“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.”
During my meditation and conversation time with God this morning, He asked me a question. Now, this isn’t the first time He has asked me a question for my consideration, and sometimes I like the question, and other times, not so much. This morning was one of those questions in the latter group.
“Jim, if a person worshiped you in the same way you worship me, how would that make you feel?”
As I considered that question, I not only thought of it on a personal level, but also on a corporate level, as I seek to lead my people into pure worship. And that’s why I was drawn to the 95th Psalm, which I quoted above.
“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord.” What does it mean to “sing for joy?” Joy is defined as “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.” How often does my singing truly demonstrate great pleasure and happiness, pleasure and happiness that exist because of who God is for me and what He has done for me?
“Let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.” When was the last time I shouted during worship to let my Rock know how excited I am about who He is for me and what He has done for me, both in years past and yesterday?
“Let us come before him with thanksgiving.” There’s something “extra” in a person’s heart when what is done is centered in and caused by thanksgiving, something “extra” that cannot be contained or squelched. It must come out or I will explode. There is an exuberance that is very evident. When was the last time I thought I might explode if I was not given an outlet for praise and worship that was just dripping with thanksgiving?
“[Let us] extol him with music and song.” Extol means to “praise enthusiastically.” Enthusiasm means “with intense and eager enjoyment.” This intensity can and will cause a variety of emotional responses. It could evoke tears or laughter and everything in-between. That’s the intensity of the experience. When was the last time I experienced that intensity? When was the last time it was my attitude that I was truly having a hard time waiting for the next worship gathering because I craved joining my voice, characterized by intense and eager praise, with others?
“Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.” This action shows that we understand the dynamics of this relationship between God and us. We place ourselves in the proper place of the created, of those doing the worshiping, a place that must be physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. When was the last time that the awesomeness and goodness of my God caused me to physically fall to my knees because the strength left my legs because of God’s incredible-ness?
“For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.” Here is the awesomeness of our God. When was the last time that this truth truly moved me to pure, passionate, and unbridled worship and praise of my God?
Here was my answer to God’s question to me: “God, I’d be sick and tired of mundane, unenthusiastic, bland, rote, and emotionless praise and worship. I’d want to scream at the top of my lungs, ‘Are you aware of who I am? Are you aware of who I am for you? Are you aware of what I’ve done for you, both in the past and as recently as yesterday, or maybe even today already?’ I’d scream those things because the praise and worship I was receiving would tell me that they don’t get it.”
God had a one-word response: “Exactly.”
“Father, please forgive me for my mundane, unenthusiastic, bland, rote, and emotionless praise and worship that I have offered you. You are the great God. Who You are for me and what You have done for me are both beyond comparison; they are that awesome and incredible. May my praise and worship of You scream to You that I truly realize Your awesomeness and incredible-ness. May my praise and worship of You reveal the intense joy and pleasure I find in who You are and what You have done. And may You experience incredible joy in the praise and worship I offer You. And may the people You have given me to lead and shepherd also reflect that in their praise and worship, both privately and corporately. In the name of Your awesome and incredible Son, Jesus, Amen.”