Posted by: John Adams | May 7, 2009

Riffs on Psalm 40

After waiting patiently on the Lord,  apparently something changed in the heavenlies for David. The psalmist records that after waiting, God “inclined to me and heard my cry.”

Not only did God listen, but God acted. “He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and he set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.”

This act of deliverance would have sufficed to relieve David of his plight, but God’s saving action in history always has a purpose. “For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; For how can My name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another.” (Isa. 48:11) God’s purpose in everything He does is to magnify His glory in the eyes of His people, eliciting worship. “He put a new song in my mouth,” David writes. “A song of praise to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord.”

The salvation of the Lord in our lives should result in worship. Worship takes many forms, but is most frequently expressed biblically through the words of our mouths. “Through him,” Hebrews 13:15 exhorts us, “continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.”

There are five observations to be made through this verse about worship:

1) Worship to God is “through Him,” that is, through Jesus Christ. Christ is both the focus and the enabler of true worship.

2) Worship is “continual.” Christians should always be worshiping, not in the sense of always singing, but always composed inwardly toward worship.

3) Worship is a “sacrifice.” Though worship will not always flow naturally from our souls, and may be costly at times, yet as priests in the Kingdom, it is our duty to offer it up to the Lord.

4) Worship is “fruit.” Note that the writer does not say we offer up the “works of lips.” Lips that bless the name of Jesus are the fruit of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Spirit renews our minds through the revelation of Jesus Christ in His Word. When that revelation elicits the proper response–reverence, awe, and gratitude–that is called worship.

5) Worship is thankful. True worship arises from grateful hearts that respond to what God has done in Christ with words, songs, and sounds of praise.

For all of the above reasons, worship flows forth most easily from broken people. You do not have to have your act together to be a worshiper. Quite the opposite–the places in our lives that have been most wrecked by sin and shame are the places that, when touched by Christ, can be the places in our lives from which worship flows forth most freely. The song of worship in Scripture, after all, is the song of the redeemed.


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