Psalms 96-100 are all about praising and singing to the Lord. There is even the admonition to “shout to the Lord joyfully. This blog post really fits into a sequel from last week’s “Sing to the Lord” post. The Psalms 96-150 are almost exclusively about praising. The 85 word Psalm 100 captures the essence of the Psalmist desire. We have been reading the Psalms for months now and there has been a duel-edged sword about them. From one vantage point we hear the writer crying out in anguish and anxiety about how his enemies are hounding him and seek to end his life. But by the end of the psalm we find the writer singing and exalting God for His mercy and faithfulness to hum. In Psalm 98 we read of creation praising God – the seas roar, rivers clap and the mountains sing. This may seem strange and make us only think of the psalmist trying to give anthropomorphism to creation, however when we look at Romans 8:22 we read that all of creation groans for the time of restoration. Often we think that only mankind can praise God – yet creation itself desires for the enthronement of God and its own restoration to former glory.
We worship in song, sermon and service. If we limit all of our praising and singing to vocals, then we have missed the point of “let everything that hath breathe praise the Lord. Singing is something that can be voluntary and spontaneous from the believer. I think there are times when we should “shout” to the Lord – lifting our voices and souls in glorious exhaling!
There is a song “coming back to the heart of worship” I have heard it sung my Michael W. Smith – there is a line in the song that says “I’m sorry for the thing I’ve made it, I’m coming back to the heart of worship.” In our modern day of technology – we have made church worship something more than pleasing the audience of one – we have made it about our likes and dislikes. The music wars rage and congregations struggle with what is and is not the proper music for services. We all have personal preferences in music; I wonder have we ever considered the desires of our Lord? I think He enjoys the “praise of the redeemed” [Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir] as His favorite song! Just as we love to hear children and grandchildren sing some melody regardless of how off key and out of order the words are! Scripture tells us that God inhabits the praise of His people. Shout, sing, hum, whistle or what ever means you can do – but “whatever you do, do it as unto the Lord.” It is the heart vibrations not the vocal cords that please the Father. When He knows that His children are “making a joyful noise” out of love and commitment to Him – He will not refuse or reject the offering from the heart.
There are times that my worship is between God and me. Other times [congregationally] it is public and I am worshipping with my family of church members. It is this corporate worship that seems to have caused such anxiety that music has become a distraction instead of an enhancement of our worship. What is the answer – heart worship and praise. Not singing of genre’s but sounds of thoughtful joy. Someone once told me that in a church song service there should be something for everyone. That every person should be able to sing something to the Lord. Maybe so; but shouldn’t there be something for God to appreciate as well. We must quit making church about us and our preferences, and more about reaching others and touching the spirit of God!