We had a dessert contest, several lectures, an all-night whole-hog roast, many meals together, yard games, and a variety show! The theme of the lectures was "Worship" and I feel like we barely scratched the surface of how much there is to learn about it! The more I learn of these things, the more I realize just how awesome God is. As it should be, I suppose.
We took a break from Romans yesterday (yes, I realized I never blogged last week's church outfit or the week before. I'm going to try to get to that after this deadline is done-- I looooved the colors of them!) to continue learning about worship. So excited to share with you what I learned. Our text was Psalm 95.
Psalm 95 shows us the two responses, or attitudes towards the Lord that we should have as we come before the Lord to worship Him at church. We call them responses because God is calling His people to worship and we respond to that call. Verses 1-5 show us the response:
Oh come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the Lord is the great God,
And the great King above all gods.
In His hand are the deep places of the earth;
The heights of the hills are His also.
The sea is His, for He made it;
And His hands formed the dry land.
1) Rejoicing exuberance. In these verses, the words "sing" and "shout" are the same word in the Hebrew. The translators tried to get the reality of what the word means across by translating it in two ways. It means a ringing, shouting, cry! To make a loud, qualified noise (aka not the loud noise of a machine) with joyfulness and deliberateness. It's the word God used when he told the Israelites to shout around the wall of Jericho on the 7th day and when Gideon and his men broke their pots and shouted, "For the sword of the Lord and Gideon!" The psalmist is telling us that this is how we should come to worship.
"Oh come," is a phrase that means to make haste to come. We should make haste and come and want to shout like that! We should be excited to enter this most important time of the week with utter excitement and vigor!
The second attitude we should have towards the great King above all gods as we come into His presence is spoken of in verses 6-7:
Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture,
And the sheep of His hand.
2) Humble adoration. Let us worship and bow down in reverence. This may seem contradictory to our first attitude, but these responses are not either/or, but both/and. Verse 6 says worship means to bow down to our superior. What's going on in the mind of the inferior as he humbles himself? This is a term of action and posture. Solomon prayed on his knees at the dedication of the temple. The priests prayed with hands upraised for the morning and evening sacrifices. Bodily postures both express and influence the posture of the heart. Exuberant joy and reverent humility are never opposites, but are heart attitudes we ought to have.
Throughout this Psalm, we learn the reason we should come worship the Lord; verses 3, 6, 7, etc, mention that the Lord is a great king, the sovereign God of creation. Why are we bowing? Because He is our Maker and He deserves our worship just by who He is. Lest we are intimidated by our great God, verse 7 reminds us that He is our caring Shepherd and we have a very personal relationship with this King we are here to worship.
So far, this Psalm has been very upbeat and comforting. Lest we grow soft, the Psalmist finishes with a warning about having a non-worshipful spirit:
Today, if you will hear His voice:
“Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion,
As in the day of trial in the wilderness,
When your fathers tested Me;
They tried Me, though they saw My work.
For forty years I was grieved with that generation,
And said, ‘It is a people who go astray in their hearts,
And they do not know My ways.’
So I swore in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest.’”
"Do not harden your hearts." This is a command, a prohibition. We need to be warned about what the opposite of worship is: a hard heart. What is that exactly? The psalmist references events that unfolded at Maribah, when His people complained, worshiped their own idols, and were hardened towards the things that excite God. What does this look like for us who are not wandering in the desert looking for water? Do we come to worship with humble adoration or do we feel like, "Well, I went to church this week, God owes me now"? Complaining is not worship.
I was personally convicted over the weekend that often my posture is, "I need worship today. I need fed!" which, although it's true and worship is a means of grace to us and does nourish me, it can be too self-centered. I need it. You've heard me say that before here. Maybe more so I should be going to church to give. Give myself, give my heart, give my worship. God owes me nothing. I owe Him everything.
I love the buzz of expectation that makes our church hum on Sunday morning. We are all anticipating our favorite 2 hours of the week, those hours that we meet with God with His people and commune with Him. He is there! And I need to be eager to come with humility, reverence, and an ability to shout because I'm just.so.excited.
Also, isn't this belt awesome? I found it when we were cleaning out my great-aunt and great-grandmother's closet and instantly knew I had to find an outfit for it. I like to give myself little fashion challenges like that to keep me thinking creatively about my wardrobe. It took several months, but I finally found an outfit it worked with. :)
Sweater: Thrift store? $3
Skirt: Made by me: Pattern Butterick 3134: $5?
Hat: Target: $20
Headband: Made by me
Boots: Shoe Carnival: $35
Earrings: Borrowed from sister