Last time we looked at worship and we saw that worship was all about our submitting to God and what he is calling us to. Even when we just don’t get it. Especially when we just don’t get it.
We saw that worshipping God is a lifestyle and it is about what goes on inside us as part of giving our lives to God as living sacrifices.
Praise on the other hand, is external. The Old Testament word for praise is yadah, and it means an outward expression, a confession. Praise is out loud and it flows from our worship.
This sounds like it getting closer to the songs …?
Yep. Let’s go have a look, although be warned the results might surprise you.
Just before we get into the song, we see in Deut 31:15-22, God instructing Moses to write down His song – that’s how we know God wrote it. But look at what God says about why He is writing this song.
He recognises that His people are going to do some dumb things. They are going to chase other things. They are going to worship other things, and so God writes this song as a warning. A warning? That doesn’t sound like a regular Sunday morning to me. Maybe there’s more to the whole song thing than we’ve experienced.
On the other side of the song in Deut 32:46,47, we see Moses encouraging the people to learn the song because it is life to them. Hmmm … a warning that brings life. Intriguing.
OK, this is definitely not sounding like any song I’ve sung on Sunday.
Remember what we have been talking about. Worship, our inward submission to God. This song is all about God calling us back to worship. It brings in the realisation that at times we walk away and chase other things, and so is intended to serve as a warning, a reminder, a calling back that God alone is who we worship.
It’s a confession … about the nature of God and the nature of man.
OK. OK. So what about all the other songs? What about the Psalms? Are they the same?
Just before we get into the Psalms, it’s useful to understand a bit about David who is the main man when it comes to the Psalms.
Acts 13:22 tells us David was a man after God’s own heart (see also 1 Kings 15:3-5). David got it. David’s heart was towards God. In fact the 1 Kings passage says David’s heart was perfect (whole) with God. In short, David got worship. Because of this, David also got praise.
There is a lot we can learn about David and what his heart opened up for him. Among other things, it was David that revolutionised how we express our worship.
However, it may surprise you that although the Psalms cover lots of different ground and themes, underlying them is this ongoing confession from David about who he is, who God is, what’s happening in his circumstances, and his trust in God.
There’s something in that right there. David praised good or bad, rain or shine, because David worshipped good or bad, rain or shine.
But also, look at what David said. It wasn’t “everything is awesome”, like the lego movie song … and some of our Sunday songs … but a more gut level “I’m stuffed, God where are you?”
(If you haven’t had the joy of the lego movie song, check it out here, but be warned it has a tendency to stick in your head.)
There is a rawness in the Psalms that is about David putting it all out there. He wasn’t glossing it up with everything is fine statements. He was declaring things, confessing things, about where he was at. It was authentic. It was real.
I’ll leave it to you to decide what was more impacting and which you’ll remember more.
So God used a song for us to confess and remember. And David used songs to confess and remember.
Last time, we talked about worship being a lifestyle. So is praise because it flows from the worship lifestyle, just like with David.
So … when all the choices are hard, or when tragedy strikes, where does our heart go? What do we confess with our lips? What is our praise?
Whatever it is, it will come from our heart of worship. If we have built a lifestyle of worship, then like David we will praise good or bad, rain or shine, because we know God is in control.
“It is well with my soul”.
An incredible story of a man’s worship of God, confessed in praise in a most tragic time.
Hmmm .. this wasn’t what I expected when we got to the songs. No me either, but to be honest, while the authenticity of real praise challenges me, it also gives me great hope because I can see that in whatever circumstances I am in, God is in control … and that I always want to be confessing and remembering.
Thanks again to Kelvin & Veronica for leading us through the past few sessions on worship. Surprising, enlightening, entertaining and challenging! Let this sink in and then give some thought to how we build on the foundation they've helped build with us as we find our way to bring different aspects of praise and worship into our practices together as The Local...but always in that focus on lives lived in submission to him and reminding each other that He is God and we are not. If you find a song a clip an image or anything else that leads you to worship, let us know, bring it along and share it when we gather. Thanks again Kelvin and Vee!