Corporate worship seems to be downplayed in our current society. By corporate worship I mean the value of being part of the church body worshipping together as one body, rather than people worshipping as individuals in a meeting place with other individuals. It seems corporate worship has been devalued to the place where singing seems to be optional, and the essence of coming together is to gather information and leave feeling good. Therefore, it would be good to go back to recover the basics or worship. Psalm 33 is a great place to go for the basics.
Psalm 33:1–6 (ESV) — 1 Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright. 2 Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings! 3 Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts. 4 For the word of the Lord is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness. 5 He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord. 6 By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.
Notice first the imperatives or commands that are listed. We are called upon to “shout” which is to express great joy in the Lord with passion, we are to give thanks to God with instruments and song, we are to keep things fresh with a new song or keep from getting in such a rut that we just go through the motions, we are to do whatever we do with excellence applying skills and preparation, and we are to sing or play with great passion which is again expressed with the call for “loud shouts.”
How would you grade a recent worship service in which you were a part? How would you grade yourself? You may not have ever thought of such imperatives to attending to worship, mainly because it’s really not something that is taught. People have become used to the fact that most churches are just happy to have their presence in attendance so have become consumers, even shopping around looking for the church from which they can “get the most.” The call in Psalm 33 is to apply the effort to give everything you have to the worship, praise, and thanksgiving to God. And the scripture says … “it befits the upright.”
Praise, adoration, and gratitude are beneficial to every child of God. Another translation says it is “comely” or makes a person attractive in the sight of God. Now we know the Bible is clear that in ourselves, there is nothing in us that would make us attractive to God. It is by His sovereign grace and pleasure that He looks to anyone of us.
Titus 3:3–7 (ESV) — 3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Think about this: when you praise God, the scriptures teach that you are “blessing Him” by speaking well of Him. How does it make you feel when people speak well of you? How do you think it makes God feel when His children actually take heed to His word and act accordingly?
Psalm 100:1–5 (ESV) — 1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! 2 Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! 3 Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! 5 For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
Secondly, consider the impact of gratitude upon yourself. It has been proven that gratitude and the expression of gratitude feeds the most powerful emotion you can have. No wonder the Bible is clear to “be grateful.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV) — 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Thirdly, consider the impact of praising God upon others around you in the corporate worship service. As you are part of the body giving everything you have to singing and making melody in your heart to God, you are ministering to the people around, even teaching them.
Colossians 3:16–17 (ESV) — 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 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.
Here’s how Psalm 33 describes the work of song upon the church body in the building of faith, love, and hope:
Psalm 33:20–22 (ESV) — 20 Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. 21 For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. 22 Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.
The next time you attend a worship service, think about the impact your singing has upon God’s view of you, your emotions, as well as the encouragement to others to follow in the way of the Lord. Sing out with all you have or if you play and sing, do it with excellence. Prepare for the worship service through prayer, thought and meditation upon the ministry of worship. Encourage others to be active participants and not just spectators. Above all, come as a ministering servant and you will leave being blessed for blessing God and others.