If we learn anything from Nadab and Abihu (see last week’s article), it’s that God despises worship which is not according to His Word. Over the next few articles, we’ll consider what Psalm 100 teaches us about worship.
The psalmist begins with a call to worship, “Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!” (Psalm 100:1). Worship is an obligation for all men. It originates in God’s command, not man’s imagination. This is because God made all men, and we are his subjects. Remember, God can command whatsoever he pleases. What a wonder that he commands our love and worship!
Next, the psalm teaches us the what and how of worship. “Serve the LORD with gladness!” (Psalm 100:2). The Hebrew term “serve” describes the work of a slave or hired servant. Worship, therefore, is work performed for the glory of God. As one writer states, “You ought to approach worship as you would any serious job. You need to think about it, study it, and train yourself to do it with skill.”
Some wrestle with making worship more “participatory.” What they mean is they want more people to lead. However, since worship is work, all of worship is an exercise in which the whole congregation participates. You are never passive in worship. This includes during prayer and preaching.
When someone leads in prayer, listen attentively and provide your hearty “Amen” at the conclusion. During the sermon, you ought to be engaged, body and soul. Take notes if you need help paying attention. And, consider all the ways you can apply the truths the minister explains from Scripture.
As you participate in worship, you must do so gladly, with joy. This requires some arranging of the affections doesn’t it? We don’t always arrive to worship in the best mood. Maybe you fussed with your spouse or children while getting ready that day. Perhaps you received a hard diagnosis that week. How can worship still be joyful? Consider verse 2.
“Come into his presence with singing!” (Psalm 100:2). When you set your mind and heart on the Lord’s worship, you transcend the pains of life by remembering you enter his presence. This is both a joyous and fearful thing.
We immediately remember we don’t deserve to enter God’s presence. He is holy and we are sinful. God receives us into his presence because of the atoning work of Jesus Christ. Through faith alone in Christ alone, God credits the righteousness of Jesus Christ to your account. God’s people enter into his presence washed in the blood of Christ.
What, then, is the natural response? To sing! Men, especially, need exhortation in this area. Many consider themselves too “macho” to sing. I get it. A lot of contemporary worship music is effeminate. However, not to worship through singing is an act of disobedience. Dear brothers, as God’s appointed leaders, you ought to have the strongest voices in the congregation.Christian, you begin to understand worship when you see it as obedient work offered in the presence of God through Jesus Christ. It is a duty of delight!