Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The LORD has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations. He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to the house of Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; make music to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn— shout for joy before the LORD, the King. (Psalm 98:1-6)
Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob! (Psalm 81:1)
Shout with joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious! Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you. All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing praise to your name.” Come and see what God has done, how awesome his works in man’s behalf! (Psalm 66:1-5)
Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods. (Psalm 95:1-3)
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. (Psalm 100)
Did you notice anything about these verses?
They are just some of the verses that call us to worship the Lord and to focus on who He is, what He has done, and to remember His character.
Here’s the thing: there are no qualifiers to the call.
A lot of times when we approach the act of worship, we allow how we feel to impact what we do. We let the tough week, the doubt, the huge burden sitting on us, or the complacency of our spiritual walk to influence whether we actually worship. The changing nature of our lives directs how we respond to the unchanging God.
Why do we do this?
The Bible doesn’t tell us to worship His greatness if life is great or to declare His praises if we feel like it. Just as His character is unchanging and constant, our response to Him is to be consistent. Yet, we insert our own qualifiers depending on how we feel.
Consider the context of Psalm 100. Psalm 100 is known as a “psalm of ascent” that was sung by the Israelites as they traveled to Jerusalem to worship. These weren’t easy trips. It often took many days. There weren’t rest stops, McDonald’s, or Holiday Inns along the way. You had to take everything and everyone with you. It was dusty and dirty and hot. Consider how crabby we get when we have to take a multi-day car trip with the family (at least I can). These people had all the more reason to be crabby as they began the final climb up the hill to Jerusalem. Yet, what does the Psalm say to do? To enter with thanksgiving and to praise His name…even after a long trip.
I understand. There are times when we don’t feel like worshipping. In our culture with all the stress and heartache around us, those times can come more often than we would like. But even in those times, we are still to worship. David from the Bible knew this. He wrote many psalms that start out painting a picture of how terrible life is. Yet, by the end after he has remembered who God is, the tune has changed.
Here’s the thing: In the times when I don’t “feel” like worshipping, I still need to choose to do it. And when I do, my eyes are taken off the momentary troubles and I am reminded of the unchanging nature of God. My heart and perspective are changed. I find strength, joy, forgiveness, and hope in the Lord Almighty.
So, the next time you don’t feel like worshipping, or you find it an inconvenience to stand and sing with the assembled group, or you are wondering if it makes any difference, choose to worship and remember the words of Psalm 95:
Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.