• Tony Birkhead

Worship



God’s people have been given great reason to rejoice in Him!

INTRODUCTION

What images come to mind when you think of celebrating God?


What are some things we are tempted to celebrate or even worship in church that are not God?


When we think of celebrating God, we might naturally think of musical worship. Or maybe we think of a special service in the year, such as Christmas or Easter. If we are not careful, we can lose sight of the object of our worship and misplace our priority on the means of celebration over the One we celebrate. An example of this is giving a greater focus to the sound and style of musical worship rather than God to whom we are singing. In today’s passage, we are reminded that God has given us amazing reasons for celebration and rejoicing in Him.

KEY SCRIPTURE

Psalm 92

It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, 2 proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night, 3 to the music of the ten-stringed lyre and the melody of the harp. 4 For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord; I sing for joy at what your hands have done. 5 How great are your works, Lord, how profound your thoughts!

6 Senseless people do not know, fools do not understand, 7 that though the wicked spring up like grass and all evildoers flourish, they will be destroyed forever. 8 But you, Lord, are forever exalted. 9 For surely your enemies, Lord, surely your enemies will perish; all evildoers will be scattered. 10 You have exalted my horn like that of a wild ox; fine oils have been poured on me. 11 My eyes have seen the defeat of my adversaries; my ears have heard the rout of my wicked foes.

12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; 13 planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green,

15 proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

Read Psalm 92:1-4.

These verses describe the act of singing in worship before God. What value is there in singing our worship, rather than simply speaking true words about God?


What thoughts or emotions tend to accompany singing? How have you experienced this in worship?


According to these verses, what reasons have we been given to sing a song before God?


Why is it important that our worship is based on God’s work and not our own? How is this connected to Christ?


Our worship celebrates the Lord for who He is. The psalmist celebrated God for His faithful love. By nature, the Most High is the God of love and faithfulness. Believers never need to worry that God will wake up in a bad mood and take it out on them. The psalmist would wake up declaring God’s faithful love in the morning, and he would go to bed at night declaring God’s faithfulness. God’s love and dependability were cause for celebration.


We also celebrate the Lord for what He has done and is doing in our lives. The psalmist declared, “You have made me rejoice, LORD, by what you have done” (v. 4). He is actively involved in all that we do, particularly when we respond to His presence, worship Him, and seek His counsel in our lives. Unbelievers do not experience this; believers do. Let us worship God because it is our delight to do so and not out of some sense of sheer duty. Worship becomes drudgery when we feel duty bound to acknowledge God.


Read Psalm 92:5-9.

In verse 6, who can we understand to be the “fool” and the “stupid” person?


What does it mean in verse 7 that the wicked “sprout like grass” and “evildoers flourish”?


Point out the contrast between verses 6-7 and 8-9. Why is this dichotomy important, and what does it communicate to readers?


As believers, you and I can take comfort in knowing the future is in God’s hands. He will have the last word. Does our worship reflect these biblical truths? Do we celebrate the fact that God created all things? The sweet aroma of a blooming rose and the splendor of the mountains in the fall are all part of God’s creative genius. Do we celebrate His redemptive work? Just as He delivered Israel from Egyptian bondage, He delivered us from our sins through faith in Jesus Christ. You and I can celebrate God by recognizing these eternal realities. When we gather to worship on Sunday, let us worship God and sing His praises for who He is and for what He has done.


Read Psalm 92:10-15.

Based on verse 12, what is required to thrive like a palm tree or cedar of Lebanon?


Why is it significant that the righteous have been planted in the house and courtyards of God?


According to verse 15, what is the chief purpose of those who will thrive in their old age?


Because worship transforms lives, we can enter worship with anticipation that lives will be changed by the power of the gospel. Believers bear spiritual fruit even in old age. We never have to consider ourselves useless to God or retired from His service just because of age.


MOVING FORWARD

  • What new motivation have you been given for worship from today’s study?

  • How can we seek to encourage one another and remind one another of the privilege of worshiping God?

  • How will a life of greater worship lend itself to a greater desire to share the gospel with others?

PRAY TOGETHER

Close in prayer by taking time as a group to declare truths about God as an act of worship. Ask God to reveal what He would have you change in your personal worship, and also for the strength and wisdom to carry out His answer.

COMMENTARY

Psalm 92

92:2 Deuteronomy 6 teaches God’s people to speak His word day and night, reflecting on His covenant love and faithfulness in the presence of the family and the community. The wise person finds delight in meditating on the Torah regularly (1:2). Creation testifies to God’s constant care (19:1).

92:4 The chiastic structure of the Hebrew, which is not reflected in the English, emphasizes the Lord’s works. I will shout for joy is the last element of the verse in Hebrew.

92:5 The term profound underscores the unfathomable and mysterious nature of God’s thoughts (40:5; 139:17; Isa 55:9-10).

92:6 Using wisdom terminology, the psalmist admonished the stupid (“uneducated, brutish”) person and the fool. Both fail to sustain a close relationship to God, and they reject the wisdom necessary for right living. The prophet Isaiah depicted Israel as more stupid and foolish than brutish beasts (Isa 1:3).

92:7 The vulnerability and temporal nature of the wicked compares to vegetation that sprouts temporarily, then withers and disappears, leaving no evidence of its existence. The psalmist took comfort in knowing that evildoers would experience eternal destruction.

92:8 The sovereignty and immutability of God contrast with the weakness and finitude of man.

92:10 Lifted up my horn is a figurative expression denoting restored vitality and power (89:17; 148:4; 1Sam 2:1). Being anointed with oil can mean consecration for service (Lv 8:10-12), but here probably refers to an act of hospitality that symbolizes favor (Ps 23:5).

92:12 The righteous blossom and grow strong like trees, whereas the wicked blossom then wither away like grass (v. 7). Lebanon was known for its abundant supply of cedar trees used in construction. Trees often refer figuratively to the characteristics of national leaders.

92:13-14 The house of the Lord refers to the temple. This is a pattern for paradise, representing the order of creation and a place of rest in the presence of the Lord. The righteous thrive as the result of God’s providence (1:3; Jer 17:8). Old age will not take away their vitality.

92:15 The strength of the righteous demonstrates Yahweh’s reliability and impartiality. The enemy prospers but is destroyed after attempting to present himself as genuine. Those who are truly the Lord’s have no hypocrisy or deceit; their prosperity endures.


DAILY QUIET TIME GUIDE


HOW TO HAVE A DAILY QUIET TIME

The QT Guide is designed to help you MOVE with God through Bible Reading, reflection and prayer. It can be completed in about 9 minutes.

UPWARD: 1⁄2 Minute Preparing Your Heart:Invest the first 30 seconds preparing your heart. You might pray, “Lord, cleanse my heart so You can speak to me through the Scriptures. Make my mind alert, my soul active, and my heart responsive. Surround me with Your presence during this time.

FORWARD: 4 Minutes Listening To God:Take the next four minutes to read the Bible. Your greatest need is to hear a word from God. Allow the Word to strike fire in your heart. Meet the Author!

INWARD: 2 1/2 Minutes Talking To God (Prayer):After God has spoken through His Book, then speak to Him in prayer.

OUTWARD: 2 Minutes Preparing your Action:Ask yourself this question: How can I take today’s Quiet Time and put it into action throughout my day?


DAY 1

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:1-2

Every aspect of our lives is part of our worship. We worship from the moment our eyes open in the morning to the second they close at night. Worship is magnifying (or making much of) someone or something by our actions, thoughts or words. It is setting anything, be it God or otherwise, into the place of high prominence and authority in our lives. However, this understanding of worship is slipping from Christian belief and practice. Worship today is generally thought of as a genre of music or a thirty minute period in which we sing songs to God.

Though the latter is a crucial component of worship (Eph 5:15-21), it does not encompass it. In fact, we learn from today’s passage that discerning God’s will from a transformed and renewed mind, and then acting in accordance with that will, is pivotal to our proper worship. We are called to be men, and women, and children who become like Jesus; not a people who try to make Jesus fit our desired mold for Him.

Improper conformity (or religiosity) is worshipping the “gods” of culture, while true Christianity is worshipping the One True God in culture. When we hold a small view of worship we lose sight of “what is good and acceptable and perfect” because we lose the ability to truly know it! Only through the giving and submitting of our entire lives can we rightly worship God and fulfill our purpose and mission on this earth.

Adapted From: http://shortdailydevotions.com


DAY 2

Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell. They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat. Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them.

Psalm 115:4-8

John Calvin famously said that “man’s nature is a perpetual factory of idols.” He was absolutely right. And today’s devotional verses show us what happens through idolatry. What is idolatry?

So what is idolatry? Paul defines idolatry in Colossians 3:5–6 like this: Put to death therefore what is earthly in you sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.On account of these the wrath of God is coming. Paul gives a laundry list of things. But he uses them as a build up to a description of idolatry: covetousness. And because covetousness starts in the heart, so does all idolatry.

What happens to idolators? In today’s passage, we learn something pretty terrifying. Idols may look valuable, like precious silver and gold. But in the end, they’re powerless things that pass away. Notice, though, what we learn in verse 8: Those who make them become like them;so do all who trust in them.We become what we worship. When we worship — or pursue as ultimate — idols, we become powerless, discontent, and disconnected, just like they are. But when we worship Jesus, we are made more and more like him.

How do you view Jesus? So the question today is, “How valuable is Jesus to you?” Is he more valuable than:

· The way you look,

· How much money you have,

· Pornography and sinful sexual encounters,

· Substances that you’re ruled by,

· Or any other idol under the sun?

The way you view Jesus determines how you pursue him. So, are you pursuing worthless idols — or the God of infinite worth? Remember, you are what you worship. Worship and pursue Jesus, today.

Adapted From: http://shortdailydevotions.com


DAY 3

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.

1 Peter 4:12-14

We shouldn’t expect the Christian life to be easy and comfortable, because believers aren’t exempt from trials. In fact, becoming a Christian may result in increased trouble and suffering. Peter refers to such hardship as a “fiery ordeal,” and tells us not to be surprised by it (1 Peter 4:12). God uses our suffering for His good purposes, and He walks through it with us. Hope in the midst of affliction is possible when we understand what God is achieving in the situation.

First, the heavenly Father sometimes uses painful experiences to purify us. Trials drive us to the Lord and open our eyes to sins that we have tolerated. His discipline is not designed to crush us but to produce “the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Heb. 12:11).

Second, the Lord at times allows difficulty as a way of testing us. His goal is to produce increased faith, endurance, and devotion to Him. Rather than complaining, we should exult in our tribulations, knowing that they are producing proven character within us (Rom. 5:3-4).

Third, God uses suffering to display his power. Trials humble us by revealing our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). They teach us to depend on the Lord for the power to persevere and mature.

Fourth, our suffering has eternal benefits. Earthly affliction “is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17).

Let these truths encourage you to view your next trial from God’s perspective. Though you may not feel it at the time, the Lord is with you. He is your hope and sufficiency..

Adapted From: http://intouch.org


DAY 4

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. 4 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: 6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.

Psalm 37:3-6

God’s blessings are so rich and abundant that we must guard against loving Him merely for what He gives us. He Himself is to be the greatest passion of a believer’s life. And if this is true of us, then we will prioritize Him over possessions, vocation, and even other relationships.

Yet some people miss the true message of Psalm 37:4 because they focus only on the part that seems to say they can get what they want from God. It’s important to notice that the qualifying statement attached to that promise is devotion to Him: “Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart” (emphasis added).

Although God “richly supplies us with all things to enjoy,” they should never supplant our delight in Him (1 Timothy 6:17). For instance, God has made it possible for me to travel and photograph some beautiful places, but I know that the key to enjoying life is to delight in Him above all else. God’s rightful place is as Lord of our life; to give anything else that position puts us at risk and dishonors Him.

The human heart is naturally selfish, and without God as top priority, we will likely pursue earthly goods and pleasures. But when He is our first love, those cravings are replaced by desires that fit His will and purpose for us.

Although David faced great tragedy and heartache, he understood that a heart devoted to the Lord also knows delight and blessing. Take David’s words to heart, and let the Lord become your top priority. You will discover that knowing Him is your greatest delight.s rooted in the recognition of who we are in Christ—beloved, redeemed, and holy children. Nothing changes His opinion.

Adapted From: http://intouch.org


DAY 5

But the time is coming and is already here when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for anyone who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.

John 4:23-24

Would you consider yourself a worshipper? Believers in God might be quick to say yes, while others who are not believers—or perhaps are skeptics—would say they’re not. I would suggest to you that everyone is a worshipper. Now, understand me. I did not say that everyone worships God. I simply stated that everyone worships.

Some worship at the altar of the “First Church of the Perfect Physique.” To them, it’s all about how they look. Others worship at the “Altar of the Mall.” To them, it’s all about what they wear. Others worship celebrities or sports stars or political heroes. But everyone worships someone or something.

Now consider this: God is looking for people to worship Him! He is seeking seekers! Years ago, Jesus had an intense conversation on a hot afternoon with a woman who had wasted years of her life chasing men who let her down. Jesus knew what she really was seeking deep down inside was a relationship with God. She was spiritually thirsty and he made this statement to her:

But the time is coming and is already here when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for anyone who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.(John 4:23–24 NLT)

But how do we do this? How do we worship God in “spirit and in truth”? Is there some sort of formula or ritual for doing so? Perhaps there’s a special place or time that is best suited to get in contact with God. Don’t we need specially trained people to help us call upon the Lord? Jesus was explaining that true worship is not about necessarily meeting at a particular place or time, but rather a matter of the heart. In other words, spiritual worship is not about where or when, it’s about how.

When Jesus said, “God is Spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the spirit and in truth,” he indicated two fundamental elements of true worship:

1. God must be worshipped in spirit.

2. God must be worshipped in truth.

Let’s start with the latter—God must be worshipped in truth. The God we worship must be the true God—not a god of our own making. So our worship of God must be based on reality or truth. And what is that truth? First, God can only be approached and known though Jesus Christ. I know that some people cringe at a statement like this. But it is the truth as presented in the Bible.

You see, Jesus is God made flesh. The more we know about Jesus and His life, the more clearly we see the reality of God. And it is only through his sacrifice and death on the cross that we have access to the Father. We don’t attempt to approach God on the basis of our own personal righteousness or merits. We put our trust in Jesus as the one who makes us right with God.

Second, God is worthy of our worship, and we should worship him whether or not we feel like it. Do you think some of Jesus’ followers were “in the mood” to worship God when they were arrested, beaten, and thrown in the dungeon for their faith? Would you have been? We read the story of the apostle Paul and his friend Silas who were whipped and put in stocks in a dungeon. Yet at midnight, they sang praises to God. Look, it’s one thing to come to church and worship when we feel like it, when things are going reasonably well. The bills are paid. The sun is shining. The birds are singing. Everything is good. So we say, “Praise God!” Then the next Sunday, the sun isn’t shining. The birds aren’t singing. There are problems. So we think, “I don’t feel like going to church.” But that’s when we need to worship more than ever. That’s when we need to say, “Lord, I’m helpless. Lord, I need your wisdom. I need your guidance. I need your power. I need your comfort. Lord, I am turning to you.” We worship regardless of our circumstances, because God is always worthy of our praise. We should worship God not because we are in the mood, but because God has asked us to and has everything in control. That is the sacrifice of praise.

Third, we can’t worship God when we knowingly have sin in our lives. That doesn’t mean we have to be sinless before we can worship God—that’s impossible. Rather, when we knowingly and willfully sin against God, we are deceiving ourselves—and our prayers and worship will not be received. For example, if I know I’ve lied to someone and have no plans to come clean anytime soon, I can’t expect my worship to be meaningful before God. Or if I am holding a grudge against someone and have no intention of trying to work things out with him or her, then I shouldn’t expect God to be honored by my worship. Or if I am living in sexual sin, I shouldn’t expect God to want to hear my songs of praise or prayers and petitions. The Psalmist tells us “If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, my Lord would not have listened“(Psalm 66:18 NLT).

God wants our lives and our worship to be combined together in an honorable way. God wants us to worship in spirit and in truth. And God wants our hearts more than anything else. So accept it—you are a worshipper! Just make sure you are worshipping the right God in the right way our jobs or somewhere else, the first place to go is to God in prayer. The first thing we need to do is to ask God for help.

Adapted From: http://harvest.org


MOVING FORWARD

One of the best ways to fight temptation and grow in your daily walk with Jesus is to memorize His Word. Begin to commit His words to your memory this week.

Memorizing may be as simple as repeating the passage aloud 10 times each day or writing it 5 times each day. It may be that you place a 3x5 card on your mirror to remind you each day. Whatever it takes you won’t be let down with His Word in your mind and heart. Consider this…


It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, 2 proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night,

Psalm 92:1-2

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