attempting to hit it with his bat. As he did so he proclaimed to no one in particular, "I’m the greatest hitter in the world!" Unfortunately, he missed the ball and, since he was the umpire too, regretfully announced, "Strike one." Undaunted the little fellow picked up the ball, threw it back into the air and said, "I’m the greatest baseball hitter ever!" With even greater intensity he swung the bat but all he caught was air for his efforts. "Strike two," he said. The boy paused a moment, examined the bat and ball carefully, and then for a third time threw the ball into the air. "I’m the greatest hitter in the history of baseball," he said. This time he swung for all he was worth, but just like the other two attempts, he missed. "Strike three," he mumbled. Then the boy sat for a moment considering what had just happened. After a minute or so, he turned to his parents and much to their surprise said, "Wow, I just struck out the greatest hitter in the world! I must be the greatest pitcher of all time."
Attitude really matters, doesn’t it? It can make the difference between a good day and a bad day, a good marriage and a bad marriage, perhaps even a good life and a bad life. Chuck Swindoll says, "Words can never adequately convey the incredible impact of our attitude toward life. The longer I live the more convinced I become that life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we respond to it."
Have you ever considered that your choice of attitude even affects your worship experience? In Psalm 27, David begins by expressing his confidence in God. This declaration of faith is written in the context of an attack from without by his enemies (See Psalm 27:1-3). What might have caused fear and anxiety in someone who did not trust God, results only in the longing of David to be closer to God. "One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek," he says, "that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple." This is remarkable! David was the king of Israel, the leader of their armies and a preacher of the Word of God. The pressures associated with any one of these responsibilities would be more than most of us are capable of bearing. So how does he hold it together? He does so by maintaining an attitude of worship. Let’s take a few moments and break down what David has to say about this all important pursuit.
The Discipline of Worship. To be a person who is a true worshipper of the Lord Jesus Christ requires a substantial commitment to personal discipline. In a day and age when so many things compete for our worship and devotion, believers are often forced to make choices. David resisted the temptation to be consumed with his many duties in leading a nation and chose instead to make God his number one priority. This single-minded pursuit is what made him such an effective leader. Do you remember the run-in David had with Goliath in 1 Samuel 17? While all the other soldiers could only see their situation from a human, and therefore hopeless, perspective, David, the worshipper of God, did not fall victim to such thinking. He was willing to oppose Goliath not because he was stronger or a more experienced soldier, but because he was highly motivated. David was offended by the arrogance of Goliath and his unwillingness to acknowledge the greatness of the God he worshipped (See 1 Samuel 17:45-47). Goliath could have ridiculed the armies of Israel, David himself, and even his mother, but nothing drew the young man’s ire like the unwillingness of the Philistine to respect and honor his God. We could say that David was obsessed with worship. Application: How important it is that we as a church maintain this important discipline. We must be careful not to lose the perspective that we exist to glorify God. I am concerned that in an effort to be relevant the evangelical movement has become man-centered rather than God-centered. (It is at least possible that we at CLCBC might have fallen prey to this as well). The primary question for evangelicalism has become, "How do we get more people and grow our churches?" We have failed to recognize that the paradigm for success in our churches has been set, not by the immutable and infallible Word of God, but by our culture. Big is good and bigger is better. Those with the largest congregations obviously know what they’re doing and so therefore reserve the right to set the agendas for the rest of the church. What we have failed to understand is that because we have bought into our culture’s definition of success, believers are no longer the ones leading the body of Christ to glorify God. The practice of Christian worship, the purpose for which we exist, is being redesigned to suit the desires of those outside the church. If their attendance is contingent on more singing and less teaching, we capitulate to their desires. If they want the teaching to be more about how to live a good life and less about theology and doctrine, we preach to accommodate. If certain doctrinal positions offend, we avoid them! If the services are too long or at too inconvenient of a time, no problem! We’ll adjust. We would be wise to grasp that what is ultimately being removed is not the barriers that have kept the church from reaching the lost, but the worship of God as He is revealed to us in the Scriptures. We cannot worship what we do not know. And we will not know God if our primary ambition is to worship man. May we avoid the tyranny of our times by disciplining our minds to think as David did: "One thing I ask," he prayed, "this is what I seek."