Worship is difficult to define. We often associate it with singing, but we know it’s more than that, for Romans 12:1 tells us that giving our lives to God is an act of worship, not to mention the Israelite sacrificial system which God designed for His own worship. Psalm 29:2 calls us to worship the Lord, but it doesn’t stop there. It tells us what worship is and models it for us. Worship is defined in v1-2; it is ascribing to the Lord the glory that is due His name. So worship is saying what is true about God, drawing attention to His glory, and focusing on who He is. That means that we can worship God in song of course, for we can say true things about Him in our singing, but it also means that we can worship Him in our prayers, and in our preaching, and even in our lifestyle (as Romans 12 reminds us). This is why we call our weekend gatherings worship services; it’s because we want every part of our service to be saying something true about God and drawing attention to His greatness. We hope that is happening in the songs we sing, the prayers we offer, the Scriptures that we read, the giving that we practice, and the preaching that we hear, even our response to it.
“Ascribe to the Lord the glory due to His name;Worship the Lord in holy array.”(Psalm 29:2)
But this psalm doesn’t only define worship; it also models it in v3-11. Notice that the psalmist doesn’t ask for anything, he merely says true things about who God is and what He is doing. Of all the things that God is and does in this psalm, one is greatly magnified and clear by the sheer repetition of it, God speaks. This psalm was likely a dispute against the false idols of the Canaanite gods particularly those whose worship lived on among the Sidonians north of Israel (see v5). Those non-gods had mouths but couldn’t speak (Psalm 135:16). But not so with Yahweh, the God of Israel; it’s His voice that is powerful to do all that God does. It is creative (upon and over the waters, v3); it is sovereign (breaking cedars and making Lebanon skip, v5-6); it is judging (shaking the wilderness and stripping forests bare v8-9). Which brings us to David’s conclusion: worship is declaring that Yahweh is God. He is the sovereign God over all creation, sitting as King forever, and He is gracious, sharing His power and peace with His people.
This model of worship helps us see the effect of worship as well. For in reading this description of the greatness of God and His marvelous power and gracious work, we have welling up in us a desire to join the worship. And that’s what worship is supposed to do. When we are worshipping God rightly, people will be awed by our God and will want to join our worship by submitting to Him. That’s what evangelism is. It’s telling the world who God is and what He’s done, so they’ll want to submit themselves to Him too. Let us join the song so that others may join with us. – Pastor Rory Martin