Saturday, June 25, 2011

Psalms and 21st-Century Worship

The book of Psalms will not solve our worship controversies and dilemmas, which typically focus on taste and traditions rather than on biblical or theological propriety.  Is there a biblical way to worship? Yes - with a "pure heart" (24:4).  "Pure heart" refers to the integrity of our motivations and the clarity of our commitment to live holy lives.  That is the worship that is pleasing to God.  It is important for us to remember that the effectiveness of our worship is not measured by how we feel when we are done.  It is too easy to walk out of church asking ourselves what we got out of it.  We should be wondering what God got out of it.  Our question should be, "How did I do?"

"In addition, there are precedents for worship that we can glean from the Psalms.  For instance, despite the presence of exuberant worship in Psalms, we cannot afford to ignore the inclusion of the other two psalm categories - lament and wisdom.  Lament suggests the appropriateness of coming before God with problems, questions, petitions, humility, and repentance - not just in personal prayer, but in corporate contexts as well.  Wisdom psalms indicate the appropriateness of instruction and exhortation in the context of worship.  These should not be considered requirements, but ideas offered concerning the range of possibilities that should be considered for well-rounded worship."

John H. Walton and Andrew E. Hill, Old Testament Today: A Journey from Original Meaning to Contemporary Significance (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004), 371.

Soli Deo Gloria 

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