Word of God for Today Posts

Psalm 111

It is rare that an element of worship gets its own holiday.  I don’t know how you feel about Thanksgiving Day, but I am a huge fan, maybe because it is obviously a holiday designed by a guy.  After all, it combines all of the ingredients of a guy’s perfect day: tons of food, loads of football, and naps.  While these elements are fun (for the guys) what is great about Thanksgiving is that we typically take the time to thank God for the many ways that he has blessed us.

Even though giving thanks gets its own special day, if we want to pursue true worship, we need to express our thanks to God every day.  In addition to adoration and confession, thanksgiving plays a major role in our worship.

In 1 Thessalonians 5, Paul calls on us to give thanks in all circumstances.  God has provided for us in so many ways.  We have the basic necessities such as food, water, and shelter.  In addition to these things, we are thankful for transportation, jobs, friends, and for just being alive.

In our comparison-based society it is so easy for us to see what others have and believe that we are somehow deprived.  However, when we have a spirit of thanksgiving, we know that what we do have has been given to us by our God.  We are able to thank him for every blessing.

In Psalm 111 the psalmist thanks God for several things.  He thanks God for providing food.  He thanks God for the lands where his people live.  He thanks God for his precepts which help direct the people to a fuller life.

The psalmist also thanks God for God’s promise of redemption.  Understand that the psalmist is praising God’s promise because they have not yet experienced the fulfillment of that promise.  That would occur many years later when Jesus would come and redeem his people and pay the price for their sin.  How much more should we thank God as we are the redeemed people who have experienced the fulfillment of this promise.   If we had nothing else to thank God for, his salvation should be enough to satisfy our hearts.

Reflection
Take a few minutes and think of the things that God has provided for you just today.  Spend some time thanking God for the little things, the big things, the past things, and the promises of future things.  Most of all, thank him for the redemption that you have experienced.

Pursuing True Worship

Psalm 51

Another element of our worship is our recognition that we fall short of the glory of God each day.  When we encounter God, we become aware of our sin.  In response to seeing our sins, we are called confess these sins to God.  While the saying “confession is good for the soul” seems to be true, confessing our sins to God is not an easy thing to do.

It helps to know what real confession looks like.  One of the best examples of confession is Psalm 51.  Psalm 51 is somewhat unique in that we are told the exact circumstances of its origin in the title.  This psalm is a response of David to the situation that he found himself in after committing a set of grievous sins against God and his people.

Nathan, a prophet, helps David see just how wrong David has been.  David has committed adultery and murder, and as he comes to terms with his sin, he knows that he must now face his God.  The result is this psalm which serves as one of the most honest depictions of true confession before God.

While we may not have sinned in the fashion of David, the truth is that we don’t go a day without sinning.  We are an imperfect people, and we need God’s forgiveness.  However, we know from 1 John 1:9 that when we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive them.

What a joy it is that God does not desire that we should punish ourselves or even make some sacrifice in order to receive forgiveness.  As verses 16 and 17 state, God simply desires that our hearts be broken over our sin.  What is even more joyous is that our confession does not lead to shame.  Instead, our confession allows God to create in us a clean heart.  With that clean heart we are able to worship our God without fear or pause.

Reflection
Confession is never easy, but it is so important.  Take time to consider the ways that you have sinned against God recently.  As you reflect on the sins that you have committed against God and the people around you, consider making these words of David your own.  Speak them to God recognizing that his forgiveness is freely given to those who now claim Christ’s righteousness.  We no longer need a sacrifice to make things right because Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice for us.  After you confess your sins through the words of this psalm, celebrate the righteousness that God has given you through Christ.

Pursuing True Worship

Psalm 65

I have always wondered what it would be like to be a major celebrity.  I cannot imagine having people crowding around you just so you can write your name on a piece of paper or a shirt.  I am sure that after a while having people take pictures with me in the grocery store would get old, but right now it seems like it would be pretty cool.

It is amazing how much our culture celebrates celebrities.  Whether they are musicians or athletes, people simply adore being in their presence.  In our most sane moments, we should see this adoration as strange and misguided.  Celebrities are, after all, human beings just like us.

While giving adoration to celebrities is misplaced, showing adoration towards God is not.   If we understand adoration as the act of paying honor and giving praise to someone or something, we can see that adoration should play a major role in our worship of our God.  As we consider what true worship looks like, the role of adoration in worship is a great place to start.

Adoration of God is a major theme in the book of Psalms.  Psalms 65 is a perfect example of a song of adoration towards our God who is full of mercy and power.  The psalm reminds us that God is our Savior, our hope, our provider, and our joy.  When we praise God for these things, we are giving him our adoration.

Adoration and praise allow us to remember and experience God’s gracious acts every time we encounter him.  When we praise him for deliverance or for healing, we are giving him adoration.  When we remember his kindness to us, we are giving him adoration.  When we recognize all that he has provided for us, we are giving him adoration.  When we consider these things, it is easy to understand why only God would be worthy or true worship and praise.

Reflection
One of the best ways to celebrate our God is to ask who God is to you.  Of course God is God, but how do you relate to him at this time in your life?  Do you see him as healer?  Then praise him for his healing.  Do you see him as provider?  Then praise him for his provision.  In whatever way you see God, take a few minutes to praise him for that.  Thank him for the work that he has done in your life and take time to be filled with awe at his wonders.

 

Pursuing True Worship

Psalm 95

The pursuit of worship of our God is the noblest pursuit.  Worship takes many forms, but at its heart, true worship begins with a calling.  We are called into worship by the joy and honor that we experience in our God.

Psalm 95 is a call to worship our God.  As we begin to understand what true worship looks like, we start by understanding who God truly is. As the psalm tells us, our God is a great God who is the Rock of our salvation.  He is the basis of the hope that we have.

Our response to God and his character is one of devotion, and out of that devotion, we are obedient to his voice.  We hear his voice in many ways.  Sometimes it comes across clearly as we study the Bible.  Sometimes we feel God’s leading as we encounter a situation where we are dependent upon him for answers.  Other times we hear it through a sermon or a song.  When we hear his call on our life, we remember that we are called to worship him and to stand in awe of his work and his word.

True worship celebrates God for who he is and for what he has done.  True worship also celebrates the work that God will do in the future in us and in the world.  We worship God because he is the only thing truly worthy of our worship and of our devotion.

We sing because God is great.  We pray because God is all-powerful.  We believe because we have heard his voice call to us with an offer of salvation.  When we accept his offer, we are given the privilege to worship him.

These are the seeds of true worship.

Reflection
Take a few minutes to consider how you view worship.  Why do you worship?  What do you hope will happen in your worship?

Then take a few minutes to consider the times that you have heard God’s voice.  When have you felt the call to do something?  Have you ever encountered God’s word and found that your heart needed to change?

Pursuing True Worship