A Call to Glorify and Enjoy God
LET US WORSHIP GOD BECAUSE OF WHO HE IS.
Shout for joy to God, all the earth; sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise! Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you. All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name.” Selah (Psalm 66:1-4)
The inspired minister of worship calls us to shout, sing, praise, and speak. Should not we follow his lead and obey? Friends, let us talk to ourselves. Let us talk to others. Let us talk about God, but most importantly, let us talk to God. May that which we sense in our heart, feel in our emotions, and think with our minds, come pouring forth from our lips. Today, let us add our individual voices to the global choir as men, women, boys, and girls from all the earth laud God’s name, character, power, and awesome deeds. Why would we be numbered amongst God’s enemies who have been, are, and will be forced to come cringing before him. Instead, willingly, lovingly, and wisely, let us bow our knees and our hearts. Let us open the Holy Book and our unholy eyes. Let us look about and remember the truth about our God. Then, let us open our lips — worship, disciple, and evangelize — and give God the vocal worship he deserves and desires.
LET US WORSHIP GOD BECAUSE OF WHO HE IS AND BECAUSE OF WHAT HE HAS DONE FOR US.
The Bible contains story after story of God’s awesome deeds towards the children of man. In particular, God’s Sacred Book presents his providential care for his one family, one people, one nation, and one multi-generational and multi-ethnic church. The Psalmist helps us worship by pointing out two particular episodes of God’s awesome deeds:
Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man. He turned the sea into dry land; they passed through the river on foot. There did we rejoice in him, who rules by his might forever, whose eyes keep watch on the nations— let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah (Psalm 66:5-7)
God dominated Pharaoh and the Egyptians while showing great affection towards Moses and the Israelites. His awesome might was displayed as he poured out his plagues, turned the Red Sea into a dry and firm road, and delivered his elect from their bondage.
Forty years later God showed his might in a similar fashion. The Israelites encountered the overflowing Jordan River at the entrance to Canaan. It was then that God instructed them to march forward. As they obeyed in faith, and as soon as their priests’ feet touched the water, the river gathered in columns on the side so that Israel could march forward into the Land of Promise.
Oh friends, this is that which God did for them, an this is that which God did for us — for we are attached to that one family, one people, one nation, and one multi-generational and multi-ethnic church. Therefore, with the Psalmist who is writing centuries later, “there did we rejoice in him.”
And now the commitment of God to his one family causes us to rejoice again.” Their Heavenly Father is our Heavenly Father. He continues to be the Omnipotent One who forever reigns. He is still the Omnipresent and Omniscient One who keeps watch on all the nations.
Some, in response to this — the rebellious and foolish — exalt themselves. But not us, we will fall down, bow down, get up and dance. We will raise our eyes, raise our hands, and then raise our voices. He is God. He is our God. We are his people. Aren’t you getting the sense that it is time for us to glorify and enjoy our Heavenly Father together?
LET US WORSHIP GOD, EVEN THOUGH HE HAS CAUSED AND ALLOWED GREAT HARM TO BEFALL US.
The Psalmist continues to call us to worship God, even though our sovereign God is the same one who calls and causes us to suffer:
Bless our God, O peoples; let the sound of his praise be heard, who has kept our soul among the living and has not let our feet slip. For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs; you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance. I will come into your house with burnt offerings; I will perform my vows to you, that which my lips uttered and my mouth promised when I was in trouble. I will offer to you burnt offerings of fattened animals, with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams; I will make an offering of bulls and goats. Selah (Psalm 66:8-15)
He is our God. He loves us with an everlasting love. However, as a part of his mysterious and good plan, he tests, tries, purifies, nets, burdens, crushes, and allows wicked men to ride over our heads for a season. At times, it seems like we are drowning. At other times, it seems like we are being consumed in his flame. However, his love will not let us go. He waves our souls, secures our feet, and soothes us in his place of abundance.
Yes friends, we have seen this over and over again in Scripture. We have seen this pattern in world history, our history, and we will experience this in our future as well. But know this, our end will be paradise — God’s place of abundance. And some of us have tasted the bounty of the Lord on this side of eternity.
Therefore, how do we respond? Like the Psalmist, we get to travel to and assemble at at God’s local house of worship. We get to remember and keep the vows and commitments we made in time of sorrow, supplication, and salvation. We get to offer to God the best sacrifices possible. It used to be burnt offerings, but under the New Covenant of Grace, knowing that God does not delight in burnt offerings, we get to offer him submissive and willing obedience from a love-filled heart.
LET US WORSHIP GOD BECAUSE OF WHO HE IS, AND THAT DESPITE OUR HEINOUS SINS, HE HAS CHERISHED OUR SOULS.
The Psalmist calls himself and his hearers to worship. Let us hear the inspired prophet promise us God’s loving attention as we repent, glorify, and enjoy the Lord in worship:
Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul. I cried to him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me! (Psalm 66:16-20)
Scripture tells us the “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Well, those who fear, come near, and hear, they all join with the Psalmist in proclaiming what God has done for their souls. They know they were filled with iniquity. However, troubled by God’s Holy Spirit, they found themselves cherishing not their devilish sin. Therefore, because they admitted their transgressions and talked with their Saving Mediator about their condition, God listened to them. He grants repentance, faith, salvation, sainthood, and sanctification to those who fear and come near. Again, this causes the Psalmist and his friends to present high praise from their lips, and it should cause us to rejoice afresh right now. As we go to God, confess our sin, repent, and believe the Gospel, as we talk to him about his holiness and our longing for holiness, he hears and helps. How fantastic it is to be the penitent worshiper. How fantastic it is to know that God will not reject our prayer or remove his steadfast love from us.
Friends, you have been summoned to worship. Now, do not merely read such a summons and go on about your way. Shout, sing, give praise, and speak with him now. Go through the Bible and see anew what he has done. Bless your God, perform your vows, obey, and give him the honor he deserves. Come and hear all you who fear God. Bless him because he has blessed you. Bless him because he rejects not your prayers or removes his steadfast love from you.