By Heather Adams, Crosswalk.com
Worshipping God has the double benefit of delighting Him and strengthening us. The Bible is full of wonderful models for us, but one of the greatest is King David. His writings reveal a heart of sincere worship: humbly acknowledging God's superiority in the world and in his heart, staying fixed on God's Word and will, and offering passionate devotion in intimate and lavish ways.
Just like us, David had moments of doubt, fear, and folly. But through it all, he recognized the power of worship and turned it into a lifestyle. As a result, he and his people had favor with God.
In 1 Chronicles 16, David shared a song that gives us a sense of how the “man after God’s own heart” approached his Lord. And all throughout the Psalms, we find verses that can inspire us to more active and exciting worship every day.
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1. Sing to Him
Sing to him, sing praise to him… – 1 Chronicles 16:9
From a young age, David wrote songs of prayer and praise to God. As a King, he made music an integral part of the worship services, appointing instrumentalists and singers by the hundreds.
Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people… – Psalm 30:4
The Israelites experienced the power music has to:
- Bring the congregation into worship
- Nurture a spirit of unity among members
- Increase the impact of the sermon's meaning
- Remind people of basic Christian truths
- Encourage and uplift
The blessing and challenge for us today musically is in having such a wide variety, including traditional hymns and newer choruses. In our worship, choosing a style is less important than finding songs to express our beliefs, thoughts, and even feelings in a biblical way. Then we will be making a joyful noise that will delight God.
Action Point: Choose one worship song or hymn, and study the words. Find a message or specific phrases that have meaning for you. Sing the tune out loud, focusing on what you learned from the song, to create a deeper worship moment between you and God.
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2. Seek His Face
...seek his face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11
Seeking something requires more of us than a quick search. Some synonyms for the word include explore, investigate, pursue, and chase. David knew that the only object worthy of that kind of search is God. Looked at in that light, seeking is necessary for a worshipful life. David also knew that the act of seeking God changes a person's heart.
Chasing after God results in some godly qualities growing in us, including:
The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him... – Psalm 37:23
Create in me a pure heart, o God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. – Psalm 51:10
Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice. – Psalm 112:5
Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. – Psalm 37:4
Staying engaged in worship will lead us to shine more of His light into the world.
Action Point: Think about something you have actively sought in your life, such as a goal or a relationship. Remember the excitement and determination you felt while reaching for it. Ask God to help you focus your energy on pursuing Him that way.
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3. Remember the Wonders
Remember the wonders he has done… – 1 Chronicles 16:12
David was continually aware of God's presence, and wanted the people of Israel to share in that experience. But he knew the tendency to set God aside, especially when life was going well. To help prevent that pattern, David often mentioned God's past works in his Psalms.
Accounts of what God has already done aren't just ancient history for us. Each one is a building block that makes our trust in Him stronger. They remind us that:
God is powerful.
The Lord is the stronghold of my life... – Psalm 27:1
God is faithful.
Have mercy on me, o God, according to your unfailing love… – Psalm 51:1
Reading about God's wonders can set off a wonderful cycle. We see what God has done for others. Then we recall ways the Lord has provided for us, in big and small ways. Expressing our gratitude stirs up joy, leading us to tell someone else and pass the worship forward.
Action Point: Take some time to think over the last week or so. Write down a list of blessings you've received, anything from the unexpected gift to a direct answer to prayer. You may notice that one item brings another one to mind. When you're done, lift up all or a few of them in a prayer of thanks to God.
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4. Proclaim His Salvation
The word “proclaim” conjures an image of someone delivering news loudly in front of a crowd, but it doesn’t need to be that dramatic. King David knew proclaiming is more about the boldness behind what’s being said, and the courage to live the words out. His worship life displayed both.
David had seen God's power to save. Sometimes it was on the battlefield, where the Lord brought victory to the Isrealite army. Other times it was more personal, as He granted forgiveness and mercy to individual believers. David gave testimonies like this in the Psalms:
It's been said that forgiveness is God’s promise to separate our sins from us, and salvation is being delivered from the consequences of sin that we deserve. David had received the blessing of those, and didn't hesitate to tell others.
God wants us to accept His gift, then reach out to those around us, showing forgiveness and grace just like He does. Doing that adds impact to our worship.
Action Point: Lift up thanks to God for His salvation. Include experiences you've had of the Lord's deliverance in your life, and the realization that His forgiveness has "washed you white as snow." Find opportunities to step out and share this amazing truth.
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5. Bring an Offering
...bring an offering and come before him. – 1 Chronicles 16:29
David was faithful to give animal, grain, and wine sacrifices as his ancestors did. But he believed there was a deeper sacrifice he could offer his Lord. Overflowing with appreciation and awe, David let his praise literally pour out of his body on many occasions.
His passionate outward displays came from a humbled heart and submitted spirit. David was willing to admit his human weaknesses, and embraced his need for the God who would build him up.
My sacrifice, oh God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. – Psalm 51:17
You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek You. My whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. – Psalm 63:1
Not everyone feels comfortable or agrees with big public acts of worship. But any believer who pursues the inward dependence on and devotion to God that David had will inspire others.
Action Point: Take some time to reflect on David's inward and outward moments of worship. Make a list of some smaller/private and bigger/public ways you show God praise.
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6. Be Glad
Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad... – 1 Chronicles 16:31
David expressed many different emotions to God in his songs. But the Psalms all share the common theme of being glad for the goodness of the Lord. Today, the word glad is often used interchangeably with happy. But here, glad has the deeper meaning of a lasting kind of joy. Here is a saying David might well have agreed with: "Joy describes not only an emotion, but an attitude as well.”
Gladness was a permanent part of David's life because he regularly meditated on what he'd been given. David encouraged the Israelites to be a glad people every day, because he knew it would result in more joy for the whole nation.
Let me hear joy and gladness… – Psalm 52:8
But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God… – Psalm 68:3
God has always called His children to rejoice in Him. By following David's example, we can grow in gladness. Focusing on how blessed we are will lead to strengthened spirits, peaceful hearts, and more dynamic worship.
Action Point: Start keeping a "God's Goodness" journal, and list at least one item in it every day. Take a moment, during quiet time or any time, to meditate on how much God cares for you. Let that lead you into expressing thanks, and joyful worship.
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7. Give Thanks
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good… – 1 Chronicles 16:34
Giving thanks was an important part of David's worship life. In every season and circumstance, he found reasons to honor God. As King, he tried to set an example for Israel of making praise a regular habit.
In his Psalms, David gives a glimpse of ways to give God thanks as a natural part of our worship every day.
I will give you thanks in the great assembly; among throngs of people I will praise you. – Psalm 35:18
Every day I will praise you… – Psalm 145:2
Sing to the Lord with grateful praise; make music to our God on the harp. – Psalm 147:7
I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart… – Psalm 9:1
Having an "attitude of gratitude" can have a powerful impact on our hearts and minds. We change from self-centered to God focused people. Our grumbling turns into glorifying, and our worship becomes a celebration.
Action Point: Think of some things that you are grateful to God for, such as His character, or how He has provided for you. Write a letter, poem, or prayer to express your gratitude. Then, even if you are alone, read it out loud. Chances are, that will lift your spirits and bring more praises to mind.
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8. Cry Out
David had no trouble leaning on God. In his Psalms, he openly expressed how needy he was, and called on his Lord without hesitation. He knew that crying out to God was essentially an act of worship, because he was acknowledging God's control and goodness. In calling out with a trusting heart, David brought God glory.
But crying out for help is not always something we are comfortable doing. Reaching out can make us feel too vulnerable or dependent. We may believe it demonstrates weakness. Generally, we're more likely to try and take care of ourselves, or to fix our own problems first.
The longer we keep our needs to ourselves, though, the more alone, frustrated, and even desperate we feel. The longer we wait to finally reach for God, the worse it gets before we find relief. God already knows our needs, so there is no shame in letting them show. The more we cry out to God, the more our hearts will turn towards worship.
Action Point: Read Psalm 34:6 and notice the two promises stated in the verse. Consider how keeping them in mind could make it easier for you to call out to God more quickly. Write out the verse and post it as an encouragement to reach for His in every circumstance.
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