You Were Created to Praise and Worship
“And when the Israelites saw the great power the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and I Moses his servant. Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord:” Exodus 14:31 – 15:1a
“It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O most High,” Psalm 92:1
Over the centuries, the church has struggled with the concept of praise and worship. Some feel that it is essential to not only our corporate worship but to our individual relationship with God and others feel it is nothing more than a “window dressing” to a church service. The reality is that most of us do not have a clue of what praise and worship really is let alone its place in the life of a believer. Many have taken the words praise and worship and defined them by particular styles of music. When we do that we are not only missing out on God’s true meaning of the words but on the impact praise and worship can have on our lives and the lives of those around us.
So what do the words praise and worship actually refer to? Praise is an outward expression of our love for God. It is a response to recognizing God’s love and its impact in our life and the lives of others. In Exodus 14 and 15 we have the account of the Israelites being freed from slavery and oppression. The verses above record the response of the people when God lovingly used His power to give provide them a way of escape. Note that they feared God and put their trust in Him and then they sang a song of praise to God because of the love He had shown them.
So if praise is our response to recognizing God’s love in our lives then what is worship? Worship is our loving response to God’s manifest presence. We can choose to praise God even when we may not feel like it but worship comes when we find ourselves impacted by God’s presence in such a way that we cannot contain the desire to respond. These are times when we are touched by God and who He is in some significant way. He may show us something new about Himself or He may reveal sin in our lives that causes us to respond in worship to Him. Either way, this is a deeply heartfelt and emotional experience. It requires us to let go and just bask in God’s presence.
So based on these definitions, every believer should be able to praise and worship God but somehow many still struggle. Some struggle because they don’t like the style of music or the instruments used, others struggle because there is too much music in a service or maybe they think it is too loud or repetitive. Maybe the real issue is our focus, maybe we are too concerned with what we want and not with what God expects of us. Psalm 92:1 states clearly that it is GOOD to praise the Lord and make music to Him. Maybe we need to be willing to get out of our preconceived ideas about praise and worship and let God show us a better way.
One last thing lest you think that God doesn’t sing. In Zephaniah 3:17 we find a picture that is truly humbling and should elicit songs of praise, “he [God] will rejoice over you with singing.” Think about those words. The God of the universe, our Creator rejoices and sings over us. Maybe it is time for us to sing, praise and worship Him!