Monday, May 4, 2009

How to worship God

According to the title, Psalm 30 was composed for the dedication of the temple. The theme of the whole psalm is one of personal thanksgiving for God's repeated care and deliverance over the course of life.

Put on your thinking cap and imagine this worshiper standing in the temple keenly aware of his purpose for being there. He is not bored; he is not there to be entertained, his sole objective is to extol or lift up the Lord.

In verses 1-3 he gives three reasons for magnifying the Lord:
1. Deliverance from the attacks of foes
2. Answered prayer in desperate circumstances of life
3. Rescue from impending death

He then encourages his fellow worshipers to do the same. He leads by example. He tells them to sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name.I like the realism of these people. As they come before God they know both the anger and kindness of God. God's anger is but for a moment, and his favor lasts for a lifetime. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes with the morning.

God is the one who prospers and makes them strong. According to verse 7, if God hid his face they would be terrified.

In Psalm 30, worship is based on the faithfulness of God. Compare your worship experience from this past Sunday. What was your attitude? Did you wait to hear a style of music to set your feet tapping? Did you wait to hear a funny story in the sermon? Did you fall asleep out of sheer boredom? Or did you gather with fellow worshipers intent on extolling the Lord?

At the end of the Psalm, David said you turn my mourning into dancing, you have helped me put off my heavy mourning cloths and clothed me with gladness. Was it the music that brought him this release, or was it the presence of God?

This is true worship. God, not music is the source of singing, dancing, praising and prayer.

We have so much to learn about what it means to be the people of God at worship. The good news is we have this entire week and this coming Sunday to improve the way we worship the Lord. Let's move beyond superficial, consumerist, entertainment-based worship. How might we bring more focus and depth to worship where God is the object and the subject?

Precious Lord, forgive us for turning worship into an idol. You have no musical preferences, special times, or place for acceptable worship. You delight in worship that is inspired by grateful recognition of all you have done for us. Amen