A Life of Worship

December 9, 2016

I will meditate on your majestic, glorious splendor and your wonderful miracles. Your awe-inspiring deeds will be on every tongue; I will proclaim your greatness. Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness; they will sing with joy about your righteousness. The Lord is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. The Lord is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all his creation. All of your works will thank you, Lord, and your faithful followers will praise you. Psalm 145:5-10 (NLT)

Psalms is a book of worship, and it closes with a series of praise songs designed to help worshipers bring praise and glory to our great God. We are created for just that purpose. The Westminster Shorter Catechism states that “humanity’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy God forever.” These verses from David’s Psalm 145 are a great way to do just that! We praise God and we enjoy Him, in the forever but “not yet” sense.

When and how does real praise come most easily for you? It is likely different for each of us. It may be in church or chapel, during personal devotions, or connected to specific celebrations. Can you remember one of the last times that you allowed yourself to enter into the type of praise that David describes here? Believers participate in praise in different ways, but I believe that we actually have to allow ourselves to enter into this frame of mind. When we hold back, our praise is stilted and diminished; it’s still praise, but it’s not the majestic spirit that David expresses in Psalm 145. And in that type of situation, both verbs, praise and enjoy, are reduced.

If you have observed people in worship, you’ve seen that some have to move, while others have to close their eyes and raise their hands. Some sit or stand quietly with an inner celebration that expresses the type of praise David expresses here. When we read of David’s life, we see that he, too, worshipped in many different ways based on the context of the experience.

We, too, tend to worship differently depending on the situation. I’d like to suggest two things to help us make this praise authentic. First, in each situation, we have to allow ourselves and each other the freedom to do just that. Since worship and praise of God is the ultimate purpose of our lives, we need the same freedom that David had to praise as best we can. Second, we need to make sure the focus of our worship is to bring the glory to God and not to ourselves. There is often a fine line between performance and worship, and we must work to stay on the side of that line that brings praise to God and not to ourselves.

How do I “meditate on God’s majestic, glorious splendor and His wonderful miracles” (vs 5)? Individual and corporate worship allow us to have God’s compassion showered on us (vs 9). In my own way, I sing “with joy about God’s righteousness” (vs 7) and His “awe-inspiring deeds are on my tongue” (vs 6). In order to do this, we need to “share the story of His wonderful goodness” so that His “faithful followers will praise” Him. Our praise and joy will be limited until we allow ourselves and each other to enter into the majestic praise for which we were created. I urge you to let go and allow yourself and others to praise and enjoy God forever!

Prayer: Please speak the words of Psalm 145:5-10 to God as your prayer.

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