Psalm 105:4 Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always
On Sunday the worship team did a wonderful job and when one of the leaders broke out into praise in Spanish I almost felt like I was back at our old home church where our praise alternated between English and Portuguese. But if you were following this conversation yesterday you know that we did not look at corporate praise as wonderful as that is but instead at the first two of four different kinds of silent worship in Psalm 105. While these are unseen, they are not less important than playing singing, blowing trumpets and dancing, which were all accepted forms of public praise in the Old Testament. The invisible parts of our worship life are like the roots that support trees and keep them alive and growing even through the quiet dormant seasons of the year. So this morning let’s dive into the second pairing of how we worship without words.
Look to the Lord and His strength When we come to worship the first thing we must notice is not the décor of the sanctuary, the outfits of the worship team or the appearance of the person next to us. What we need to see is invisible and that is The Lord and His strength. That is because as Corrie Ten Boom once said,
“If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God you’ll be at rest.”
Worship must begin from a place at rest. Everything around us wants to take away the rest Jesus offers and replace it with some form of urgency. Our minds fill with ideas of this or that which must be done tomorrow, physical pain in our body reminds us of our human frailty or hurtful memories clamor for attention like spoiled children at a candy counter. But if just for a moment we first look to the Lord, immediately the strength of His arms will hold us and we will find rest in His presence.
To seek His face always! – When I was small I would run to my mother whenever I fell down for her comfort and if needed wait while she put a put bandage on my knee. But once mom had doctored my hurt, I ran back to my play. But seeking the face of God always means more than just experiencing His healing touch. He calls us to come and sit down beside Him, learn His plans for the day and then walk with Him every step of the way. He doesn’t want us to just seek His face when we fall down but at every moment and always!
Today I close with one of my favorite hymns sung by Tricia Brock: Jesus I am Resting Resting written by the Irish missionary Jean Pigott in 1876
Jesus I am resting resting in the joy of what Thou art
I am finding our the greatness of Thy Loving heart
Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. John 9:37-38 ESV
Discipleship begins by faith but it will only grow as we worship. One pitfall in our churches today is that we connect worship in our minds to a hushed mood, a moment in the worship team’s performance and a time to settle back into our comfortable seats. But in the Bible we see Moses worshiped bare foot in the desert by a burning bush. We see Elijah worshiping God at a stone altar even when the crowd was loving the 400 man worship team at the 1st church of Baal. David worshiped while he watched sheep and Daniel worshiped with only an audience of lions. All of these people were worshiping because they had met an awesome God and they wanted Him to get all the glory, no matter what their circumstances.
Dial it forward to when Jesus met a blind man in John chapter nine. First, while the disciples were debating why he was blind, Jesus healed him. Later when he was rejected by the local religious leaders, Jesus became His friend. Last of all, when Jesus showed the man who He really was he began to worship. Before we can walk down the road with Jesus we must learn what it means to truly worship Him. No ministry can be more important, no goal more vital, no relationship too precious to stand in the way of our worship. When we see that He is so worthy of all we have to give and begin to uncover the truth of who He really is; what else can we do but worship?
One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts. Psalm 145:4 KJV
David talks about singing praise as something older believers must do in order to let the younger generation know what God has done for them. Of course young people in our churches usually know five or six of the hymns and maybe even a few Christmas carols but they think of that as the music belonging to the old folks. Hymns which connected parents to children for hundreds of years today are on the verge of vanishing away. The entire concept that older have anything of value is being forgotten. So before the baton of faith meant to be passed from one generation to the next is dropped; let’s spend a few days focusing on how to ensure that we pass it on.
This past Sunday at our church the worship team deviated from its usual contemporary selection to close out the service with two entire verses and the chorus of “How Great Thou Art.” It was so wonderfully refreshing to hear older voices not just joining in but doing so with gusto! We were singing loudly not only because we liked that song but for once we felt as if someone remembered that we were there! It’s not that I think we ought to forget about the new worship songs; but in those few moments we began to make a closer connection. As young tenors blended with older slightly faded baritones; the hymn made us realize that together we are God’s family. As some of our voices weaken from having sung the songs of faith for decades; may others take up their melody. Together we tell the world the unchanging message of God’s love and faithfulness to every generation.