Memory Text: “O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth” (Psalm 96:1).
Introduction: It’s been said, the fuel for worship is the truth about God. The furnace of worship is our spirit. The fire of worship is the Holy Spirit and the heat or result of worship is reverence, fear, adoration, contrition, trust, joy, gratitude, hope and much more.
What does it mean to praise and worship the Almighty God? Worship, according to the dictionary means: to show profound religious devotion; to have intense love and admiration. Praise on the other hand means to express admiration or approval for; to express thanks and worship to God. So, Praise and worship go hand in hand.
Praising and worshiping God is not about a ritual, or prayer repetition. It’s not about spending a few minutes a day reading our bible or about reciting our wish list on a daily basis. True worship requires total commitment of our body, mind and spirit. It’s about exalting, adoring and acknowledging our God. It is about having an intimate and profound relationship with God – the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. To worship God is to express our love and awe of who He is.
In Isaiah 66:1 God says “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool.” He is the Creator of the universe and everything in it.
This lesson is about David and his psalms or songs and what they can teach us about worship. As we dive into our study about song, music, and worship, let us keep these three questions in mind: What does worship mean? (Remember that worship comes from the Old English word, worth-ship.) How should we do it? What can it do for us?
Between Saul and David –
Question: Why did God choose Saul as the first king of Israel?
Saul had a good start as king. He was attractive, the people liked him, and he soon had an impressive military victory to his credit. But 1 Samuel 13 describes his first mistake. Saul offered the sacrifice himself — indicating a radical lack of faith in God. The altar was still warm when Samuel showed up and delivered a stinging message from God: “But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart” 1 Samuel 13:14.
God’s choice about Saul as the first king of Israel was not because God wanted him to be but because he matched the description the people had requested. But when God chose David to be the next king of Israel, He reminded Samuel that the Lord looks on the heart (1 Sam. 16:7).
1 Samuel 16:7 gives us a hint about the differences between Saul and David.
Read Psalm 32:1-5 and Psalm 51:1-6.
These verses were written after David’s sin with Bathsheba. David was far from being perfect. In fact, many argue that David’s later moral lapses were much more serious than Saul’s sins. Yet, the Lord rejected Saul but forgave even David’s worst mistakes, allowing him to continue being king.
Question: What made the difference?
God not only reads the heart, the center of thought, inner attitudes, and motives, but He can touch and change hearts that are open to Him, says the author. David’s heart yielded to the conviction of sin. He repented, and he patiently accepted the consequences of his sins. When David’s sins were pointed out, he immediately repented and sought God’s forgiveness. By contrast, Saul just rebelled.
Ellen White points out saying, “Yet the Lord, having placed on Saul the responsibility of the kingdom, did not leave him to himself. He caused the Holy Spirit to rest upon Saul to reveal to him his own weakness and his need of divine grace; and had Saul relied upon God, God would have been with him. So long as his will was controlled by the will of God, so long as he yielded to the discipline of His Spirit, God could crown his efforts with success. But when Saul chose to act independently of God, the Lord could no longer be his guide, and was forced to set him aside.”—Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 636.
Question: David wrote some of his most famous Psalms after some of his most famous sins! When was David a man after God’s own heart?
“I was shown that it was when David was pure, and walking in the counsel of God, that God called him a man after his own heart. When David departed from God, and stained his virtuous character by his crimes, he was no longer a man after God’s own heart.” 1Spirit of Prophecy 379.1
Though David had fallen [after his sin with Bathsheba], the Lord lifted him up. He was now more fully in harmony with God and in sympathy with his fellow men than before he fell. Patriarchs and Prophets 726.1
Question: What should we do if we have disappointed God? Can we still make things right?
The answer is yes. There is hope. One of the best examples of true repentance that we have ever seen can be found in Psalm51. David really messed up. He committed adultery and then he tried to cover it up. He even had Bathsheba’s husband killed. And once the seriousness of what he’s done hits him, he says, “Have mercy on me, O God. . . Cleanse me from my sin.” What matters is how God treats us! And how we approach God for forgiveness of our sins!
Question: Do we learn and grow after committing our sins? Do we as individuals and as a Seventh-day Adventist Church have a covenant relationship with God?
The Scriptures make it very clear that we are all sinners. (1 Kings 8:46; 2 Chronicles 6:36; Psalms 130:3,4; Proverbs 20:9; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:9-23; 1 John 1:8-10)
And that we are in need of the gospel of Jesus. We are in need of a Saviour. The gospel means ‘good news’ that Jesus died for our sins. It puts the emphasis on what God has done for us. And thus this gives us the basis and reason to praise and worship God for the everlasting gospel, Rev. 14:6,7.
It’s wonderful news that there is grace and forgiveness for anyone who repents. Proverbs 24:16 says that “a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again.” He doesn’t hide for the
rest of his life in disgrace. He gets back up! He goes on with his life. This was the experience of David. He gets back up in life praising and worshiping God with his songs and music. David recognized the role of song in worship. Whether this was a direct result of his experiences with his harp while herding sheep, or his forgiveness. We do not know. But he worshiped with songs.
David: A Song of Praise and Worship
Music is a great way to express emotions. Those emotions may include everything from wrath to loneliness, betrayal, and sorrow for sin, rejoicing, and worship. Experts who have studied music and its effects on human beings suggest that it bypasses the frontal lobes of the brain–the area of the brain where we do our serious thinking–and that the tempo and rhythm/beat have a direct impact on our emotions.
Consider the following statements by a musician: So why should music play such an important and integral role in our lives? As it turns out, research over the last few decades has increasingly shown that music, and in particular the singing and playing of music, helps the brain develop much more fully and extensively, especially in our early years. Music makes us brighter, more intelligent, more logical, more rational, and more capable. It improves study habits and test scores. It builds a better sense of self and community. It aids in our general sense of well-being and improves our quality of life. At times, it brings us closer to the divine in all of us. A recent study even suggests that the act of singing improves the immune system. To answer a question with a question: Why shouldn’t music play an important role in our lives?—Peter Rutenberg, LA Music Director, Chamber Singers
Perhaps this had been David’s experience. His understanding of God and the salvation He offered shaped not only his own life, but his spiritual leadership and influence over his people. His songs and prayers reflect a deep sense of awe for the God he loved and knew as a personal friend and Savior, says the author.
Worship is always associated with singing, for God loves ‘joyful noise’ and all the varieties that come in. (Psalm 100:1) We can worship God through prayer, singing, raising our hands in adoration, through the use of playing instruments. “As a part of religious service, singing is as much an act of worship as is prayer. Indeed, many a song is prayer” says, Ellen G. White in Education 168.3 . Further she says, “God is worshiped with song and music in courts above … “whoso offereth praise glorifieth” God. Let us with reverent joy come before our Creator, with “thanksgiving and the voice of melody.” My Life Today, p. 33
David in his Psalms declares, “Everything on earth will worship you; they will sing your praises, shouting your name in glorious songs.” (Psalm 66:4)
Music is a whole-body experience, appealing not only to our emotions but to our bodies and minds. It can provide a powerful and touching corporate experience that tempers the atmosphere, prepares our hearts for spiritual truths, and brings us together in a common encounter with God. It is no wonder that music plays such an important part in worship. (Adult Teachers Bible Study Guide, p. 69)
We read in 1 Chronicles 16: 23-29, “Let the whole earth sing to the Lord! Each day proclaim the good news that he saves. Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does. Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! He is to be feared above all gods. The gods of other nations are mere idols, but the Lord made the heavens! Honor and majesty surround him; strength and joy fill his dwelling. O nations of the world recognize the Lord; recognize that the Lord is glorious and strong. Give to the Lord the glory he deserves! Bring your offering and come to worship him. Worship the Lord in all his holy splendor.”
Some of David’s most famous psalms were composed while he was still tending sheep on the hills of Bethlehem. How did he get started with that skill? Sheep have to be looked after on a daily basis.
Question: Did David observe the Sabbath and worship God with the sheep on the hills of Bethlehem?
Throughout the Scriptures and the Psalms, worship had always been associated with songs and praise and adoration to the Creator. While tending his father’s sheep in the hills and the valleys, David grew up amid nature and enjoyed God’s creation. Thus most of his Psalms talks about hills, valleys, green pastures and nature.
There is no question that song and music and praise were part of his worship experience. In
1 Chronicles 16:8-36 we get a feel for what David had in mind. Notice some of the action verbs that were used in that call to worship: give thanks, sing, call on His name, seek the Lord, make known, talk of, declare, give glory to, proclaim, remember, and bring an offering.
His personal daily experience was into a more intimate communion with God. His mind was constantly penetrating into new depths for fresh themes to inspire his song and to wake the music of his harp.
In the moments of peace and quiet while herding sheep on the hills of Bethlehem, David had plenty of time to think. His thoughts turned to God. Do we have enough quiet time to think about God?
Conclusion: What should be our guide in choosing the kind of music to which we listen and have in our worship? Is Christ our Guide in everything? (1 Corinthians 10:31; Philippians 4:4,8; Colossians 1:18-20)
Over the years, the question of music and types of music in worship has arisen in our church. Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between what is being played in church and what is being played as secular music.
Music in our worship services should have a balance of spiritual, intellectual, and emotional elements. The lyrics, in harmony with the music itself, should uplift us, elevate our thoughts, and make us long more for the Lord who has done so much for us. Music that can bring us to the foot of the Cross, that can help us realize what we have been given in Christ, is the kind we need for our worship, says the author.
This is God’s wonderful gift to humanity. Don’t let Satan pervert it. It is important that we seek the Lord’s guidance in having appropriate music for our worship services that will uplift us in praise and worship.
God Bless You!!!