Some of you may not know this…but, I have been known to be very emotional in my praise and worship. I sing loudly; I shout; I dance; I cry, …a lot! I have even been known to get so excited that I run up and down, and spin around! I have been known to raise a few eyebrows and set some tongues awaggin’. I guess I have been a little “undignified” when it comes to praising Jesus.
I have read a few articles lately criticizing emotion in worship. Saying that it is shallow and stimulating only to the flesh. Is that what the Bible says? Did you know that there is a pattern for our worship in the Bible? There is! Take a look at Acts 15: 15-18 & Amos 9: 11 The Apostles were discussing how the church should be set up, and who it should include. James quoted the prophet Amos saying:
“After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.”
Remember that David was a man after God’s own heart! (ISamuel 13:14 & Acts 13:22) He wanted the Presence of the Lord to be nearby! As he brought the Ark of God up to Jerusalem, he danced before it with all of his might. His wife, Michel was watching from a window and despised him for being so undignified. After all, David was King of Israel! Why, he had thrown aside his kingly robe to humble himself before the King of Kings! His answer to Michel’s accusations? “It was before the Lord! …I will yet be more vile (undignified) than this, and will be base in mine own sight!” (2Samuel 6:22)
I think we would all do well to withhold judgement of those who lose themselves in praise and worship. The consequence for Michel’s judging attitude was that she was denied children. She remained barren for the rest of her life.
Like Moses for the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, David sought the Lord for the patterns and principles which included emphasis on the Presence of the Lord open to all; the Principle of Preparation; the Principle of Appointment of musicians and their leaders evidenced by skill and anointing; the Principle of Separation and Sanctification; the Principle of Authority and Order; and the Principle of Continual Praising with all of their might. If the church follows these principles, it is building worship according to the pattern given to us. Worshipping ..“before the Lord!”
Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.
2 Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.
3 Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.
4 Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
5 Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.
6 Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.
And then there is the ever popular Psalm 103: 1
Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Our souls include our minds, our wills, and our emotions! Are we using all that is within us to bless Him?
The crucial issue is this: Are we a people after God’s own heart, or are we putting on a show for the people who are around us. Can we say with David that our worship is “before the Lord?” Is He our audience of One? Remember, you can only judge yourself on this issue. You should never try to judge anyone else’s motives or heart. Leave it to church leadership to bring correction, if they need to. Focus on Jesus alone, and enter into His Presence with your praise. Give Him the glory due His name. And enjoy it!
Let’s Pray: Father of All, help us to learn to praise you the way your word instructs us. We want to give You all the glory that is Your due. Help us to increase our praise vocabulary to recognise your greatness and majesty. Be blessed by our praises, Lord, as we grow in Your grace. In Jesus’ name,