Psalm 138:1-2 “A Psalm of David. I will praise You with my whole heart; before the gods I will sing praises to You. I will worship toward Your holy temple, and praise Your name For Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.”
In a devotion I wrote in March on Psalm 95:1, I discussed the importance of singing out in praise to the Lord, regardless of whether or not we have good voices. The body of Christ is a beautiful ensemble. Each and every one of us have voices that have been crafted by our Creator to praise Him with. We gladly respond to God’s call to lift our voices in song, especially together as the body of Christ, gathered to worship Him. You can read that devotion here. Today’s devotion is Part 2 of that study.
As the people of God who join the saints of the church triumphant each and every Lord’s Day in the worship of God, we need to be mindful of our sincerity in the worship we offer. Praise is truly a matter of the heart. If we have anger, bitterness, pride, selfishness, etc. in our hearts, this will affect our thoughts, words, actions, and praise. We may conceal it well from others, but God knows the secrets of our hearts. (Psalm 44:21) As we battle against sin, doing anything whole-heartedly is a challenge. In fact, at times, it may seem downright impossible. We, like King David, wrestle to give God what He alone deserves, that is our whole-hearted worship. Yet, note David’s words of praise and worship in these beginning verses of Psalm 138. These weren’t just from his lips, but truly from his heart:
- David was zealous in giving all of his praise to God. Note his commitment to sing praises before the angels and those in authority among men. He was bold and not ashamed.
- David would worship towards God’s holy temple. The priests alone went into the temple. The people, at the nearest, worshiped towards it. Because of Jesus and His finished work, God calls us into His presence, into His throne room, into the heavenly sanctuary to worship Him.
- David praised God for the fountain of His comforts, namely for His lovingkindness and truth, for God magnified His word above all His name. (v.2) God has made himself known to us in many ways in creation and providence, but most clearly in His Word. Such praise was a true testimony of God’s work of grace in David’s heart. David was filled with joy. He was committed to giving God what is rightfully His– all honor, praise, and glory.
Where is our zeal in the worship of God? Is our praise half-hearted or whole-hearted? Whole-hearted praise flows from a deep, God-given understanding of who He is as our holy, sovereign Lord, who we are as sinners, and what He has done for us in and through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We grow in that understanding as we study and meditate on God’s Word, as the Holy Spirit applies truth to our hearts and minds. As God sanctifies us, He teaches us and enlightens us that we would know and love Him more. (Ephesians 1:18-21) Further, Paul told the saints in Rome of the great love that God has for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) The Scriptures are full of glorious truths of God’s works, love, care, pursuit, and redemption of His people. As we read, hear, understand, and grow, praise wells up in our hearts.
Beloved, we all wrestle with half-hearted worship. However, God calls us to praise Him with our whole hearts. Therefore, I encourage you to approach the worship of Almighty God attentively and in all sincerity. It’s so easy to come to church unprepared to worship Him. It’s easy to become distracted and think of things other than God during the service. Our mouths are saying the words, but our hearts aren’t truly praising Him. It’s in those moments when worship has become merely a practice, not a pleasure, honor, and joy. This is one reasons why we quiet our hearts and minds at the beginning of the service. We sincerely desire to clear distractions from our minds so that as we prepare to worship Him, our focus will be entirely on Him, with whole-hearted engagement. You can read more about preparing your heart for Worship here and here. May God give us grace to worship Him earnestly and joyfully sing as the psalmist tells us to in Psalm 96:2, “Sing to the Lord, bless His name; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.” Amen.