October 13, 2016
Enjoy this post on worship by Dr. Becky Luman in light of our topic for Tranform:ED last week: worship. Podcasts of those sessions will be available on our podcasts page shortly.
by Dr. Becky Luman
Psalm 100 New International Version
1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
This short song is a call to worship God with reasons given as to why God is worthy. John Stott, Anglican scholar, said that worship is a combination of adoration and surrender. In adoration, we are emotionally and intellectually moved with wonder, admiration, and love for our incredible Lord. The reasonable response to such awe is surrender, to give to him our possessions, our time, our energy—our very lives and selves.
The basis for our adoration is the marvelous character of God. He is our Creator who brought us into being. He is our sustaining shepherd who guards and guides us as his own sheep (verse 3).
Verse 5 states that God is good. That fact was a wondrous and revolutionary revelation to Jews living in an era when a plethora of gods around them were revered and feared. The gods of the nations had to be appeased, for they were portrayed as indifferent or hostile toward humankind. That a god would be good, that it would have the welfare of its people at heart, set Yahweh apart from other so-called gods. God’s character is further defined as eternal love and generational faithfulness to his people.
In light of the fact of God’s goodness, his portrayal as a faithful shepherd, the song writer calls us to worship (adore and surrender to) this loving Creator. A jubilant exuberance is appropriate for this worship. “Shout for joy!” Gladness and joyful song are appropriate expressions. The attitudes and outcome of worship should be praise (extolling God’s character) and thanksgiving (gratitude for his deeds of kindness for us).
Warren Wiersbe said that “Worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness; the nourishment of mind with His truth; the purifying of imagination by His beauty; the opening of the heart to His love; the surrender of will to His purpose–and all of this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin.” (The Integrity Crisis, 1991, p. 119.)
The Book of Revelation pictures worship as the daily activity of heaven. Let’s “tune up” here on earth for our eternal occupation by learning to worship well.