BACK TO THE HEART OF WORSHIP
Worship is giving praise, attention, glory, and or honor to an object or being that is to the level of their worthiness. In other words, to worship something is to believe that it is worthy to be worshipped. For the Christian, we have declared ever since we made Jesus Christ our Lord and savior that He is the being most worthy of praise and that is why we live for him as an act of worship. What is a pitfall during the growth of a believer is that worship is no longer about God but more about how they feel or the type of songs that they like. We are making worship more and more about what we feel and how it sounds to us but can we remind ourselves that we should primarily focus on how the worship will glorify God? We must remind ourselves daily that the heart of worship is about God, glorifying God, magnifying God, loving God, displaying God, and how we are to relate to God in light of His supreme greatness!
The heart of worship is one of the first things to get misaligned as we mature in our Christian walk but let us remind ourselves that worship is a lifestyle of sacrifice, commitment, and love to the Lord as a way of exalting Him!
NOTES ON THE TEXT
Basic tips on reading the Psalms
The theme of the psalm is found within the first verse and or sentence.
The refrain is found in the last verse of the psalm and it serves as a conclusion or ending to it.
Now the goal of reading the psalms is to see how the psalmist develops the theme from beginning to the end, so your goal is to build the bridge between the first and last verse. We call this the “DEVELOPMENT” of the psalm.
The psalms were songs that the ancient Israelites used during their worship services so therefore these are very poetic and meant to be sung.
Theme: Bless the LORD, O my soul!
Refrain: Bless the LORD, O my soul! Praise the LORD!
So the goal now is to figure out why we should bless the LORD. Granted today, we won’t hit the whole psalm but from the first half we shall see the reasoning behind the theme according to the psalmist.
V.1 Bless the Lord, O my soul!
O Lord my God, you are very great!
This is the theme and we know that the Lord can bless us but do we know that we have the ability to bless God? How do we bless Him? When we acknowledge Him for who He is and what He has done. To honor Him as if we honor the people in our lives, we too in our worship of God bless the Lord. One way we bless the Lord is our typical worship services or weekly gatherings. I know that with time, the temptation is to see it as a routine of singing songs but the real emphasis behind the worship is that we gather to bless God and be blessed in the process.
A strange thing about pursuing the act of blessing God is that we get blessed in the process! It is more of a blessing to bless others and we forget that we have the ability to do that with God! So next time you sing during service, see it as more than following a praise team but that the praise team is leading us into a place of blessing the one we love and in that we are getting blessed in the process because God loves to give back!
That is the strange thing about being blessed! When someone is blessed they become a blessing to others because when a person knows that they are blessed, then they are at that moment capable of blessing others because they realize what they have and what they can give. You cannot give what you do not have and when you realize that you are blessed is the moment your mind realizes that you can bless others! As for God, He knows He is blessed because He is the source of blessing.
THE REASON WHY WE BLESS THE LORD
5 He set the earth on its foundations,
so that it should never be moved.
6 You covered it with the deep as with a garment;
the waters stood above the mountains.
7 At your rebuke they fled;
at the sound of your thunder they took to flight.
8 The mountains rose, the valleys sank down
to the place that you appointed for them.
9 You set a boundary that they may not pass,
so that they might not again cover the earth.
10 You make springs gush forth in the valleys;
they flow between the hills;
11 they give drink to every beast of the field;
the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12 Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell;
they sing among the branches.
13 From your lofty abode you water the mountains;
the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.
14 You cause the grass to grow for the livestock
and plants for man to cultivate,
that he may bring forth food from the earth
15 and wine to gladden the heart of man,
oil to make his face shine
and bread to strengthen man's heart.
16 The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly,
the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
17 In them the birds build their nests;
the stork has her home in the fir trees.
18 The high mountains are for the wild goats;
the rocks are a refuge for the rock badgers.
The structure of this Psalm follows that of creation that is laid out in the book of Genesis. The main goal of the psalmist for the reason of why we bless God is simply by the fact that He is the creator of the universe. Creation’s main purpose, which includes us, is to bless the Lord. Creation was meant to glorify the creator. Take for instance a painting. The painting may not be a living thing that demands praise but what a beautiful painting does is draw attention to itself but ultimately will direct the praise of people to the painter. I recently went to an art show for one our own congregation member, and the people that were there saw the artwork but didn’t pat the artwork on the back to congratulate it but congratulated the artist behind the art. When we focus primarily in our own blessing and others without the purpose of blessing God ultimately, what we have become are a bunch of art pieces congratulating each other for our existence without realizing the hand of the artist that brought forth our beauty and existence. That is why we must always in our praise and worship, focus on the Lord who is the creator and artist of all creation.
Today we touched upon how to read the psalms and how today’s psalm reminds us that the purpose of praise is about blessing God and blessing him in particular because He is the creator of all the universe. We also concluded that the purpose of creation, like an art piece is to glorify the artist that created it. We must realize that we are beautifully, wonderfully, and fearfully made and that our purpose in life is to glorify God and put Him on display through our lives. Live well for His glory and praise Him through your life!