In our last study we considered the question, “What is worship?” And as we approached what the Bible said regarding worship, we noted mostly what it said regarding our attitude. Attitude plays an important role in our worship. You can have everything else right but if the attitude is wrong, your worship is unacceptable.
As we looked at Psalm 95:1, we noted the attitude of “joy” in coming before the Lord while verse 2 referenced the attitude of “thanksgiving.” Both are commanded in Scripture. The Greek word for "joy" (chara) is found frequently in Matthew and Luke, and especially in John, once in Mark (4:16, , “joy,” , “gladness”); it is absent from (though the verb is used three times), but is frequent in , where the noun is used five times (for 7:4, , see Note below), and the verb eight times, suggestive of the Apostle’s relief in comparison with the circumstances of the 1st Epistle; in Col. 1:11, , “joyfulness,” , “joy.” There are 59 occurrences; translates as “joy” 51 times, “gladness” three times, “joyful” once, “joyous” once, “joyfulness” once, “joyfully” once, and “greatly” once. The basic and most common Hebrew root for joy is śmh, which reflects not only the inner emotion or state of well-being, i.e., “joy,” but also its expression, i.e., “rejoicing.” In fact, the more often refers to the expression than the emotion, as is evident in the Psalms and Prophets. The word “thanksgiving” used in Psalm 95:2 is the Hebrew word towdah and occurs 33 times in the OT. The AV translated it as “thanksgiving” 18 times, “praise” six times, “thanks” three times, “thank offerings” three times, and “confession” twice.
A grateful heart is required in our worship of God. Psalm 69:30 says, “I will praise the name of God with song and magnify Him with thanksgiving.” It’s not just our song that we praise Him with but also our “thanksgiving.” When Israel entered the Temple area, Psalm 110:4 said they were to enter with “thanksgiving.”
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise give thanks to Him, bless His name.”
Beginning at verse 1 through verse 4, the psalmist gives 7 elements of worship.
Shout joyfully (v. 1).
Serve the Lord with gladness (v. 2a).
Come before Him with singing (v. 2b).
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving (v. 4a).
Enter His courts with praise (v. 4b).
Be thankful to Him (v. 4c).
Bless His name (v. 4d).
This, by the way, is what happens when you’re filled with the Spirit.
Ephesians 5:19-20 says, “18And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father. Speaking of Psalm 95:2, Matthew Henry says, “How God is to be praised. 1. With holy joy and delight in him. The praising song must be a joyful noise, v. 1 and again v. 2. Spiritual joy is the heart and soul of thankful praise. It is the will of God (such is the condescension of his grace) that when we give glory to him as a being infinitely perfect and blessed we should, at the same time, rejoice in him as our Father and King, and a God in covenant with us.
The final two attitudes were found in Philippians 2:3 and Colossians 4:2.
Philippians 2:3 focused on doing “nothing from selfishness or empty conceit,” while Colossians 4:2 talked about “prayer.”
All of this is important to worship. Without coming to God with the proper attitude and the proper understanding of who He is, our worship is unacceptable. Before we move to the second question, I left you last time with a challenge from Psalm 37:4, which says, “Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
I asked you to meditate this week on the word “delight.” If you engaged in this activity, you would have realized in order to “delight” in the Lord, you first had to “trust” Him according to verse 3. “Trust” and “delight” go hand-in-hand. I cannot “delight” in someone I do not “trust.”
David is telling Israel to Trust in the Lord and not grow weary over the prosperity of the wicked. They will “fade like the green herb.” “Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.” In other words, don’t follow the temptation to leave the land the Lord has blessed. Dwell in it, be faithful and find all your delight in the Lord.
The word translated “delight” in verse 4 comes from a root that means “to be brought up in luxury, to be pampered.” It speaks of the abundance of the blessings we have in the Lord Himself, totally apart from what He gives us.
To enjoy the blessings and ignore the Blesser is to practice idolatry. In Jesus Christ, we have all God’s treasures, and we need no other. If we truly delight in the Lord, then the chief desire of our heart will be to know Him better so we can delight in Him even more, and the Lord will satisfy that desire! So, delighting in the Lord means we seek and find in him the source of happiness and joy, and not in material possessions. It’s what Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” In other words, let God be the object of your affection. Let Him be the object of your meditation and activity. Take full pleasure in Him.
In Genesis 6, Eve took pleasure in what she heard from the Devil and what she saw on the forbidden tree.
Genesis 3:6 says, “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.
At that moment she no longer found delight in God alone but in something else.
Does this sound like you? God is your delight so long as nothing else comes along to replace Him. On the other hand, the psalmist took pleasure in God and His Word.
Psalm 1:1-2 says, “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.”
In Psalm 40:8, we hear again the psalmist’s delight in God when he says, “I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart.”
This, the psalmist says in Psalm 112:1, is the blessed man. Why? Because he “fears the LORD” and “greatly delights in His commandments.” That is true worship! Does this describe your activity this week? Has God been the object of your conversation with your spouse and kids? What about with your co-workers or even strangers? Has He been the object of your meditation? You say, “Yes, sure!” But did you memorize Scripture this week? Has He been the object of your affections? If He has, then everything else paled in comparison to Him.
John the Baptist said it right when he said in John 3:30, “He [Jesus] must increase, but I must decrease.”
If God wasn’t the object of your affections, meditation, or activity, then you did not “decrease.” You exercised yourself over God. And that, my friend, is no different than what the Devil did in Isaiah 14. For God to “increase” in your life, you have to die to your self, your affections, pleasures, activities, and whatever else that takes your attention away from Him. That is no different when we talk about worship. Think about this for a moment. Although the Bible is clear about how and whom and when we are to worship, little genuine worship takes place today. Why? Because much of it is an attitude problem or an unbiblical perception of worship.
Warren Wiersbe says, “Too often Christian “praise” is nothing but religious entertainment and it never moves into spiritual enrichment in the presence of the Lord. Our singing must give way to silence as we bow before the Lord. He alone is Jehovah, the Lord, the covenant-making and covenant-keeping God. He is our Maker and our Shepherd. (See 23 and John 10.) Jubilation has its place only if it becomes adoration and we are prostrate before the Lord in total submission, “lost in wonder, love, and praise.” But worship doesn’t stop just at our attitudes. It goes further into what I want us to address in our second question...
WHAT IS WORSHIP?
Our answer, “Worship is prostrating oneself before a superior being with a sense of respect, awe, reverence, honor, and homage.”
Now, the second question is...
WHO ARE WE TO WORSHIP?
Jesus gives us the answer to this question in Matthew 4:10 when responding to Satan’s offer to give Jesus the world in exchange for worship.
Quoting from Deuteronomy 6:13, He said, “Go, Satan! For it is written, 'YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.'"
Who are we to worship?
“the LORD your God”
We are to worship no other person. Today we have to define who God is because there are so many people using this name but meaning someone entirely different from the Bible. In the passage Jesus quotes, He identifies God by the tetragrammaton or 4 letters YHWH or Yahweh. This is the name given to Moses in Exodus 3:14, the “I AM.” (Yahweh) God is known by many names in the Bible like Elohim or El Shaddai (God Almighty) or El Elyon (the Most High God).Here He is identified as Yahweh, the “I AM,” the self-existent God. The only true God.
Exodus 20 records the giving of the Ten Commandments. The very first of those commandments calls for and regulates worship:
God says, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 "You shall have no other gods before Me. 4"You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.”
When he says “Before Me” at the end of verse 3, it may be understood as “besides me” (, ) or “in my presence” (Durham). The New Jerusalem Bible () has “You shall have no other gods to rival me,” and The Translator’s OT () has “You must not defy me by acknowledging other gods.” The Today’s English Version () is clear and accurate, “Worship no god but me,” and the Contemporary English Version () has “Do not worship any god except me.” All false gods stand in opposition to the true God, and the worship of them is incompatible with the worship of Yahweh. As is clear from Exodus 20:2-5, God is a jealous God. He will not give His glory to another. Isaiah 42:8 says, “I am the LORD, that is My Name; I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to graven images” (NKJV). It’s clear as you study the Bible that there is a Trinity.
From the very first verse of the Bible, Genesis 1:1, we hear, “In the beginning God.” The Hebrew word for “God” in this verse is the name I mentioned earlier.
It’s the name Elohim (im is plural) which means this singular God exists in a form of plurality. Since that is the case, it should be no surprise to see Jesus the second member of the Trinity receiving worship.
Who are we to worship? Yahweh God! and secondly...
This is not the worship of another God. He is God. The singular God existing is a form of plurality is seen in the Scripture as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. These three are one God not three. The Jehovah’s Witnesses make the mistake of saying that Jesus is another god in John 1:1. But Scripture makes it very clear that He is one with the Father and the Holy Spirit. He is God incarnate (John 1:1, 14). And when you consider this in light of worship, throughout His ministry, He never refused worship because He is God. He didn’t respond like the angel who told John not to do that. No, he accepted their worship. After His resurrection, Matthew 28:7 says when He appeared to His disciples in Galilee, “they worshiped Him.” Again, you don’t hear Him saying, “Do not do that!” In Matthew 14 after He comes to His disciples in the midst of a storm walking on the water, it says in verses 32-33, “When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, ‘You are certainly God’s Son!’” They worshiped Jesus because everything He did and said pointed to the reality that He is God! Listen to Hebrews 1 in light of this:
“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they. 5 For to which of the angels did He ever say, “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You”? And again, “I will be a Father to Him And He shall be a Son to Me”? 6 And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, “And let all the angels of God worship Him.” 7 And of the angels He says, “Who makes His angels winds, And His ministers a flame of fire.” 8 But of the Son He says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, And the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom. 9 “You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness above Your companions.”
Now, we must not forget about...
“The Holy Spirit”
He is a member of the Trinity. He equally deserves our adoration. Philippians 3:3 says, “For we are the true circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh” (NKJV). Though the Spirit came to testify about Jesus according to John 16:13-14, as a member of the Trinity, He too receives worship, especially when we yield to Him as Ephesians 5:18 says.
So we are to worship God in totality as the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.
We are to worship Him only! He is a jealous God. He will not share His glory with another. When we fail to worship God properly, we experience His chastening, some His judgment. John MacArthur says, “God repeatedly judged those who failed to worship Him properly. When the people of Israel worshiped the golden calf, God mercifully mitigated His initial righteous reaction, which would have been the utter destruction of the nation, and only slaughtered thousands of them. It stands as a graphic illustration of how God feels about false worship.”
In Leviticus 10 we hear the ordination of the priesthood of Nadab and Abihu.
These were the sons of Aaron the high priest. They had spent all their life for this moment--to offer worship to God on behalf of the people of Israel. They had been prepared, trained, and now they were to be ordained. In their first real function as priest, we are told they offered “strange fire.” This, according to verse 1, was that “which [God] had not commanded them.” In other words, they did not do what was prescribed to be done as priests, leading the people in worship.They acted independently of the revelation of God regarding proper worship, and instantly God killed both of them.
What could be said about your worship?
Do you worship idols?
Do you worship other gods?
Do you worship yourself?
There are times when we probably would have to answer yes to those questions because we have fallen down to idols. We might not be guilty of worshiping other gods but we have certainly worshiped ourselves. Every time we disobey God’s Word we are worshiping ourselves.
Did you "delight" in the Lord this week? How?
Why is it important to have the proper view of God?
How does this affect your worship?
How did you worship the Lord this morning?