Praise and Worship

July 19, 2018

By Peter Amsterdam

Audio length: 7:48
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“Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise Him in the heights! Praise Him, all His angels; praise Him, all His hosts! Praise Him, sun and moon, praise Him, all you shining stars! Praise Him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the LORD! For He commanded and they were created. Let them praise the name of the LORD, for His name alone is exalted; His majesty is above earth and heaven.”—Psalm 148:1–5, 131

Praise is foundational to worship as we verbally acknowledge God’s worth. When we praise God, we are worshipping Him for who He is.

Thanksgiving is an integral part of worship as well. We give thanks to God for everything He has done and continues to do, and especially for our salvation. “I will recount all of Your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.”2

When we come before the Lord, worshipping Him for who He is and what He’s done, we often become more acutely aware of our “humanness,” especially our limitations, weaknesses, shortcomings, and sins. This puts us in an attitude of humility and contrition.

When the prophet Isaiah saw the Lord sitting on His throne, the train of His robe filling the temple, the angels around Him saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory,” and the temple filled with smoke, his reaction was one of humility and contrition. He said, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”3

The holiness and perfection of God brought Isaiah a profound sense of uncleanliness, of sin. He was humbled and contrite. Likewise, we should come before the Lord in worship with a similar sense of our unworthiness, along with great thanks for our salvation, which allows us to come into His presence as one of His children.

Reading more of Isaiah’s experience, we find that after seeing the Lord and receiving atonement for his sin, he heard a call of service. “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” He responded with: “Here am I! Send me.”4 Being in the presence of the Lord brought with it the desire to serve God.

The apostle Paul referred to our service to the Lord as being a form of worship when he wrote: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”5 Motivation to do God’s will, to answer His call, to serve Him, is both part of our worship and a result of our worship.

As we enter into His gates with thanksgiving, into His courts with praise; as we give thanks to Him and bless His name and all He is; as we express our deep love for Him; as we reverence and honor Him and extol His excellence; and as we come before Him in humility and contrition, we worship God as He seeks to be worshipped, in spirit and in truth.

As believers, we are called to worship both privately and publicly or corporately. The expectation is that we will worship together with other Christians at times. When we gather with others to praise the Lord and to pray together, there are elements which are not present when we worship and pray alone. We are given a glimpse of believers worshipping together in heaven in the book of Revelation:

Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”6

Corporate worship, however, isn’t enough; we are to worship Him individually as well. In the Gospels we read that Jesus attended synagogue as well as various religious festivals in the temple at Jerusalem, which were the appropriate places of worship in His day. But He also arose early in the morning and went off by Himself to commune with His Father. Jesus spoke of private worship when He said: “Go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”7

Any successful relationship requires an investment of effort to keep it strong, and our relationship with the Lord is no different. Being relationally close to God requires that we commune with Him in worship and prayer; that we respond to Him with love, honor, and reverence; that we praise and thank Him; that we delight ourselves in Him.8

Worship requires effort on our part to regularly devote time to worshipping the Lord. It takes determination and commitment to consistently enter into the Lord’s presence in spirit and truth. Worship is more than a set routine of prayer, praise, and singing; it’s spiritually entering into God’s presence, it’s connecting our spirit with His. As Donald Whitney wrote: “The waters of worship should never stop flowing from our heart, for God is always God and always worthy of worship.”

Worship should be part of our conversation with God throughout our day. When we look at God’s creation, a mother with a baby, the stars in the night sky, when we think about the Lord, we can give honor, praise, and thanksgiving to the Lord for His wonderful works, for what He’s done and who He is. When we meditate on His Word, when we think of the blessings He has bestowed upon us, the mercy He’s shown us, the grace He’s given us, when we pray and seek Him, these are all times we can worship Him.

The more we verbalize who God is and what He’s done, the more present He becomes in every aspect of our daily lives. When we are regularly acknowledging His love, compassion, mercy, kindness, and justice, we embrace these virtues ourselves and are more likely to strive to emulate these in our interactions with others. When we praise Him for His power, His presence, His omniscience, it reminds us that He is always here, that He knows everything about us, that He created us, and that He knows the thoughts and intents of our hearts. Remembering this can strengthen our resolve to do our best to live in accordance with His Word, to treat others with love, and to do to others as we want them to do to us.

Worship in spirit and truth should be at the very core of our relationship with God our Creator.

“Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.”—Psalm 95:6; 29:29

Originally published May 2014. Adapted and republished July 2018.
Read by Jon Marc.

1 ESV.

2 Psalm 9:1–2 ESV.

3 Isaiah 6:1–5 ESV.

4 Isaiah 6:6–8.

5 Romans 12:1.

6 Revelation 5:11–12 ESV.

7 Matthew 6:6.

8 Psalm 37:4.

9 ESV.

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