As the first quarter of the year has progressed, my thoughts have been directed to the appropriate elements of worship in the church and how we (the church) practice worshiping the Most High God in a way that pleases Him. As I have pondered these things, a verse from Scripture keeps coming to the forefront of my mind:
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. - Colossians 3:16 (NASB)
When Paul says we should be taught and admonished by psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, what does that mean?
I believe it means that we, at the very least, are to look to the 150 Psalms of the Old Testament as a guide to corporate (the church gathered) worship - among other things.
When you look closely, the 150 Psalms are a perfect template and guide to the form, fit and function of worship through music - if you pay attention as you read through, you will find many elements that we practice today in our local church worship:
1. Singing songs
2. Singing new songs
3. Lifting up our hands
4. Making a joyful noise
5. Praising him with instruments
So - here are some points to ponder:
What other ways of worshiping the Lord do we find in the Psalms?
Are there things that you find uncomfortable in the way we worship today?
How do you reconcile your feelings about worship with the directions of Scripture concerning worship?
As you think about these things - take a look at a couple of the Psalms for guidance:
1Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth.
2Serve the LORD with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
3Know that the LORD Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
4Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
5For the LORD is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations.
Psalm 149: 1-6a
1Praise the LORD!
Sing to the LORD a new song,
And His praise in the congregation of the godly ones.
2Let Israel be glad in his Maker;
Let the sons of Zion rejoice in their King.
3Let them praise His name with dancing;
Let them sing praises to Him with timbrel and lyre.
4For the LORD takes pleasure in His people;
He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation.
5Let the godly ones exult in glory;
Let them sing for joy on their beds.
6Let the high praises of God be in their mouth,
1Praise the LORD!
Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty expanse.
2Praise Him for His mighty deeds;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness.
3Praise Him with trumpet sound;
Praise Him with harp and lyre.
4Praise Him with timbrel and dancing;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe.
5Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Praise Him with resounding cymbals.
6Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD!