“OUR GREAT GOD IS WORTHY OF WORSHIP” Ps. 95
INTRO – Used to sing children’s song, “I was glad when they said unto me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord.’” Based on Ps. 122:1. There’s an important concept that we need to deposit into & build upon in the lives of children at a young, critical, impressionable age, & that is the gladness that should overwhelm the hearts of God’s people when they have the privilege of coming together in this place to meet w/ God. We need to teach them early & repeatedly that our great God is worthy of worship!
We certainly also need to teach them that God doesn’t really live here in this building & nowhere else. That’s a whole other sermon. But the foundational, essential truth of God’s people gathering in one place on a regular basis to worship Him needs to be taught to them & modeled for them by Godly parents & other mature believers.
Today, I want to focus on the wonderful aspect of corporate worship in our life as Christ-followers. Corporate worship is what we do here each Sunday when we gather together w/ the intentional purpose of worshiping the one, true, living God.
- David wrote Ps. 122:1 to express his joy of going into God’s house for worship.
- The writer of Hebrews wrote Heb. 10:25 to express the importance of our commitment to regular corporate worship when he said, “…let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near” (NLT).
- “When we come to public worship, we come as the people of God, with the people of God, to meet with our God” (Ronald B. Allen, The Wonder of Worship, 28).
While our focus today is on public, corporate worship, it’s important to realize that this time of weekly worship will be so much richer & more meaningful if you & I are enjoying private, personal worship on a regular basis. In fact, we need to realize that worship is so much more than just designated times that we stop, individually or in a group, open our Bible, read a little, pray a little, say “Amen,” close our Bible, & go back to our life. That’s not the correct understanding of worship. Worship is a lifestyle. One write: “…[worship] is an attitude of heart that finds expression in the daily living of life…worship is a lifestyle” (Ron Owens, The Wonder of Worship, p. 38).
- We worship when times are good & when times are bad.
- We worship when we have plenty & when we are lacking.
- We worship when we are happy & when we are sad.
- We worship when we are living & when we are dying.
- Brother Lawrence – monk in 17th Known for his intimate relationship w/ the Lord. On his deathbed, woke up from coma & emphatically stated, “I am not dying.” Startled his friends who were w/ him. Asked him, “Then what are you doing?” “I am doing what I have been doing all my life. I am worshiping the God I love.”
- Would to God that that could be said of all of us!
Part of worshiping the God we love is doing it w/ other believers publicly on a regular basis. In Ps. 95, we see these ingredients of corporate worship:
Invitation to Worship – “Come…” (v. 1, 6) – V. 6 is the “beating heart of the Psalm” (Hestenberg). Heb. word for “come” can mean “to walk.” God invites us to go on a walk w/ Him – an eternal walk that one day will end up in our heavenly home. Reminds me of old hymn, “In the Garden” – “And He walks w/ me, & He talks w/ me, & He tells me I am His own.” We all know that this walk can get pretty hectic & pretty crazy. There are times when the walk can get dangerous, when it can get dark, when we can get discouraged. Sometimes we are moving along great; other times we are stumbling & barely making forward progress. God knows all of this. He knows what we need & what will be most helpful to us. So all along the way on this walk, He beckons us to stop w/ others who also are walking w/ the Him, & worship Him. He steps into a cool, shady rest stop on the road & invite us, saying, “Come.” And when we stop, we do these things:
Expressions of Worship – God gives us a wide variety of ways we can express our hearts in worship. Most of us are used to the quiet, reverential aspects of worship. Ps. 46:10 – “Be still & know that I am God.” That’s an appropriate way to worship the Lord, & there’s a place for that. It’s what most of us are used to – probably what most of us are comfortable with. How many of us grew up.
But just b/c it’s what we are used to or how we grew up doesn’t mean it’s the only way that proper & appropriate. “Being still & knowing that He is God” is not the only way to express ourselves in worship. In fact, the expressions of worship that we find here in Ps. 95 are boisterous, vigorous, & clamorous. Listen to the meanings of these SCRIPTURAL expressions of worship:
- “sing for joy” – v. 1a – There are some musical terms that let a choir or instrumentalist know how softly or loudly to sing or plan. These terms are marked on musical scores my dynamic markings – pp – stands for pianissimo. Very quiet. ff – stands for fortissimo – Very loud. The word for “sing” here is far from pianissimo. It’s definitely a fortissimo word! It means “to celebrate w/ shouting; proclaim in shouts of joy; to call loudly; to rejoice; to exult, cry out.”
- “shout aloud” – v. 1b – Well if “sing for joy” means to “celebrate w/ shouting,” what does “shout aloud” mean? “to cry out; give a blast; cheer; to shout or raise the WAR CRY! TO SOUND THE SIGNAL FOR BATTLE! To shout in triumph!”
- “come before Him w/ thanksgiving” – v. 2a – In this expression of worship, the picture is to come in front of Him & go up to Him w/ our confession of t’giving, w/ our song of t’giving, w/ our offering. It’s a picture of a choir coming into His presence w/ a doxology of praise.
- “extol Him w/ music & song” – v. 2b – Back to the war cry, the shout for battle. There was another word used that I didn’t know – vociferate. Means “to holler!”
- “bow down” – v. 6a – to bow down, to sink down, to submit oneself.
- “kneel” – v. 6b – to kneel down & ask God for His blessings; to kneel down & praise Him, adore Him, celebrate Him.
Looks like if we are going to worship in a biblical way, some of us are going to have to turn it up a notch sometimes!
Reasons for Worship – Love seeing videos of soldiers coming home from deployment & surprising family members. The unadulterated joy is so moving. Their love for one another is so obvious, so overwhelming, & so expressive. Usually it’s loud, jubilant, filled w/ shouts of joy, tears of joy, & hugs & kisses b/c of the joy. For them to get to see someone they love so much & be reunited w/ them is such a powerful moment.
I wonder sometimes if our expressions of worship are less than jubilant b/c we’ve gotten comfortable w/ God. We’re here every week, in the same room, usually sitting in the same place, w/ the same people, led by the same musicians, the same preacher, worshiping the same God. You’ve heard the phrase, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” Maybe our familiarity w/ God & our worship of Him doesn’t breed contempt. But I do wonder sometimes if it breeds complacency, or apathy,
- He’s the Lord (Yahweh) – v. 1a – not just any “god”; but Yahweh, the only self-existent, self-sufficient being in the universe, the only God who has life in & of Himself.
- He’s the rock of our salvation – v. 1b – He’s our abiding, unchanging, & mighty Rock. In Him alone we find deliverance & safety.
- He’s the great God – v. 3a – Not “A great god,” but “THE great God.”
- …the great King above all gods – v 3b – “He is great, for He is all in all; He is a great King above all other powers & dignitaries, whether angels or princes, for they owe their existence to Him” (Spurgeon).
- …Creator God – v. 4-5 – The God of the valleys, the God of the mountaintops; the God of the crashing waves, & the God of the fertile fields.
- …our Maker – v. 6b – We don’t worship any god we’ve made, but the One who made us!
- …our God & we are His people – This is the master reason for worship! – v. 7a
- We are under His care – v. 7b – He not only created us, but He leads us, He directs us, He cares for us, He meets our every need.
Obedience through Worship – v. 7b-8a – “It will be as difficult, nay, more difficult to come to Christ tomorrow as it is today” (Thomas Cole)