When the Psalmist writes, “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all you peoples,” what do you think of? I think of worship, more particularly, singing. Not necessarily singing on key, rather singing from the heart. That’s what comes to mind. In fact, that’s exactly what the Psalmist has in mind. He goes on, “Worship the Lord with gladness, come before him with joyful songs.” Singing is a form of prayer; it can be a prayer of praise, or a prayer of confession, depending on the words. In God’s vision of worship, worship is filled with singing and praying. But there’s more insight into worship.
In verse 3, the Psalmist reminds us that worship is a time of reflection, reflection on who God is and who we are, with an emphasis on the fact that we are NOT God. “Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.” This is a reminder of the reason for worship. It’s not about us; it’s about God. Indeed, God is the reason for our worship. One’s sense of God—God’s sovereignty, God’s majesty, God’s love and justice—is what leads a person to get out of bed and come to worship. People who worship regularly are people who possess a sense of the majesty, the sovereignty, the love and justice of God, people who are convinced, no convicted, that God is worthy of our time and energy. People who worship regularly are people who attach meaning to gathering with other Christ followers to give honor and glory to God. People who worship regularly are people who are clear about who God is , and who they are—his people. We know we belong to God; our lives are not our own. God is the center of our lives. Who are you and what do you believe about God?
In verse 4, the Psalmist continues to give guidance as to how we worship, in light of who God is—our Creator. “Enter God’s gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” I have come to trust Romans 8:28 , where it reveals that “in all things God is working for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” I appreciate that God calls us to worship with thanksgiving and praise. It is good to be thankful, to live thankfully. I know that I am happier and more productive when I am thankful. Sometimes God calls me to things that are difficult. Worship is not one of those things. To come into his gates thankful and celebrating God’s blessings through song, prayer and reflection is good for me; and it is stimulating and enjoyable. Being grateful leads me to focus on what I have, not on what I don’t have. It rescues me from discontent. It reminds me how blessed I am, and how great God is. Worshiping alongside my brothers and sisters in Christ is good for me; it uplifts me and empowers me to continue the journey of life. It propels me into the next day, the next week with a worshipful attitude. When I participate in God’s weekly rhythm of work, rest, play, leisure, worship and reflection, I am in tune with God’s purpose for me. And it’s good.
Why do I worship? I confess I do so in part because I realize how good it is for me. It has sustained me and my family through life. And I am thankful. However, in my deepest reflection, I realize that I worship because of who God is. The Psalmist again reminds us in verse 5, “For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” I love to rest in the goodness, the love and the faithfulness of God. It is why I choose, at the leading of the Holy Spirit, to join the movement of God’s kingdom in the world. I can think of no better path on which to trod.
As we approach this holy week, may God reveal to you the reasons to worship him.
Blessings Upon You,