by Ken Yonish

“Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs” (Psalm 100:2 ). When God saves us he places within us a new life. His life. Without his life we are lost and without hope destined for destruction. Paul the Apostle said that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). This life within us cries out to its Creator with yearnings that we can’t explain or understand. “Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out ‘Abba, Father.’ From within us now whelms up the very Spirit of the Son who lives in us in adoration back to the Father.

God in all his greatness made man and put his Spirit into him, giving him eternal life through Jesus Christ. As his children we now give him glory, praise and worship for what he has done.

Think about that for a minute. Let that thought soak in and resonate in your soul!

As his children we are heirs and joint heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17). Our life now is to bring him glory. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9. We are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. We sing a song that even the very angels in heaven cannot sing. “And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except for the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth” (Revelation 14:3).

Praise God!

What a day that will be when we can sing the song of the redeemed before the throne of God. All of God’s children in perfect harmony singing praises to our Father…for all eternity!

Although there are no accounts of Jesus ever leading out in music before he delivered a sermon to the people or taught his disciples there are plenty of references to songs in both the old and new testaments.

In 2 Chronicles 20 we read the account where Jehoshaphat was king of Jerusalem and was opposed by the armies of the Moabites and the Ammonites. Jehoshaphat was fearful of being defeated by these enemies and prayed to God for help. God answered and said not to be afraid because this battle belongs to the Lord. God gave specific instructions to Jehoshaphat to appoint singers to go before the army to “praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying ‘Give thanks to the Lord for his love endures forever’” (2 Chronicles 20:21). Music must be important to God for him to include it in battle plans that ultimately led to the defeat of Jehoshaphat’s enemies that day. The enemies turned on themselves and were destroyed by each other.

Certainly David knew the significance of music. God called David a “man after his own heart.” 1 Samuel 13:14. Many of the psalms were written as praise songs that were sung in the temple. Many expressed an attitude of praise and adoration to God for his mercies and his love, others praised the beauty of his handiwork evident in the creation of the stars and the heavens. In Psalm 8 David says “O Lord how excellent is thy name in all the earth…when I consider the heavens, the works of thy fingers, the moon the stars which thou hast ordained.”

In Psalm 34:1-3 David says, “I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together.” This is an open invitation for all who hear to join David in praise to God.

Psalm 100 tells us to:

1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.

2 Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.

3 Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.

5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations

Did you know that WE are the ones giving praise? When we praise we give to God, yet we reap the benefits of his presence. “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever” (Psalm 16:11, NIV).

I could go on and on citing scriptures encouraging us to sing and worship God and to give thanks for what he has done for us. Giving thanks is real. Praise is real. Singing and worshipping is real. It is the promise of God that when we draw near to him, he draws near to us.

Psalm 22:3 KJV declares “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.”

James 4:8 NIV says “Come near to God and he will come near to you….”

I recently passed by a church sign that got my attention. Under the church name read the following: “Traditional Service at 9am; Contemporary Service at 11am”.

Can it be that worship has come to this? Can we really choose a style of worship that appeals to us? Can we simply walk up to the worship vending machine, drop in our money, and select the flavor that gives us the fuzzies inside and makes us feel good?

I don’t want Traditional if God is not there. I don’t want Contemporary if God is not there. I just want God! I’m afraid we’ve missed the boat if we prefer anything else.

We must have the convicting power of the Holy Spirit to break the yokes and bondages in lives. There must be a total and absolute surrender of our will and our way. Anything less is simply a sensational experience for the flesh but void of the Spirit of God. It may feel like the real thing but I’m afraid many times it is not.

Psalm 150 NIV encourages us to worship with everything we have.

1 Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.

2 Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.

3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,

4 praise him with timbrel and dancing,
praise him with the strings and pipe,

5 praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.

6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

I especially love verse 5 so much that I’ll say it again in the KJV: “praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.”

It is only when the heart is made new and the Spirit within cries, ‘Abba, Father,’ can we truly enter into true worship. Whether it is loud or quiet it is a matter of the heart. Then it won’t matter what the “style” is because it will be all about Jesus and nothing about us. Isaiah 29:13 reads “…these people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips they do honor but they have removed their heart far from me.”

Jesus told the women at the well in John 4:23-24 “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

Let’s be the kind of worshipers that the Father seeks. Let’s make our worship about him and not about us.

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