Always True

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

I will extol You, my God, O King;
And I will bless Your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless You,
And I will praise Your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;
And His greatness is unsearchable.
One generation shall praise Your works to another,
And shall declare Your mighty acts.
I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty,
And on Your wondrous works.
Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts,
And I will declare Your greatness.
They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness,
And shall sing of Your righteousness.
The LORD is gracious and full of compassion,
Slow to anger and great in mercy.
The LORD is good to all,
And His tender mercies are over all His works.
All Your works shall praise You, O LORD,
And Your saints shall bless You.
They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom,
And talk of Your power,
To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts,
And the glorious majesty of His kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.
The LORD upholds all who fall,
And raises up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look expectantly to You,
And You give them their food in due season.
You open Your hand
And satisfy the desire of every living thing.
The LORD is righteous in all His ways,
Gracious in all His works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth.
He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;
He also will hear their cry and save them.
The LORD preserves all who love Him,
But all the wicked He will destroy.
My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD,
And all flesh shall bless His holy name Forever and ever.

~Psalm 145~

This Psalm has been bugging me since I read it two days ago.

I've been thinking a lot about worship lately, with Pastor's request that Pete and I pray about getting involved with the worship team at church.

It always bugged me in my reading of the Old Testament how all of the Israelites could worship God. I mean, how could the writers of Scripture sit down and make a claim like that? Isn't worship something that happens in the heart? Isn't it something that I have to mean with all of my heart when I speak it or sing it? Don't my emotions have to be involved?

Or is it something more?

Psalm 145 has given me a bit of insight into an aspect of worship that I hadn't thought of before. Truth.

When I read it, I wasn't particularly bouncing off the walls about who God was. I wasn't particularly awake, even. *wry grin* But what stuck out to me was that it is simply facts about who God is and what He has done. The Psalmist isn't saying, "my heart feels this," or "my spirit cries out" this time, as he does in other Psalms. He's just telling the truth about God, and making a decision of his will bless God and to meditate on Him and on His works.

He's saying, though, that the generations will praise God, that men will speak of God's awesome acts. Why? How can he get away with that statement?

The answer: Truth.

He's stating what God has said to be true. He's stating what God has shown Himself to be in the past. He's taking God at His Word. Maybe the Psalmist isn't bouncing off the walls as he does in other places, but he can mean every word he is saying because it is the truth. It is based not on what he feels, but on a much firmer, stronger foundation--the Word of the God He is worshipping. The words he speaks are true of the God he is lifting up.

The morning I read that, it occurred to me that I could speak those words and be praising God. Why? Because it is true of Him. It has always been true, and it will always be true, and no matter how I feel when I speak those words, I can never change the truth of the statements.

It puts a different perspective on worship for me. If I were to read that Psalm and speak those words to God when I was too exhausted to feel anything, it would still be worship. If I were to read that Psalm when I was utterly discouraged and could not find a reason to praise Him with my heart, it would still be worship. If I were to read that Psalm when I was angry with God for the way my life is going--it would still be worship.


Because the focus of the praise in this Psalm is upon God Himself, I AM, Jehovah. The focus is not on me or my commitment to Him. It is not on the words I say, the feelings I have, or the world's contingency upon me and my decisions.

I think that I may have cheapened worship by drawing the focus to a nearly-mystical experience of having to *feel* and *mean* every word that I say, instead of focusing on the God I am supposedly praising. When have I made a decision to praise Him that didn't somehow come back to my own heart and my own commitment and put me in the place of God to call the shots again in my own life?

To tell God that "I want Him" or "I surrender" or "I enthrone You" seems so empty compared to the truth that if I seek God I will find Him, that the sacrifices He asks of me are a broken and contrite heart, and that the Lord is on His throne forever. I get so hung up on being able to offer God something in my worship of Him that I forget that speaking or singing or sharing the truth of Him will always humble me before Him.

Lord, it is Your Spirit inside of me that cries out to worship You. There is nothing in me that would turn to look at You but Him. Let me worship You both in Spirit and in truth, so that even when I have nothing to say to You, I can speak of who You are and extol You with the simple facts of the matter. Thank you that I don't have to "feel" to worship You. Give me courage to speak the truth before You and others, no matter what my life looks like.


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