Derek Smith, Lead Pastor LHBC

Psalm 98
Oh sing to the Lord a new song,
    for he has done marvelous things!
His right hand and his holy arm
    have worked salvation for him.
2 The Lord has made known his salvation;
    he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations.
3 He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness
    to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen
    the salvation of our God.
4 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
    break forth into joyous song and sing praises!
5 Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
    with the lyre and the sound of melody!
6 With trumpets and the sound of the horn
    make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord!
7 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
    the world and those who dwell in it!
8 Let the rivers clap their hands;
    let the hills sing for joy together
9 before the Lord, for he comes
    to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
    and the peoples with equity.

The citizens of Feldkirch, Austria, didn’t know what to do.  Napoleon’s massive army was preparing to attack. Soldiers had been spotted on the heights above the little town, which was situated on the Austrian border. A council of citizens was hastily summoned to decide whether they should try to defend themselves or display the white flag of surrender. It happened to be Easter Sunday, and the people had gathered in the local church. The pastor rose and said, “Friends, we have been counting on our own strength, and apparently that has failed. As this is the day of our Lord’s resurrection, let us just ring the bells, have our services as usual, and leave the matter in His hands. We know only our weakness, and not the power of God to defend us.” The council accepted his plan and the church bells rang. The enemy, hearing the sudden peal, concluded that the Austrian army had arrived during the night to defend the town. Before the service ended, the enemy broke camp and left.

Praise is a battleground. Because of the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ our enemy, the grand accuser of the brethren, the devil himself has been defeated. Whenever we praise and lift up the name of Jesus the enemy has to flee. Worship is essential to life and our victory over Satan! 

The Great A.W. Tozer once said, “Worship is to feel in your heart and express in some appropriate manner a humbling but delightful sense of admiring awe and astonished wonder and overpowering love in the presence of that most ancient Mystery, that Majesty which philosophers call the First Cause, but which we call Our Father Which Are in Heaven.” 

Worship is worth-ship, it’s declaring just how much Jesus is worth to us with our words, thoughts, and actions, and the Psalmist shows us what true worship is in Psalm 98. First, worship is remembering the marvelous works of God. He says we should sing to the Lord because He has done marvelous things. When was the last time you marveled at the faithfulness of the Lord? Have you ever just stopped to consider all the things He has done for you? When I stop to consider all He has done in my life, my family, and in His Church I am moved to praise. 

Secondly, we see that worship is rooted in the salvation of the Lord. He says the Lord has made known His salvation and revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations. Who is the righteousness of the Lord? Jesus is! In salvation we, sinful enemies of God, are reconciled to God through the shed blood of Christ. We exchange our sin for His righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21), that’s called justification. Justification is cross-shaped, it has both a vertical beam and a horizontal beam. The gospel makes us right with God vertically and joins us together with other believers horizontally in this new family called the Church whose purpose is to worship God. Worship is lifting up the name of Jesus. 

Lastly, the Psalmist says worship is rejoicing in His majestic sovereignty. Three times here he talks about joy. Worship should be filled with joyous celebration because Christ has overcome our sin, shame, and circumstances. Celebrating is not being fake, it is choosing to view life through the lense of God’s faithfulness. He goes on to say we rejoice before our Judge and King. We can worship no matter what is going on around us because Christ is King over us (and the world for that matter). He is coming again one day to set up His Kingdom here and our purpose now is to express His majestic Kingdom in and through our lives in worship. 

What is worship? It’s remembering His works, resting in His salvation, and rejoicing in His sovereignty. Child of God, choose worship. Don’t complain and grumble. Don’t stare at your circumstances and pout, look to our Savior and shout! He is faithful and His steadfast love endures forever. Praise Him! 

Father God, You are good and You are faithful. You are King over everything in my life, so I choose today to worship You. You are worthy of praise and adoration. Thank you Jesus for the cross, and help me Lord to praise You today and every day. Amen. 

Isaiah 41:10
Fear not, for I am with you;
    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.