The Call to Worship and the Church’s Responsibility

Psalm 96

Worship in song is enjoying great popularity in our day. Even the aspiring artists on the show American Idol are seemingly getting in on the deal. Apparently this past season they sang the worship chorus, “Shout to the LORD”. Now, were they worshiping when they sang this song? I have no idea if the young people on that show were worshiping the LORD or not when they sang, but I do know that just because they were singing “Shout to the LORD” does not mean they were worshiping the LORD.

Let’s be clear that singing songs is a great way to worship – but it is not all that there is to worship. We do not stop worshiping the moment we finish singing during a worship service.  Just because you are singing, does not mean you are worshiping. And if you are worshiping – this does not necessarily mean that you are singing. Can you sing a song to the LORD without worshiping him? Yes you can. Can you worship the LORD without singing a song to him? Yes you can. The word that is translated worship in the Bible is really a couple of different words that can mean to bow down or fall down prostrate.  It can also mean to come along side and serve or give an offering. So there is more to worship than just singing a song.

So American Idol is just pop-culture – what about the church?  I am fully convinced that there will be many in churches across the world this weekend, even at my own church, who will stand with those around them to sing to the LORD yet they will not be worshiping the LORD.

There is an abundance of good quality Christian music being produced in our day and this makes for a dangerous situation. We could very easily deceive ourselves and others in the church into thinking that we are answering the Psalmist’s call in Psalm 96 to worship the LORD, but in fact we are just singing a song.

This is why the Psalmist doesn’t just say sing a new song to the LORD and leave it at that. He gives us several reasons why we should worship the LORD. He says the LORD is worthy, the LORD is glorious, the LORD is sovereign, the LORD is Creator, and the LORD is the righteous Judge over all the earth – so sing a new song to the LORD. Worship the LORD. Ascribe glory to the LORD! This is the task of the church, of God’s people. We must not fail at this point. We don’t just say to the world, “Join us in singing to the LORD.” We tell them about the one to whom we are singing. If we do not make it clear why we sing to the LORD, why we worship Him, why we glorify Him, then who is to say if the nations are just singing songs or if they are truly bowing down, falling down before Him in worship.

Let’s remember this as we worship the LORD this week.

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1 comment so far

  1. Claire Weaver on

    So glad that you have a blog now.


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