If you regularly attend church services (or have participated in other faith-based events), does a leader ever start the proceedings with a “Call to Worship”? Growing up, I remember that Sunday mornings at church would sometimes include this on the schedule (printed in the bulletin). At this point, the host would often read a little bit from the Bible (always a good idea!), and then have a prayer. The idea, though, is that participants would be called (perhaps more of an instruction than a suggestion) to worship God during the service.
In Psalm 105, the author (who isn’t named, it seems) delivers a message of praise, presented as a list of instructions. We might think of this as an ancient “call to worship”. (Do you know the song, “O Worship the King”, or the “Doxology”? Those songs also exhort us to worship and praise God.)
Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.
Look to the LORD and his strength;
seek his face always.
Psalms 105:1-4 NIV
So, in this Biblical call to worship, let’s take a look at its instructions.
We should give praise (or thanks) to God. Here, rather than the Hebrew word elohim (mentioned in a recent article), we seem to have the name of God Himself, which we might pronounce “Yahweh”. The psalmist isn’t telling us to merely praise a “general god”. As followers of Yahweh, Jewish and Christian people praise a specific, known God, who has a specific name (along with many other descriptive names, although those aren’t necessarily the same as His personal name).
We should proclaim (or call upon) God’s name. What does that mean, though? I think of this as including being clear about who we worship and serve, whether we call upon God specifically (rather than the many other “small g” gods of this world), or we make it clear to others which God we serve, identifying Him by name.
We should get the word out about what God has done. This isn’t just something that we tell to our friends who share our beliefs, or a topic that we only mention in church (where it’s “safe” to do so). In fact, it sounds like we should tell the whole world. Whether in a distant land or right in our respective home towns, there are so, so many people who just need to know about God: who He is, what He has done, how much He loves them, and the path that He provided for them to return to Him.
We should sing to Him. I’m glad that God accepts a “joyful noise” (occurring in several psalms within the KJV translation). Whether or not we can sing well by human standards, there seems to be an element of worshipping God that is not confined to our own minds and thoughts. It sounds like we should be praising God and testifying about Him out loud, in some form or another. Whether you can sing (well or badly), play an instrument (or just beat on a tambourine), or talk about God’s majesty, I think that we’re each called to do more than just keep our praise about God to ourselves.
We should glory (or boast) in God’s name. Now, I know that we were taught to not brag about our own accomplishments (see 1 Corinthians 13:4), but we can boast in God’s name. For instance:
- We shouldn’t brag about being more righteous than other people. We can give God glory for the amazing salvation that He gave us, though.
- We shouldn’t brag about what we have accomplished. We can celebrate how God works in our lives, though.
We should rejoice. Have you ever known a Christian who was always pessimistic and brought conversations down? Have you ever been a Christian like that? Today, this trend includes people who focus on situations in society where evil seems to be gaining ground. In this fallen world, there are definitely times for sadness, grief, lamentation, and a shrewd understanding of what is happening around us, but Christians should be filled with joy…despite the presence of sin in this world.
And, as the means to that joy (as well as a source of strength), we should seek God. (A commentator – Zorn, cited below – suggests that this means seeking His presence and approval.) So, think about it: if you don’t have joy today, spend some time this week seeking God, as this psalm says.
- Let’s make sure that the only true God is our God, and that He is our only God.
- Let’s make sure that God is our God both in word and in deed: that is, both in our spoken (or sung) testimony about Him, and in a life that illustrates how His instructions guide our decisions.
- Let’s make sure that we are seeking out God, and looking to Him to fill our deepest needs.
- Let’s make sure that we are not keeping what we know about God to ourselves.
- Let’s make sure that we are not dwelling on lies about ourselves and about God, but rather finding joy in His truth.
- Let’s make sure that we are finding joy in seeking God.
From Sunday School lesson prepared for November 6, 2022
- The Lookout, November 6, 2022, © 2022 Christian Standard Media.
- Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
- Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation.
- The College Press NIV Commentary, Psalms, Volume 2, Walter D. Zorn, © 2004, College Press Publishing Co., Joplin, MO.