There are many verses in the Bible which speak of praising the Lord and also give some of the reasons why we praise Him.
“Praise the Lord! Praise, O servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord! Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forever more! From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised! The Lord is high above all nations, and His glory is above the heavens.” Psalm 113:1 – 4
From the rising of the sun until its setting…from the beginning of your day until the end…in every waking moment, the name of the Lord is to be praised. The Lord is always worthy of praise. In the verse above, the servants of the Lord are reminded of His supremacy over all nations and His unsurpassed and eternal glory. He is worthy!
“I will sing of Thy power; yes, I will sing aloud of Thy mercy in the morning; for Thou hast been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble. Unto Thee, O my Strength, will I sing; for God is my defense , and the God of my mercy.” Psalm 59:16 & 17
He is all powerful! He is our defense and our refuge. He is our strength and the God of our mercy. God is worthy of our praise! The Psalmist’s expression of praise through singing to Him at the beginning of the day is in response to the ultimate and supreme worth of our God.
“I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I keep the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” Psalm 16:7 & 8
He is our counsellor and the guide and guardian of our hearts. He is near to those who call upon Him, at our right hand, even during the night. He gives us the strength to stand firm. He is worthy!
“O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon His name; make known His deeds among the people. Sing unto Him, sing psalms unto Him; talk of all His wondrous works. Glory in His holy name; let the heart of those who seek the Lord rejoice.” Psalm 105:1 – 3
His works are wondrous; He is available when we call upon His name; His deeds are praiseworthy; He is Holy. What an awesome God we serve! He is worthy of praise!
“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto Thy name, O Most High; To show forth Thy lovingkindness in the morning, and Thy faithfulness every night.” Psalm 92:1 & 2
He is full of lovingkindness. He is faithful. It is a good thing to praise and thank Him! He is worthy of our praise!
“But I, through the abundance of Your steadfast love, will enter Your house, I will worship toward Your holy temple in reverence, and awe of You.” Psalm 5:7
Because of His steadfast love for us, God allows us to enter His presence. Our response is worship…reverence…and awe. He is worthy of our awe and reverence! He is worthy of our praise! He is worthy of worship…in every waking moment!
The eternal God of Creation, the God who saves us with His might and His mercy, the Holy and Righteous Judge, the Lamb of God who gave Himself for us, the Holy Spirit of comfort and conviction, the Lord of all and above all, our awesome God who is three in One, our loving Father God who embraces us in our sorrows and keeps every tear, our tender Shepherd…
He is all of this and more! He is worthy of our reverence and awe. He is worthy of our expressions of praise. He is worthy of a continual attitude of worship.
The Distinction Between Praise & Worship
Praise, by its very nature, must be expressed. It is an expression of appreciation at a moment in time. If I think of a compliment but have not expressed it, I have not praised the person who motivated the positive thought. In the above verses, the Psalmists write of expressing praise through singing to God, blessing His holy name, thanking Him, entering His house, talking of His wondrous works, and making His deeds known. Expressions of praise listed in other verses include magnifying the name of the Lord and exalting Him, giving Him glory and honor, playing instruments for His praise, dancing and shouting in praise, clapping and raising our hands in praise, and giving tithes and offerings as an act of worship. Many of these expressions of praise are outward expressions and are done in public or within the congregation and family. However, since God knows our hearts, He also knows when our hearts are praising Him. Within the congregation, those expressions of praise become outward as we join our hearts and our voices with those of other Christians. When it is appropriate and wise to do so, at the prompting of God’s Spirit, we also express our praise of God to others we encounter in our daily lives. When our hearts and minds become so focused on the Lord that we are continually bringing to mind all that He is and all that He has done and then praising Him in response, we are living in an attitude of praise before the Lord. He receives our praise whether is is spoken or demonstrated in the presence of others or whether it is spoken directly from our hearts to Him.
Worship can include all of the inward and outward expressions of praise already mentioned, but worship goes much farther in permeating our lives and being expressed through the way that we live our lives. The very idea of worship is that God is worthy of all that we have to give. True worship involves the commitment of all that we are and every part of our lives, focused on living in such a way that we bring glory to God. When we have recognized all that He is and all that He has done, to the extent that our finite human minds can do so, our intentions change. We commit ourselves fully to God and begin to seek to glorify Him in response to all that He has done for us. As we grow in Christ, God’s spirit reveals to our hearts that we must intentionally express His worth and His supremacy by seeking to bring Him glory in all that we are and all that we do (with His help).*
A Lifestyle of Worship
“If we live, we live to honor the Lord; and if we die, we die to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.” Rom 14:8
“He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.” IICor. 5:15
As God has been willing to personally come to Earth and give Himself in the person of Christ to live a life that demonstrated the grace and glory of God, ultimately choosing to die as a sacrifice for our sins and then be raised to eternal life as a seal and a promise of God’s saving work in human hearts, we must also be willing to give ourselves sacrificially. This is our spiritual gift of worship to the One who has given His all for us.
““I appeal to you therfore, brethren, by the mercies of God , to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Romans 12:1
This intentional giving over of all of life to God for the purpose of bringing Him glory is true worship. It is an attitude of the heart and mind and a commitment of the life that is acceptable to God. Paul says that our commitment to live as a sacrifice to honor the Lord is holy. His presence and His help in following through with our commitment to bring Him glory in all that we do, say, and think allows us to grow in our expression of His worth, becoming more like Christ. Whatever we are doing or thinking or saying, we are learning to live in an attitude of worship, seeking to express the infinite worth of God through our lives.* Several times in scripture, a person is referred to as someone who “walked with God”. Enoch, for example is described as a man who walked with God in Genesis 5:22 & 24. Noah is also spoken of as a man who walked with God in Genesis 6:9. In I Kings 8:25, the prayer of Solomon is that God would keep His promise to David, “Now therefore, O LORD, the God of Israel, keep with Your servant David my father that which You have promised him, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to sit on the throne of Israel, if only your sons take heed to their way to walk before Me as you have walked.'” In some translations, the words ‘habitual’ or ‘faithful’ are used in these verses to further clarify the meaning of “walking with God”. Such a testimony of faithfulness in walking with God requires that the intentions and desires of our hearts and the focus of our lives must be in seeking to bring glory to God.
Help for the Journey
God knows that we cannot be faithful in walking with Him in an intentional and habitual attitude of worship on our own. He knows that we need His help, His guidance, His strength, and His mercy and forgiveness. That is why we have a Savior, and that is why we need His Spirit to indwell our hearts and lives. God knows that we need reminders of who He is and that we must be intentional in seeking to bring glory to Him through our lives. Consider this instruction from Deuteronomy 6:4 – 9
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
God knows that we need the reminder of seeing his word before us, even to the extent that we should have verses about who God is on our walls and above our doors. Although this is an Old Testament scripture and refers in some instances to the significant items of clothing worn by the children of Israel, God’s admonition to His people was that they would intentionally place reminders of God’s love and faithfulness wherever they would be seen, as reminders to live an intentional life of loving and serving God with all of their heart, soul, and strength. These reminders would focus their attention on the Lord so that they would talk about Him as they got up in the morning, continue to talk and think about Him (and seek Him) when they would lie down at night and when they walked throughout their day. In another passage, Deuteronomy 11:18 – 21, which is almost identical**, this admonition is made: “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds…” Or, as we read in Colossians 3:16 & 17, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as you teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
Walking in Worship
When we become intentional in choosing to seek to live a life that honors God in every moment, we are living a lifestyle of worship and walking with God. This kind of choice to walk in worship goes far beyond the expressions of praise that we often refer to as worship. Praise is good thing. We must always seek to praise God because He is good, and He is worthy of our praise. However, expressions of praise can be tied to our feelings and our desires. We often say or express in our thoughts a “Praise the Lord” when something happens that we are happy about. Such expressions can become habit without thought. However, walking in worship requires thought. It requires our intention to do far more than just train ourselves to say and do the right things. Walking in worship requires staying in close relationship with God through Christ, trusting Him to guide and help us, and seeking to intentionally live in such a way that our lives bring glory to Him. Where we fail, God’s mercy upholds us. And, as we learn to increasingly rely on Him, walking with Him, we are walking in worship.
“Make a joyful moise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness; come fefore His presence with singing. Know that the Lord is God; it is He that has made us and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise; be thankful unto Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good: His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.” Psalm 100 (all verses, 1 – 5)
* These paragraphs contain words and thoughts based upon both Col. 3:16 & 17 and on John Piper’s definition of worship. This definition is found in the devotion titled ”Bodies, Breakfast, and the Marriage Bed.”
** The companion passage, Deuteronomy 11:18 – 21, in it’s entirety: Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the Lord swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.”