Psalms 95:1-5 ESV
“Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.”
I started singing in the gatherings of the church when I was a small child. I have always loved to sing, and I have sung in choirs, ensembles, praise bands, quartets, trios and duets, and I have sung many solos. I have sung in nursing homes and in hospitals and in restaurants and at school and at weddings and funerals, etc. And even in my old age the Lord gave me close to 200 songs to write, and I was the one who sang them, even though my voice was moving more toward just making a joyful noise.
But it doesn’t matter what our voices sound like. It doesn’t matter if we can even carry a tune. I have one son who is tone deaf, but I love to hear him sing! Singing to the Lord, though it is certainly nice to be able to sing well, is not about how we sound. It is about what is in our hearts. It is about us truly being in love with Jesus and us wanting to please him, and us wanting to serve and obey him because we love him. When we sing to the Lord it should be a reflection of our walks of faithfulness to our Lord.
Psalms 95:6-7 ESV
“Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.”
But far too many Christians today think of worship only as singing praise and worship songs, or most especially during what is called a “worship service” in a gathering of the church (or what is falsely called church). Yes, singing is part of worship, but we can worship God without singing, and we can sing praise and worship songs and never worship God in truth.
I believe the best definition of worship in the Scriptures is found in Romans 12:1-2:
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your SPIRITUAL WORSHIP. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
For, kneeling before the Lord and bowing down to him is not just a physical act we go through, but it is to be an act of submission to him as Lord (Owner-Master). It is to be an act of surrender of our lives to him and of us taking the position as servant-slaves to him and to his righteousness. It is to be us forsaking our sinful practices to now walking (in conduct, in practice) in obedience to our Lord, and to his ways, and to his commands.
For our worship of God, which is acceptable to him, is us surrendering our all to him as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to him. It is us denying self and daily dying to sin, and it is us following our Lord in obedience. And it is us no longer being conformed to the ways of this sinful world, no longer thinking and behaving and talking like the ungodly, no longer doing the kinds of things that the ungodly do in their ungodly ways.
We, as followers of Jesus are to be holy in all our conduct, and holy means to be different from the world, to be separate from (unlike) the world because we are being made to be like Jesus in our thinking, attitudes, believing, speaking, and behaving. And people should recognize that we are different and that our lives are all about Jesus and following him and we are not caught up in all the trappings of this sinful world.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; 1 Co 15:58; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23]
Psalms 95:7-11 ESV
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
when your fathers put me to the test
and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
For forty years I loathed that generation
and said, ‘They are a people who go astray in their heart,
and they have not known my ways.’
Therefore I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter my rest.’”
Does this sound familiar to you? It should. The words are repeated for us in the New Testament in Hebrews 3 and 4, and the incidents are also referenced for us in 1 Corinthians 10 so that we don’t do what they did. And I find it intriguing that this is being said here right after talking about singing songs of praise to Lord in worship of him, and right after talking about how we need to kneel before God and bow down to him in worship of him.
This is a warning to Christians, which says right there that it is possible for us to harden our hearts against the Lord as many of the children of Israel did in the wilderness, and thus they died in the desert, and they did not enter into God’s eternal rest because of their unbelief, because of their disobedience to God in sinning greatly against him and not repenting of their sin and not turning back to the Lord to follow him in obedience.
We are to be careful that we don’t get caught up in the trappings of the world and that we don’t wander off from our pure devotion to the Lord to where we now accept living in sin as a normal part of our lives. We must guard against doing what they did, engaging in sexual immorality and in idolatry and revelry, grumbling against God and putting the Lord to the test. Yet these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did, and that we might not harden our hearts against our Lord.
And the Lord is saying the same thing to us today, and we are warned about this all throughout the New Testament. If we go astray in our hearts, and if we do not follow in the ways of the Lord, but we go the ways of the flesh, and we end up making sin our practice, and righteousness is not our practice, and we end up living in sin again in disobedience to our Lord, and obedience is not what we practice, we will not inherit the kingdom of God no matter what we profess with our lips. So, please read these Scriptures:
[Lu 9:23-26; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 1:28-32; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; Rom 6:16; Rom 8:3-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:26-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Jn 15:1-11; Rev. 2-3; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15; Matt 7:21-23]
He Lifted Our Burdens
An Original Work / February 15, 2014
Based off Isaiah 9:2-7
People walk in darkness.
They abide in their sin.
It has power o’er them.
True belief escapes them.
Jesus Christ came to save them.
He gave His life up for them;
Crucified; died for our sin,
So we might be forgiven,
And have life up in heaven.
Many come to know Him.
God’s love now o’erflows them.
They rejoice in vict’ry.
Their sin is but hist’ry.
We were once bound in slav’ry.
Jesus lifted our burdens;
Set us now free from Satan,
So we now walk in freedom.
Sin has no more dominion.
Praise be to our Savior!
He showed us His favor.
He took all our burdens;
Cast them all upon Him.
He is our mediator;
The Light which shines in darkness.
Counselor in our troubles;
He gives peace now in our hearts;
Joy which is everlasting.