Continuing our series of blog posts as an introduction to worship…
Last time we began looking at how thanksgiving, praise and worship work together.
Thanksgiving and Praise are primarily utterances of the mouth, but worship is primarily an attitude of the heart and mind – so let’s look more at the first two to begin with
The Bible tells us much about praise including
- Praise is eternal – it’s origin is in heaven. It is the ceaseless occupation of all the glorious and eternal beings that inhabit heaven, where they enjoy close and uninterrupted access to God Himself. Uninterrupted access calls for uninterrupted praise.
- Praise has also been associated with the earth since it’s beginning.
“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? …while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?” (Job 38: 4,7)
Praise sent our world spinning on its orbit around the sun and it’s the duty and privilege of God’s followers to see that praise continues to mark its course until heaven and earth are no more.
- Praise is the appropriate way to relate to God as King on His throne.
“You are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel”[1. or “Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel”] (Psalm 22:3)
Praise, combined with thanksgiving gives us access to God. We see this in Psalm 95:1-5
”Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In His hands are the depths of the Earth and the mountain peaks belong to Him. The sea is His, for He made it, and His hands formed the dry land.”
here we see that thanksgiving and praise (extol means to praise, glorify or honour) are the way into God’s presence.
Psalm 100 (verse 4) tells us a little more about this
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name”
that they represent two different degrees of access; first through God’s gates, and then, through His courts. The Psalmist indicates that it is thanksgiving that brings us through the gates, but praise brings us into the courts.
Continuing where we left off in Psalm 95 (verse 6) we read
“Come let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker, for He is our God and we are the people of his pasture the flock under his care.”
Here we have the third stage; we’ve moved from the utterance to the attitude, we began with thanksgiving and then praise but that wasn’t the end of our journey into God’s presence. When we only offer our thanksgiving and praise we have really missed the goal – true worship – which is not about what we say (or do) but about our attitude.
Next time we’ll take a slightly closer look at this third stage.