Read Psalm 145
Featured Verse: Psalm 145:21
“My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.”
I had occasion to be in another city recently where I attended a worship service. From all outward appearances, the church seemed to be thriving. The building was attractive—and innovative—the guest services were effective, the publications were outstanding, outreach opportunities were plenty, the mission of the church was cleverly stated, the people were great looking, the worship band was hip, the songs were the latest—the “cool factor” of this church was extremely high. Oh, I almost forgot, they were even observing the 11th Commandment: Thou shalt have a cool café that serves Starbucks coffee and blueberry scones!
But I was bugged. As I looked around, I noticed that people were not engaged in the worship. They were watching, enjoying, applauding after each song that was performed perfectly by the band. And that, I think, was what bugged me: It was a performance—or it appeared that way to me. The congregation was really a “concert crowd” and they were watching and enjoying “worship” as it was performed onstage by their band of spiritual “rock stars”. Worship was happening voyeuristically.
Then it hit me! As I was looking around at everybody else and judging the authenticity of their worship, I suddenly realized that anybody else in that crowd could have looked at me “rubbernecking” and made the very same assessment: Voyeuristic worship. I wasn’t worshiping, I was watching.
It was in that moment that the Holy Spirit reached down and dislocated my heart—ouch! So I decided to worship. I literally whispered this prayer, “God, you deserve worship, and if I am the only person in this place that will do it, I will worship you with all of my heart. You’re going to get worshipped today, and I am going to be the one to do it!” And to the best of my ability, I did.
Now I’ve got to tell you, once I made that choice, and even though I didn’t particularly like the style of music or the song choices, I ended up having one of the greatest experiences of worship I’ve ever had. I came into God’s presence and experienced the joy of giving my love to him, basking in his goodness, and experiencing his presence. And guess, what? When I opened my eyes, I saw a different church—there were lots of worshipers.
What changed? Not the church so much; it was me; I that had changed. My perspective was different. My heart was softer. And my experience of worship came close to what I think God wants it to be for me whenever and wherever I gather with his people to praise him: Worship from the heart of the worshiper. I made the choice to worship—style of music notwithstanding—and I experienced God!
That’s what David is doing here in this psalm—finding reason to give God the worship he deserves. That’s what this psalm is calling for from you and me. So the next time you have occasion, join David—and me—by making that choice to worship the God who deserves our very best worship. There are plenty of reasons, you know!
And if you are the only one willing to do it—which you are probably not—make sure that God gets worshiped!