As we’ve experienced this month: 1. We were all made to worship; 2. God has given us ways to worship him in our gatherings (Sunday) and; 3. He has given us ways to worship him outside of our gatherings (Monday through Saturday). These three concepts lead to this conclusion, when we engage in life as an act of worship we begin to live for the purpose which we were created. We begin to delight in his presence, everyday, in all of life.
Delightful Worship In Every Season
In life we will experience times when we are called to worship from the top of the mountain. It’s easy to worship from that vantage point! However, God spends a great deal of time instructing us to also worship in the midst of the valley (Ps. 40; 1 Peter 1:6-9). The purpose of that metaphor is to point to the end of the means: worship God in every season.
John Piper has listed three stages of worship from the Psalms that lead us toward the ideal experience of worship. These three can be experienced in completely different seasons of life or all in the same day (in the mountain or the valley). God delights in your worship through each of these stages because each gladly reflects back to God the radiance of his worth.
1. The lowest stage of worship–where all genuine worship starts, and where it often returns for a dark season–is the barrenness of soul that scarcely feels any longing, and yet is still granted the grace of repentant sorrow for having so little love: “When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you” (Ps. 73:21-22). Repentance in faith confesses our sin and need in light of his holiness and righteousness while also recognizing God’s forgiveness and provision for our sin. It expresses our heartfelt desire to turn away from our sin (and ourselves) and back toward his righteousness (and himself!) This greatly honors him indeed.
2. In another stage, we often taste but do not feel fullness. Instead, we feel longing and desire. Having tasted the feast before in our lives, we recall the goodness of the Lord, but it seems far off. We preach to our souls not to be downcast, because we are sure we shall again praise the Lord (Ps. 42:5) Yet, for now, our hearts are not very fervent. Even though this falls short of the ideal of vigorous, heartfelt adoration and hope, it is a great honor to God. We honor the water from a mountain spring not only by the satisfied “ahhh” after drinking our fill, but also by the unquenched longing to be satisfied while still climbing to it.
3. There is a final stage in which we feel an unencumbered joy in the manifold perfection of God–the joy of gratitude, wonder, hope, admiration: “My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips” (Ps. 63:5). In this stage we are satisfied with the excellency of God, and we overflow with the joy of his fellowship.
Friends, take heart of his goodness and worship in every season. Our seasons change, but he remains the same forever. He is eternally worthy of all worship.
The Importance of Worship (as our delight)
Worship as we have discussed is of the utmost importance to God so it should be of the utmost importance to us. We see the picture of God’s intention for our creation (to worship) in Ephesians 1:1-14. Dr. Frame, in the book we’ve been using as our guide, explains this Scriptural picture.
“He [God] begins before time: God ‘chose us in Christ before the creation of the world’ (v. 4). Then God ‘predestined us to be adopted as his sons’ (v. 5), redeemed us through the blood of Christ (v. 7), and revealed to us the mysteries of his will, which will be fulfilled at the end of history (vv. 9-10). The conclusion of all, the goal to which all history proceeds, is praise, the ‘praise of his glory’ (v. 14).”
“‘Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever,’ (WSC 1). This statement of the goal of human life is a Scriptural statement (1 Cor. 10:31). To glorify God is to praise him. The book of Revelation presents us with a heaven and an earth filled with praise as the culmination of God’s redemption (Rev. 5:13; 7:12). We have been chosen as God’s special people so that we can ‘declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9).’”
Conclusion Of All This
Now at the end of our study I pray that the conclusion is quite clear. The glory of God and his worship is the point, end, and fulfillment of his intention for creation.
This brings us full-circle to the beginning of our journey. We were all created to worship. We can only fulfill our greatest calling by worshiping God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Deut. 6:5; Matt. 22:37; Mark 12: 30; Luke 10:27).
My prayer is just that. That we would live our lives for the glory of his name now and forevermore. Lord Jesus, let it be so in us, amen!