The Right Way to Worship
Read Psalm 100:1-2, 4 (ESV)
Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! ... Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!
According to this psalm, how should we worship the Lord?
People have a lot of opinions about how worship should be done. Some prefer to crack open hymnals and reverently sing to the Lord with just the piano or even a pipe organ accompaniment. Others prefer a full praise band with rocking tunes and power ballads. Some people prefer not to sing and just listen. Some people stand still, others are practically dancing in the isles. Some raise their hands up high and some close their eyes to focus. But with so many different ways to worship the Lord, is there a right or wrong way to worship Him? And is worship just singing or playing music to God?
When we go back to the Bible, we can see that it has a lot to say about how to praise God. Today’s verses describe what our attitude should be when we worship but it doesn’t say anything about any particular musical style. Our hearts should be joyful and glad when we worship the Lord! We also see that we should come to Him with thanksgiving and praise. Even in hard times, we can worship with joy because we know the good news. Through Jesus, our relationship with God has been restored! We are His people. We belong to Him and can enter His gates. He cares for us. He has given us life everlasting with Him. We have Him to thank for everything!
Today’s psalm specifically says that we should praise and bless His name with singing. But Psalm 150:3-6 adds instruments: “Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with the lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!”
King David is one of the best examples given in the Bible for how to worship the Lord with joy and gladness. Not only did he write many of our favorite worship psalms, but he also loved to dance for God. In 2 Samuel 6:14-16, David was leaping and dancing as the ark of the Lord came into Jerusalem, finally back where it belonged. Verse 14 says, “And David danced before the LORD with all his might.”
But what if you aren’t the dancing type? What if you couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket or you haven’t been gifted with any musical talent? I have good news for you. “Joyful noises” are acceptable substitutes for melodious singing (see v. 1) so even if you lack talent, you can still participate! In the NIV Psalm 100:1 is translated as “Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth”. Psalm 96:2-3 says, “...proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples” (NIV). It is an act of worship to tell others what God has done and how He has saved us, even if you say it rather than sing it. Music and singing are not the only ways to worship God.
Also, check out verse two in today’s psalm. It says to “serve the LORD with gladness.” Service is an act of worship to God if you are working from the right heart attitude and with the right motivations. Colossians 3:23 says “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” Whether you snuggle babies in the nursery, mow the church lawn, or volunteer at a soup kitchen, do it for the glory of God and not your own. Do it with a cheerful heart instead of a crabby attitude.
Friends, there is more than one right way to worship. But the one common theme is to worship with a joyful and thankful heart all for the glory of God. How are you planning to worship the Lord this week?
Lord, I thank and praise You for who You are and what You’ve done for me. What an undeserved privilege to get to enter Your courts! Whether I am singing, dancing, making music, telling of your amazing deeds, or serving others in Your name, help me to worship You with a joyful and grateful heart. All glory and praise to You! Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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