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What Does it Mean to Really Worship?

December 27, 2017 Crowd with hands reaching up

Buried in the historical books of 1 and 2 Chronicles is a practical primer on how to worship God. It shouldn’t surprise us, since Chronicles was written to call people back to the Lord and to remind them of all the wonderful things God had done for them and why He is worthy of our worship.

In a nutshell, that is what worship is—reflecting back to God what we think He’s worth.

As we study 1 Chronicles on the Bible Bus this month, we’ll witness how King David led the people in a great worship service as the Ark of the Covenant was brought back to the tabernacle (chapter 16).

What stands out in this celebration, however, is what we can learn from David’s example about how to worship God. To get the most from our study, first read in your Bible this powerful praise passage, 1 Chronicles 16:8-32.

Four Ways to Worship God Today

The grateful worship leader, King David, praised God in 1 Chronicles 16:8-32 in practical ways—things we can do, too. Dr. McGee draws them out for us here—for everyone who wants to worship God in spirit and in truth.

Make His Deeds Known

Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples!
-1 Chronicles 16:8

My friend, we need to talk about God and get the Word out. We need to make His deeds known. Too many of us know the advertisements on television better than we know God’s gracious works among the people. But He is at work. My Christian friend, for God’s sake, get into the Word of God and learn to recognize His hand at work. And then thank Him for it, every time you see it. 

Just as God moved in the past, He is still moving today. He is not through with this little world and I think, if we look for it, we can see His hand in the affairs of the world today. And to see it will encourage us to keep talking about it.

Sing to Him

Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; talk of all His wondrous works!
-1 Chronicles 16:9

Singing is an important way in which to praise God. Although I can’t sing, I can make a joyful noise to the Lord. I don’t attempt to sing in public, but when I get in the car by myself, I really let go with song. It doesn’t sound good even to me, but I like to praise God.

We need to get so involved in the Word of God that we become enthusiastic, and sometimes that leads to singing. Anyone who is enthusiastic about a football game is called a fan, but if we’re excited about the Word of God, the world calls us a fanatic. Well, as believers, we need to get so involved in the Word of God to the extent that we praise the Lord with that same energy.

Seek His Face

Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord! Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face evermore! -1 Chronicles 16:10, 11

James 4:8 tells us “draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” All we must do for salvation is to come to Christ and trust Him as our Savior. God has promised that we shall be saved, however that doesn’t ensure fellowship with God. For fellowship, we have to follow through with “seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face evermore.” Do you seek His face continually? What is the first thing you think about when you wake up in the morning? When you go to bed at night, what is the last thing you think about? Do you think about God all during the day? Or do you just leave God behind when you go to work or go to school or go to a social gathering?

Remember His Marvelous Works

Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth. -1 Chronicles 16:12

We were in the Hawaiian Islands, and one evening there was a glorious sunset. I called attention to it and said, “My, look at what God has done.” God does things in such a magnificent way. He mixed plenty of light, a great big sun, a lot of sky, and big mountains. He let that sun go down and put a lot of color in it just so we could enjoy it. David calls attention to God’s wonderful creation. He calls attention to God’s works.

Your Turn:

This month, brainstorm how you can worship God in these four ways: 

  • Make His Deeds Known:Who needs to know or be reminded that God is at work? When you tell others about what God is doing in your life, you are worshipping Him.
  • Sing to Him: Like Dr. McGee, sing your favorite worship songs and hymns in your car. When you praise God in song, you are worshipping Him.
  • Seek His Face: Deliberately make time in the early morning to seek the Lord before doing anything else. And talk with Him again as you wrap up the day. When you seek His face throughout the day, you are worshipping Him.
  • Remember His marvelous works: Keep a gratitude journal or partner with a godly friend in texting/emailing one thing you saw God do each day. When you look for Him at work, you are worshipping Him.

More from Dr. McGee on how to worship: Download the e-booklet What is Worship?

The Psalms are a fabulous hymn book, expressing worship to the Lord. Dr. McGee mentioned two psalms that focus on how to worship God. Turn in your copy of God’s Word and read these Psalms (aloud, if you can).

  • Psalm 96—what Dr. McGee called “the great singing psalm that shall be used in the eternal ages which lie before us.”

  • Compare 1 Chronicles 16:8-35 with Psalm 105—‘both Psalms are a great place to learn and practice how to praise the Lord with enthusiasm.”

Dr. McGee on Worship

“Attempting to define worship is, for us, much the same problem as that of the soldier stationed on the west coast when his mother, a native of Kansas, wrote: ‘When you come home, please bring a souvenir that will tell me something of the Pacific Ocean about which I have heard so much.’ He took her a bottle of sea water. Now that bottle of sea water may have said something about the ocean, but it told nothing of its vastness, of the breakers along the shore, nothing of the beauty of the sunlight on the whitecaps. It told nothing of the things of the deep, of the breeze that gently hovers. This illustrates our limits in defining how to worship. The Lord is so much more than what we can describe.”