Summary: The real truth about worship is that it is a way of life.
WORSHIP: A WAY OF LIFE OR AN EXPERIENCE?
A few years ago there were TV ads as well as radio & billboard ads telling us GO TO WORSHIP; YOU=LL BE RICHER FOR IT. This is a great public service announcement. We should worship because we will be richer for it. But there is only one thing wrong with this PSA. It refers to worship as a product. Is it safe for us to assume that worship is a product or an experience? The real truth about worship is that it is a way of life.
Worship is not a product or an experience. It is a verb. In the Hebrew Old Testament it means to bow down and in the Greek New Testament it means to serve. These are two of the hardest things to do in our ego-obsessed society. Worship is a way of life not an experience or an event. The Key to understanding worship is found in the Psalms. The Psalms or Psalter serves as the worship book of Israel as well the early church and the reformation. So it is here that we can discover the way of life of worship. Worship is the reason this day of corporate worship is the foundation on which the other six rest.
1. Worship is bowing down before God. (vs 1-3)
If we come to the corps to worship just for the sake of worship then we have missed the point and the blessing of worship. Worship needs to begin individually. The first two verses of this psalm tell us to sing for joy and shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation to come before him with thanksgiving and praise Him with music and song.
When we gather as a congregation just like in any congregation that gathers for worship needs are present some of those needs are for healing, comfort, guidance and restoration. But we forget about a fundamental human need and that is to respond to the Highest that which is totally worthy of our devotion, awe, and honor. Like a fine-tuned instrument the strings of our heart are made to resound with praise to Him.
Worship in early English was "WORTH-SHIP" meaning to respond in praise & devotion to that which is ultimately worthy of praise. The problem is we apply that worship to someone or something that is less than GOD. The Peanuts character Linus has been "smitten" by his teacher Miss Othmar. Lucy says to him, "You always overdo things. It’s all right to like a teacher, but it’s wrong to worship her!" Linus respond. "I never said I worship her, I just said I’m very fond of the ground she walks on." We place others in the place God should be.
Blaise Pascal, mathematician and philosopher whose name now graces a computer program. Once said that each person has a God shaped vacuum. I believe and have experienced this very condition. This is exactly where our misery and spiritual problems come from. People try to fill that vacuum with people, projects and possessions. That will not fill this void.
We have forgotten as people how to bow down before God, or worse yet some of us may have refused to bow down. We fall for anything that sounds good as long as we don’t have to surrender our will. We no longer sing the praises of God without embarrassment. We sing the hollow songs of self-importance and join in anthems that bring praise to lesser things. There is our emptiness. Only God can fill the vacuum that consumes our every waking moment. His praise will elevate our soul and liberate our mind. Some of us say we believe that but were just not in the mood to sing or speak of the praises of God. I understand that but I also wonder if we are not too eager to be the victims of our own emotions. Let me ask you, do you think the apostles in prison or the martyrs in the arena were in the mood for praise? Let me ask you this, Is your worship praise filled?
2.In worship God enters into relationship with His people. (v 7)
In verse seven the psalm tells us that He is our God and that we are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care. This paints the picture of the pastoral nature of all worship. The GREAT GOD HIGH and LIFTED UP, ENTERS INTO A RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS PEOPLE. Like the shepherd in the Old Testament He guides, guards, feeds and disciplines His flock. Further more. The shepherd also became a lamb, (one of us). He gave up His life for us that we might become new creatures. Jesus told us that my sheep know my voice hear it and obey. Without worship as a way of life we cannot hear the voice of the shepherd. When we do hear His voice, we can withstand anything that Satan throws at us. We are not dumb sheep like the ones who are out in the fields. We have been equipped as undershepherds to give warm and personal care to one another. But how can we do that when our agenda replaces the Lord’s.