worshipCongratulations on your quest through God’s Word!  Today we arrive at the 2/3 mark through the Book of Psalms.  As we have read through these various hymns and songs which make up the Psalms – we have seen a wide range of emotions… stemming from fear and doubt to despondency to an exaltation of joy.  Psalm 100 is a little psalm which provides us with great instruction on how we should worship the Lord.

I am always amazed at how many people feel that how we worship is simply a matter of personal preference.  Many Christians seem to view worship as wrapped up in a certain style of music or personality.  For instance – if you attend a church where the Pastor has a more conservative personality, then your worship may be more traditional – with just a piano/organ and possibly singing only hymns out of a hymnal.  On the other hand – if your Pastor is a bit on the wild side – your church may have more upbeat music with drums and guitars (and smoke machines).  In fact, churches do cover a wide array of styles…  from loud music to no music at all – but (as in everything we are trying to do), what does God tell us our worship should be like?  Is it really all about personal preference or do we have some guidelines that we should be following?

I believe part of that answer is found in Psalm 100.  Within this psalm are several keys to what it looks like when God’s people gather and worship Him.

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all you lands

Serve the Lord with gladness! Come before His presence with singing! 

Know (perceive, recognize, and understand with approval) that the Lord is God! It is He Who has made us, not we ourselves [and we are His]!

We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. 

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and a thank offering and into His courts with praise!  Be thankful and say so to Him, bless and affectionately praise His name! 

For the Lord is good; His mercy and loving-kindness are everlasting, His faithfulness and truth endure to all generations.

First of all – notice that this begins as a command.  The psalmist makes it quite clear that this is an expectation of those who are God’s people.  According to the psalmist – not only will God’s people worship God this way – but the very land will as well (vs 1)!    Next – notice the word “joyful noise”.  This is the Hebrew word ruwa – and it literally means “to split the ears with sound; to blow an alarm”.   Already this worship service is a far cry from what we see in so many churches today.  It isn’t polite nor soft – but instead is loud and alarming.  It is the picture of a joyful (not depressing) worshiper who is declaring the wonders of God at the top of their lungs!

Next we see that the psalmist speaks of “coming before the Lord presence” this way (vs 2).  He also speaks of “entering His gates with thanksgiving” and “His courts with praise” (vs 4).   These provide us with more details regarding how we should worship our King.  The word for thanksgiving is towdah and it means “an extension of the hand in adoration” and the word “praise” speaks of a song of love and devotion.  This is not simply how we END up in our worship (as if God has to prove Himself to us to deserve our affection)… but more so it is how we ENTER.  The proper time of worship begins with praise and expectation based on what God has already done (namely Jesus on the cross).  We sing and declare our love for Him based on His goodness as revealed in the past… not on what He will do for us in the future.

Finally – the psalmist tells us to “give thanks to Him and praise His name” (vs 4).  The original word for “thanks” is yadah and it means to “revere or worship with extended hands”.  As well, the word for “praise” is barak and it means “to kneel and bless the King as an act of adoration”.  This speaks quite clearly of our body posture during worship.  It is not one of folded arms or hands in our pockets – but instead one of arms lifted in reverence and then bowing over in humble adoration.

Obviously – we are not robots and God is not seeking a people who will simply follow the rules when it comes to worshiping Him, but it also is not all a matter of personal choice.  As Believers – Followers of Jesus – we should be overflowing with love and adoration for our King.  It isn’t the rhythm or whether we “like the songs” which dictates our attitude of praise – but the fact that the “Lord is good and faithful” (vs 5).  When we come together in our faith community, we should already be in the frame of mind as a worshiper of our King.  My emotions – my experiences that week – my present attitude should not be the controlling factor in how much I participate (or don’t participate) in corporate worship.

May this encourage you the next time you gather together to worship the Lord, to throw up your hands and give Him all of your heart.  You just might see other changes in your life come as well!

Be Fruitful & Multiply,