|What God Wants|
Psalm 50:14, 15
The Story: What God is seeking from His people involves external forms and elements of worship, to be sure, but not in the first instance, not as ends in themselves. God, we know, looks on the heart (1 Sam. 16:7). He intended His prescribed worship forms to shape the hearts of His people in appropriate ways, and then to allow them to express their hearts accordingly. Evidently, what God was looking for from His people was beginning to be in rather short supply in Asaph’s day. They were “faithful” in all the forms of worship, but their hearts were beginning to drift from Him, as evidenced by the absence of thanksgiving and the tendency not to carry through on their vows (v. 14). This was a time of great prosperity in Israel, as we read in 1 Kings 10, and it may have been that the people were beginning to trust more in the growing might and wealth of the nation – and themselves – rather than in the unchanging might and eternal glory of God their Redeemer (v. 15). As we shall see throughout the psalms of Asaph, he observes and weighs things that others merely wink at, and he is greatly concerned about the direction Israel’s leaders are taking them.
The Structure: Engaging the heart in worship is very much a question of moment in churches today. But are we asking the question in the right way? In many ways it seems that what we want in worship – the kinds of experiences, feelings, moods, melodies, and activities that please us – are the guiding principles for what we do each week. But have we considered that God is looking on our hearts in worship? He is weighing our motives, assessing our tendencies and inclinations, and judging the whole bent and cast of our inner person. And what is He seeking? Gratitude, faithfulness, trust, obedience – these are the core elements of a heart that is pleasing to God. Our worship should be prepared and pursued in such a way as to foster and display such affections before the Lord Who comes to review our hearts.
Which aspects of the worship of your church focus on gratitude, faithfulness, and trust in the Lord? How do you express these to the Lord in worship?
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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.