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Worship as Review and Muster

Written by The Colson Center - Worldview Bible on . Posted in The Colson Center - Worldview Bible

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Worship as Review and Muster

Psalm 50:3-6
3Our God comes; he does not keep silence; before him is a devouring fire, around him a mighty tempest. 4He calls to the heavens above and to the earth, that he may judge his people: 5“Gather to me my faithful ones, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!” 6The heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge! Selah

The Story: It begins to become clear that the setting of Psalm 50 is the Sabbath. God is calling His people together to worship Him, as will see in subsequent verses. How does He want them to think about Him to Whom they are coming? The images are precisely the kind designed to strike fear in the hearts of any worshiper, and fear of God is the starting point for a proper relationship with Him (cf. Deut. 10:12, 13). Our worship of God runs the risk of degenerating into mere formalism when we lose sight of the holiness and might of Him before Whom we assemble. God’s people further need to remember that, when they come before the Lord, it is not their words but His Word which matters most (v. 3; cf. Ps. 46:10, 11). Those who have covenanted to engage the God of Abraham are expected, like all the creatures of the Lord, to declare His righteousness (vv. 5, 6). When God assembles His people for worship it is to review their progress in obeying Him (vv. 4-6) and to send them forth to serve Him, obediently, in the world (cf. v. 23).

The Structure: Asaph begins to instruct the worshippers in Israel concerning the purpose and true nature of worship. The focal point of worship is God and His eternal character and purposes. We must not think that worship is something we can manipulate and mold in order to satisfy the demands of mere men, as though making sure everyone “enjoyed” worship was the actual end of worship. God does not come to meet with us in worship in order to discover whether or not we are happy; He meets us in worship so that we might bring offerings pleasing and acceptable to Him. Such offerings, as David pointed out, are not primarily physical, but spiritual; not the tangible and visible expressions of our devotion, but the offerings of our clean and consecrated hearts (cf. Ps. 51:6, 10, 17). Our primary concern in assembling to worship God must be that all we are and all we do should be according to His Word, in obedience to our covenant with Him, unto His pleasure, and for His glory. In a day such as ours – an age of narcissism and individualism – the Church needs to be reminded that even – indeed, especially – our worship must be focused on pleasing God and not ourselves or our neighbors.

How does the service of worship in your church demonstrate an understanding of these purposes of worship which Asaph is beginning to make clear? How do you know when you have pleased God with your worship?

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Learn to pray the psalms. Order a copy of Eugene Peterson’s, Answering God: The Psalms as Tools for Prayer, from our online store.

The Worldview Bible examines the teaching of Scripture according to the Story and Structure of Truth – the Framework of Christian Worldview – using only other Scriptures for illumination. Information about The Framework of Truth is available on this site. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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