We were made to worship God. The Father seeks worshipers who will pay homage to Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24).
Preaching is not worship. It may inspire worship in the hearts of listeners, but preaching is the conveying of a message to an audience. Giving a testimony is not worship although, once again, it may stir up worship. Worship is addressing God directly. Worship is directed to the Father and the Son in the Bible, but for some reason it is never addressed to the Holy Spirit.
David and the other writers of the Psalms were worshipers. They had great thoughts of God. The marvels of His creation swept them away in rapturous song. When they considered His greatness, goodness, and grace, their minds strained to take it all in. They thought of Him as the Upholder and Controller and were confounded.
Yet these Psalmists did not know how the Son of God would come down to earth and be born in a cattle shed, His crib an animal’s feed box. They did not know that the Architect and Maker of the universe would one day wear a carpenter’s apron in a place called Nazareth. Or that He would wander as a stranger in the world His hands had made. They would have gasped at the thought of God having no place to lay His head, or that He would sometimes sleep under stars while His followers went to their homes.
Did they realize that God would actually come to earth and heal the sick, give sight to the blind, restore limbs to the maimed, cast out demons, and raise the dead? Or that in spite of all His kindness, He would be insulted, ridiculed, and driven out of town?
It would have been incredible to them that He, the Judge of all, would be betrayed by one of His own, arrested, and put on trial. Then civil authorities would find Him innocent, but He would be scourged until His back was like a furrowed field and He was no longer recognizable as a man.
The psalmists did not know in great detail what we now know. At a place called Calvary, men would nail their God to a cross of wood. It would be unimaginable to these Old Testament poets. They would have shaken their heads to think that the brightness of God’s glory, the express image of His person, the Maker and Upholder of the universe, would be there on a cross, purging man’s sins (Hebrews 1:1-3). Frail creatures would take the One who is high and lifted up in glory, and lift Him on a cross of shame. The heaven of heavens cannot contain Him, yet He was bound by nails. It was the Immortal who was dying.
Imagine the torrent of heavenly harmony that the psalmists would have raised if they could have sung in the words of Charles Wesley: “Amazing love! How can it be that Thou, my God, should die for me?”
They saw through a glass darkly. At times they had brief glimpses of what would happen, but the full revelation was not for them to know. The thought is this: if they, with the limited knowledge they had, poured out such torrents of praise, worship, adoration and thanksgiving to the Lord, how much more should we with what we know about Calvary and the One who died there for us?
Once we grasp the truth of what our God has done for us, of the sacrifice He made to save us, we will be spontaneous and compulsive worshipers. Our tongues will be the pen of a ready writer. Our lives will be one unending psalm of praise to Him. In the words of Charles Wesley, we will “dissolve our hearts in thankfulness and melt our eyes in tears.” We will be “lost in wonder, love, and praise,” and like the psalmist (Psalm 148) we will call on all creation to join us in singing the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.
—Condensed from The Disciple’s Manual by William MacDonald