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PRAISE HIM WORSHIP HIM
"ROOHA!" We are talking about Praise Him Worship Him. I said last time that praise and worship should not be a duty. It should be a delight. We've all experienced the excitement of something giving us delight and then the ensuing praise coming from our mouth, our lips, our hands, our feet, etc. We physically express what is going on inside our soul, heart, and inside our spirit. We can't help it. It might be with jubilance. It might be a facial expression, but most times what's going on inside comes out in physical expression. Let's look today at what some of those expressions might look like when the delight is actually toward God, whom we praise and worship right here every week.
I heard and then found a quote during my studies and preparation for this lesson by a man named Charles Meisner who knew and spoke about Albert Einstein’s attitude toward organized religion.
"I do see the design of the universe as essentially a religious question. That is, one should have some kind of respect and awe for the whole business. It's very magnificent and shouldn't be taken for granted. In fact, I believe that is why Einstein had so little use for organized religion, although he strikes me as a basically very religious man. He must have looked at what the preachers said about God and felt that they were blaspheming. He had seen much more majesty than they had ever imagined, and they were just not talking about the real thing. My guess is that he simply felt that religions he had run across did not have a proper respect for the Author of the universe."
That's a horrible indictment about church, yet we would all say "organized religion" does have its lack of ability to project the majesty of the Author of the universe. So, I ask, if the genius Einstein were to observe our church, what would he say? What would he say about my praising, or about your praising? What would anyone say, after coming here, about how we project the "Author of the universe"? Do we praise and worship the "real thing," or are we simply doing "organized religion"? A better question yet would be what does the Author of the universe, the real thing think when he observes our/your praise and worship? I mean, if he is GOD shouldn't we somehow in some way express the fact that he is? If so, how would it look? How biblically should we physically express praise and worship to the Author of the universe? Psalm 95 gives us some insight.
Psalm 95:1 O COME, LET US SING to the LORD; let us make a JOYFUL NOISE to the rock of our salvation!
2 Let us come into his presence WITH THANKSGIVING; let us make a JOYFUL NOISE to him with songs of PRAISE!
3 FOR the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also.
5 The sea is his, for he made it, and the dry land, which his hands have formed.
6 O COME, LET US WORSHIP and BOW DOWN, let us KNEEL before the LORD, our Maker!
7 FOR he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. O that today you would listen to his voice!
First there is a call to praise (v1-5). Then there is a call to worship (v6-7). Both express physically what is happening inwardly. Let's look at each. Praise has a NOISY enthusiasm.
Psalm 95:1-2 O COME, LET US SING to the LORD; let us make a JOYFUL NOISE to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with THANKSGIVING; let us make a JOYFUL NOISE to him with songs of PRAISE!
One of the first things we note about praise and worship is it's NOISY. Twice in the first two verses it says MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE. That's about as an exact definition of what I do as can be given. At my very best, I make noise and it's so joyful that even you laugh. Praise of God should be NOISY. Are you making noise? It says, come into his presence with thanksgiving. How is that done?
Psalms 26:7 PROCLAIMING ALOUD your praise and telling of all your wonderful deeds.
Psalms 32:11 Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, O righteous, and SHOUT FOR JOY, all you upright in heart.
Psalms 33:3 Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, WITH LOUD SHOUTS.
Psalms 71:23 My lips will SHOUT FOR JOY when I sing praise to you - I, whom you have redeemed.
Psalms 150:3 Praise him with the SOUNDING of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre
Psalms 150:4 praise him with tambourine and DANCING, praise him with the strings and flute,
Psalms 150:5 praise him with the CLASH OF CYMBALS, praise him with RESOUNDING CYMBALS.
What do we see? Responding to the Author of the universe in praise is loudly, sometimes nosily expressive and even involves dancing.
Psalms 47:1 CLAP YOUR HANDS, all you peoples; SHOUT TO GOD with LOUD SONGS of joy.
Praise is noisy and expressive. Do you sing loudly, shout, clap, jump, rejoice, dance, etc? Should you? If God is the Author of the universe, should you? A question we could and should ask and maybe one you ask is "Why?" Why make noise - sing loudly, shout, clap, jump, rejoice, do uncoordinated dancing? "Why?" David tells us. Next verse...
Psalm 95:3-7 FOR the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is his, for he made it, and the dry land, which his hands have formed.
"FOR…" (because) here's why(v3). The Bible never encourages us to simply "whip up" empty emotions. We do it because the LORD is a great God! He is a great King above all gods. What makes him so great? With his hand he created the depths of the earth to the heights of the mountains. That's pretty great. Mount Everest is nearly 30,000 feet above sea level. Could you make that? Could any other god make that? God says, "I made that. That's mine! "
Verse 5 says, The sea is his, for he made it, and the dry land. How amazing is the sea? Could you make that? Could any other god? I love the ocean. Think of all the aquatic life. 71% of the planet is covered by oceans with an average depth of over 12,000 feet. It's God's. He made it. How awesome is our God?
It says, the dry land, which his hands have formed. Nothing is as beautiful and as amazing as this planet earth. Every tree, every valley, every river, every animal, every bird, every insect, reptile… think how amazing it all is with such ecological balance. Could you make the earth? God says, "I made it with my hands. It's mine."
Praise is not empty and mindless. Praise and worship is always a response to the GREAT GOD AND GREAT KING the Author of the universe. God engages with each of us. He shows his greatness through this amazing planet. When we begin to realize his overwhelming breathtaking greatness, and the privilege we are given to enjoy it to the full, we respond with NOISY enthusiasm of praise FOR everything you love and enjoy God created.
If there is no noisy praise coming out of you, then you might ask, "Why not?" I realize we are all different type personalities and we express passion differently, but if there is no expression for God we should investigate why not. Sometimes it is because we grew up being told that type expression is wrong.
It was April 21, 1982. The Atlanta Braves were in an amazing winning streak at the beginning of the season with twelve straight wins. They were going for their record 13th straight. Judy and I with another couple went to the game - the 13th game. The Braves were loosing 3-2 in the bottom of the 9th inning with two outs. However, the atmosphere was electrifying. It was intense. Runners were on second and third with Claudel Washington at the plate and a 1-0 count. Every person in the stadium was standing. Here's what happened. (video). What do you think we did? Do you think we said, "Nice hit. Claudel is a true professional." No! Watch. (remainder of video). The place really did go "bananas." People were jumping, shouting, high-fiving one another, hugging complete strangers, waving their hands, waving banners, and you name it. It was a worship moment. No one said, "Delbert, Judy, don't get too emotional. You're over the top here." Actually, if you were not jumping, shouting, yelling, waving, hugging, high-fiving, you were the one with something wrong there. No one thought emotional display was out of order.
Now, in the grand scheme of things, and you will agree, baseball is meaningless. I watched 50,000 people go "bananas" over a hit in baseball, but would those same 50,000 people go "bananas" over the one who created the mountains, the seas, the land, and them?
Some people truly want to praise and worship the Lord, our Maker, but fear of what others might think stops them. Perhaps that's you. That's probably something many people experience. We think everyone is watching us and consumed with us. The truth is no one is watching and consumed with us but us. We're the only one consumed with ourselves. Don't allow what people think stop your praising God. Be like David.
The Bible tells the story of David bringing the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord of the whole earth into Jerusalem. The Ark was taken by the Philistines, returned, but remained away from God's people. David finally brought it home.
2 Samuel 6:14-15 David, wearing a linen ephod, DANCED before the LORD with all his might, while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with SHOUTS and the sound of trumpets.
There was lots of noise and expression. David took off his "kingly" garments and crown. That's what we do in praise and worship. We take off anything that hinders us and dive in. David put his whole self into it - ALL HIS MIGHT. He twirled. He leaped. He gigged. He jogged. He waved his hands! He might have done the first break dance who knows. He totally enjoyed himself, but…
2 Samuel 6:16 As the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal daughter of Saul looked out of the window, and saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart.
Michal was David's wife. Why wasn't Michal in the procession of praise bringing the presence of God into their city? Why was she on the wrong side of the window? When David came home, Michal told David he looked foolish. Here is David's reply.
2 Samuel 6:21-23 David said to Michal, "It was before the LORD, who chose me in place of your father and all his household, to appoint me as prince over Israel, the people of the LORD, that I have danced before the LORD. I WILL MAKE MYSELF YET MORE CONTEMPTIBLE THAN THIS, and I will be abased in my own eyes..." And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death.
David said God had been extremely good too him and because of that David would dance and even be MORE CONTEMPTIBLE. David planned to praise God in more ways that would offend people who thought praising with all your might was contemptible. They are the ones with the problem and the ones who will be barren. Don't be on the wrong side of the window when the presence of God comes in.
Praise and worship should never draw attention to the person praising. Instead, it should point to the one being praised. Praise and worship should never distract others. Instead, it should encourage others to praise the Author of the universe.
There is NOISY PRAISE. We shout, clap, dance, and make lots of noise. There is also a BOWING WORSHIP.
Psalms 95:6 O COME, LET US WORSHIP and BOW DOWN, let us KNEEL before the LORD, OUR MAKER!
There is a different tone. Prior there was NOISY enthusiasm with physical expressions of energy, clapping, dancing, etc. Now it's bowing and kneeling before the Lord. Again, we ask "WHY?"
Psalms 95:7 FOR he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. O that today you would listen to his voice!
The same God who made the mountains and sea is YOUR MAKER, but not only has he made us. He placed us in his care. We are in his pasture. We are in his hand. When David thought about how God always had David in his pasture - sight, care, protection and always in God's hand, David bowed down and kneeled in worship. From time to time we will be in our praise and worship service. This awesome awareness comes over me of how God has taken care of me all these years and I am actually in his hand. I bow and kneel to my knees. It's at those moments I realize he is not only the God who created the mountains, the oceans, and the land. I realize he's the God of my life and I am not. You become very aware of that fact on your knees in worship. It's in praise and worship you see and experience the magnificence and majesty of God in a way you can't see and experience any other way.
David C. Needham, in his book, Close to His Majesty: An Invitation to Walk With God, writes, "When I was a boy, our family often went camping in the High Sierras in California. Traveling along the eastern slopes of those 10-14 thousand feet peaks involved several steep grades and dry, desert-like heat. Steaming radiators and canvas water bags slung over car bumpers were standard equipment. One mountain grade I will never forget. It had a funny name: the 'O' grade. Why 'O'? Mom and Dad simply smiled and said, 'Just wait. You'll see.' Up and up we would climb on the twisting switchback road through scrub pine and sage. And then -- when it seemed we would never get to the top of the ridge -- we did! Spontaneously I cired out, 'Oh!' There in front of us, beyond a diamond-studded lake and framed with quaking aspen, was the jagged, snowy Sierra Crest ...higher, more massive, more beautiful, and more alive with color than I dreamed."
Praise and worship is like that. It's a climb, but when I reach the top, it's "OH! OH God, you are bigger, more majestic, more magnificent than I could ever imagine!"
Here are our questions: How do you exhibit NOISY PRAISE AND BOWING WORSHIP? Have you ever been to "OH!" in praise and worship? I encourage each of us to step out of our comfort zones just a little. Stretch yourself. I promise you this. It will feel good and once you experience it, you won't go back. Here is one practical suggestion. When we are in praise and worship and you are singing, close your eyes and think about what you are singing. We sing about the God who created the mountains and seas and you. Instead of focusing on how you sound, or watching the praise team, or reading the words, focus on what you are singing. Then stretch yourself. Raise your hands. Realize God has you protected in his hand. If it's one of those bowing moments, kneel - come to the altar, move into the aisle. If you will, you will see "OH! THE REAL THING."
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