Monday, November 20, 2006

A Psalm of Praise (part 2)

Psa 33:13 The LORD looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men.

This verse is just one of the many verses in the Bible that informs us of God's omniscience. God sees and knows everything! He knows all about each and every one of us! Isn't it a miracle that He loves us anyway! (Heaven knows there are a lot of things about me that aren't worthy of His love! Thank God for Jesus!)

God's omnipotence is with us!

Psa 33:16 There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength.

Psa 33:17 An horse [is] a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver [any] by his great strength.

Psa 33:18 Behold, the eye of the LORD [is] upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy;

Psa 33:19 To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.

Our only hope in being protected is God. Yet, today, there are many who do not believe in absolute truth. This is an absurdity! Simple mathematics tells us that there are correct answers and there are wrong answers! No relativism in algebra!

But when it comes to God, people seek all kinds of different paths. The politically correct way to act towards differing beliefs is to make magnanimous proclamations that "there are many paths to God and all are legitimate!"

Not to get too far off topic here, but for more about how such "many pathways to God" mentality often leads to spiritual oblivion, see this post and this follow-up post.

What is so great is knowing that God is superintending the whole thing! We don't have to worry about it. But we are called to share the truth of the gospel to all who will listen!

II. The Response of Praise and Thanksgiving

Did you know that we are commanded to praise the Lord? To the non-believer, that might sound arrogant. To the believer, it is a wonderful experience and outgrowth of our salvation!

There is a popular Christian song artist (will locate later) who sings, "everybody's worshiping something, and I choose You." She sings about worshiping Jesus. Whether we are honest enought to admit it or not, we all do worship something or someone! Look at the worship that goes on in the entertainment industry! Crowds at concerts worshiping the people performing on stage. People in the theatre worshiping that handsome, dreamy actor or beautiful, provocative actress up on the big screen.

My question. Has it ever occurred to you that we are meant to worship? The second question remains, however, just Whom we worship!

Personally, I've experienced the immense difference of feelings felt within myself, as well as in observation of those around me, when I attend a secular, super-star band concert verses a Christian rock concert. The people in the audience react quite differently. At the secular concert, generally, the worshiping going on is for the band members and the music. At the Christian concert, the worship is aimed towards worshiping God and His Son, Jesus Christ!

A. We Are to Praise the Lord Obediently

What does that mean? Psalm 33 gives us six different expressions.
1. Rejoice
2. Praise
3. Sing
4. Use instruments
5. Play skillfully
6. Shouts of joy

We show respect out of gratitude. Is praise and worship optional? No! We are to praise obediently.

For me personally, that music video performance I linked to in a former post as well as many other praise music performances that I have attended (e.g. Jars of Clay concerts) are certainly what I would rate as pleasantly obedient forms of praise to our Lord! After all He Reigns!

There is a huge difference between the reasons behind the secular forms of entertainment and the Christian worship forms. To understand such a difference, here's a good interview of two members of the Newsboys.

B. Praise the Lord Beautifully

Psalm 33:1 - Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: [for] praise is comely for the upright.

This verse tells us that praise is pleasing and proper; comely behavior is beautiful, suitable and wholesome in appearance!

Do you have a beautiful voice but your personal life is a mess?


Are you so in love with God but not in tune?

Here, we tend to admire the beautiful voice singing but in heaven it's upside down!

The Lord wants us to offer praise with clean hands and a clean heart! If not - it's likely not to even get out of the room!

Moral of the story? Keep your heart right!

It's better to have more going on than just a good voice! A great singing voice is indeed a gift from God, but remember, it's the heart that is judged by the Lord!

Psalm 33:2 tells us that musical instruments are mentioned in praise.

Nehemiah 12:27 tells us of an orchestra. Plus, in those days the "harps" were more like guitars.

D. Praise the Lord Creatively

We are to praise Him with a new song! Of course, we all love the old and traditional hymns. But God also loves praise that comes in unique ways from the freshness of our hearts! We can join in ever new freshness. Enjoy a fresh voice to praise!

The concept of a "new song" suggests a song that's never been heard before. This tells us that all the great praise songs haven't even been written yet! With the freshness of new cultural songs that come out of our hearts there is a place for a new song!

E. Praise the Lord Skillfully

God is the target of every godly musician! It's not for the glory of men! But to be offered to God , a living sacrifice of ourselves to that which is pleasing to the Lord!

In the Old Testament, they brought unblemished animals for the temporary forgiveness of sins. They brought the best! This was done to point in the direction of the One, Perfect Sacrifice that Jesus Christ would accomplish on the Cross.

We all have certain talents and spiritual gifts. But none possess all of them! For me,knowing whether or not I should sing in a chorus at church (definitely NO!) or just sing along in the sanctuary (yes...I'm drowned out that way!) is leaving the skillful to perform skillfully at church! (he he)

God wants the best we have to offer.

Psalm 33: Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.

We can worship with shouts of joy. Can we really praise quietly? Yes. We can worship quietly. But we can also worship with shouts of joy!

When we go to a sporting event, we don't just sit there and say, "Wow...isn't that a marvelous touchdown." No! We jump up, high-five anyone around us and scream in excitement!

Now, we don't need to go to such lengths in church as we typically would at a football game, but we can be exhuberant in church because He is worthy of honor, praise and glory!

Have you ever noticed that people who aren't grateful are rarely happy?

There are three things that happen when we are grateful and praise God! Because of our praise, we receive:

A. Help
B. Happiness (Joy)
C. Hope

Psa 33:20 Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he [is] our help and our shield.

Psa 33:21 For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name.

Psa 33:22 Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.

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