I Will Worship: Worship Begins in the Heart
I Will Worship
Worship Begins in the Heart
How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! 2 My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. 3 Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. 4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Selah 5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. 6 As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools. 7 They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion. 8 O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah 9 Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed! 10 For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. 12 O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!
Illustration: On January 12, 2010, a massive and devastating earth quake struck just outside Port-au-Prince, the capital city of Haiti. Countless buildings in the city collapsed and over a hundred thousand lives were lost. The already shaky power grid was effectively destroyed, along with every other form of infrastructure. That night, with aftershocks rolling through the ground, almost all the residents of the city and the surrounding countryside stayed outside, torn with grief and fear. The residents of the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere had little access to the easy-everywhere life of technology even before the earthquake, and now, with their world in ruins, they had none.
An article on NPR summarized it this way: "For the Western hemisphere's poorest country, the earthquake that hit Haiti in January  was an especially cruel blow. Despite this, it's hard to find a Haitian who doesn't profess a belief in a loving God."
And they sang. When you don't have technology, you still have song. When you've lost everything, in fact, you still have song. All over the hills of Haiti those first terrible nights, under the starlit sky, the voices of the people of Haiti rose up in grief and lament, in prayer and hope.
They had something we have almost lost—and they still have it, as anyone who has visited a Haitian church or family knows. We can have it in our homes, and in our churches too, if we choose not to let technology do the singing for us. They worshiped out of the pain, but they worshiped with hope.
- To revere something.
- Old English weorthscipe ‘worthiness, acknowledgment of worth’; Something worthy to follow.
- To give extravagant love and extreme submission to something.
“Worship works from the top down, you might say. In worship we don’t just come to show God our devotion and give him our praise; we are called to worship because in this encounter God (re)makes and molds us top-down. Worship is the arena in which God recalibrates our hearts, reforms our desires, and rehabituates our loves. Worship isn’t just something we do; it is where God does something to us. Worship is the heart of discipleship because it is the gymnasium in which God retrains our hearts.” ― James K.A. Smith, You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit
- In praising God through worship, the one worshiping should be experiencing change.
Purpose: Every Christ follower must grow in their worship experience to become a close friend of God.
Transition: Let’s look at three things today concerning this Psalm of worship.
- It is not a matter of if we worship but what we worship
Romans 1:18 – 23
18 But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness.19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. 21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. 23 And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.
- Man left to himself will always worship something
- Anthropologists, archaeologists and missionaries from the beginning of time have discovered that people left to themselves worship something.
- There is something within every human being that leads to worshiping an invisible god, an image, a material possession and on and on the list goes.
- It is not that we are practicing to worship in heaven someday but we are joining worship in progress now.
11 Then I looked again, and I heard the voices of thousands and millions of angels around the throne and of the living beings and the elders. 12 And they sang in a mighty chorus: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered— to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.” 13 And then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea. They sang: “Blessing and honor and glory and power belong to the one sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever.” 14 And the four living beings said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped the Lamb.
How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! 2 My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. 3 Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. 4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Selah
Background of Psalm 84
- It is a psalm of ascent, like the psalms found in 120-134
- It is a psalm of pilgrimage
- The Jewish people would sing these psalms of which this is one as they traveled to Jerusalem and especially to the temple for feasts
- The focus was the anticipation of being in the presence of God.
- The title of this psalm “To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah,” tells us who this is to.
- These were the descendants of the Levites who were gatekeepers and musicians in the temple at Jerusalem
- We as NT believers have the privilege with the Holy Spirit living in us to be able to be in the presence of God at any time especially when we are aware of His presence and we slow down and enjoy being in His presence.
- In verses one through four we see that the Lord is addressed as The Lord Almighty or the Yahweh of hosts / armies.
- The psalmists singing here expressed how lovely it was to be in the very presence of God.
- To yearn for the temple meant to long for the living God Himself (cf. 42:2). In that day people could approach God through the temple priests. The psalmist’s faith then was in the living, powerful Lord God.
- Verses 3 – 4 show the yearning in the imagery, the strong desire to be in the temple
- Sparrows who nest
- Temple priests – ministering servants
Illustration: The desire to go home or be at home. The contrast of the place of feeling at home and being with God’s people at church. The desire to own a home, to put down your roots and to make it your home.
- Have you ever just felt like going home. Whether that be your current home or your childhood home. There is a level of comfort there, a place of safety and a place where you can be accepted without reservation.
- God calls us His friend and is always desirous of our spending time with Him.
- It is a matter of worshipping with your whole being
“Your deepest desire,” he observes, “is the one manifested by your daily life and habits. “This is because our action—our doing—bubbles up from our loves, which, as we’ve observed, are habits we’ve acquired through the practices we’re immersed in. That means the formation of my loves and desires can be happening “under the hood” of consciousness. I might be learning to love a telos (an ultimate object or aim),that I’m not even aware of and that nonetheless governs my life in unconscious ways.” ― James K.A. Smith, You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit
- It begins in the heart of each one of us, the seat of emotions, the will
- What we take in to our hearts turn out to cause our actions
- As we worship God, it changes us and helps us walk this journey, this pilgrimage in confidence
Quote: ““Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” ― Augustine of Hippo, Confessions
Application: Where has your heart made its home? Are you at home and at peace with being in the presence of God? Is the time so rich that you spend with God that your heart yearns for it?
Transition: Let’s look at the next section of Psalm 84 and see that presence with God is important but we must be willing to make the pilgrimage
Psalm 84:5 –9
5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. 6 As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools. 7 They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion. 8 O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah 9 Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed
- Verses 5, 12 talk about the joyous privileges and spiritual benefits of journeying to be in God’s presence, it shows great passion and great faith
- Will you startthe journey?
- What is the journey? To seek God and love Him with all of your heart
Matthew 22:36 - 38
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment.
- In Psalm 84:5, we are to set on our hearts on pilgrimage.
Psalm 84:5 – New Living Translation
What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord, who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
- On the pilgrimage, they are blessed and taken care of by God – verses 6,8-9
- You may pass through the valley – like Israel in the wilderness for 40 years because of idolatry. They deviated from worshiping God and keeping their hearts on Him.
- But the journey only begins by taking the first step
Illustration: They say half the battle is getting started. The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step
- Prepping to paint
- Prepping to work on your car
- Once you get started it is easier
- Step by Step in verse 7. God is the one providing strength to strength. Just enough for the matter at hand, enough for today.
7 They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion.
- What are you learningon the journey that is changing your life?
- The journey is the destination according to many people?
- We will pass the baton on at the end of our life for someone else to takeover
- What are we learning to share with others and especially the younger generation as we go through the seasons of life.
- Worship on our pilgrimage is a way for God to reset our hearts in kinship with His heart so we have the right perspective.
- What is your visionfor the end of the journey?
- Is what you are worshiping in your life worth the worship when we come to the end of our lives?
- Was what you worshiped worth it?
- Will we stay stuck in a rut like the Israelites did or will we break out of the rut and follow the vision God has for us?
- We must trust the promise of Psalm 84:6
6 As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.
Application: What have we set our hearts toward? What are we leaning into and are passionate about on our pilgrimage?
Transition: Perspective drives our thoughts and actions about others and God’s created world around us.
Psalm 84:10 – 12
10 For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. 12 O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!
- See the intense longing and yearning to be with God
- I would rather be a servant, a mere door keeper if it would keep me in your presence then be rich and dwell in the tents of the wicked
- Can you say that today?
- God desires to protect us, provide for us and bless us
- The key to obedience and receiving God’s blessings is trust!!
- Do you trust God beyond your comfort and common sense sometimes when you know that it is God calling for you?
Video: What they were told about the man was how they portrayed him in their photographs.
- Worship gives us visionfor life
- As we worship so goes our lives
- What we really believe about God and ourselves is not what we say but how we act and what we do
- What we worship determines our actions
- What is on the inside is what comes out
- What we worship determines how we live life
Illustration: If we worship money, we will do all the things we can to gather money. If we worship our bodies, we will be focus on our physical image and all that it entails to improve it to seek perfection. Materialism, power over someone or something, selfishness, and the list goes on and on. Satan custom makes things that attract our personality to worship and get distracted.
- What we understand about God in worship is vital for our life
- We retell and live out what we believe on the inside
- God created us and loves us and knows us
- Jesus came as the God / Man who died to give us eternal life
- Always offers forgiveness
- Love our neighbors – be kind
- My perspective is therefore. ….
- What we choose to set our perspective on life will determine how we live!!
- It is not just your story and your story and your story but it is our story.
- What you do personally to worship is so important to bring with you as we worship here at 9:15 am in corporate worship. Your personal worship adds to our corporate worship.
- We are to repeat over and over the things of God through worship to be reminded in our human spirit of who we are to keep our heart set upon.
- We practice the habit of worship personally through reading God’s Word, prayer, Bible Study, music, giving of our monies, etc.
- We are to use our whole body – heart, emotions, mind (Imagination), physical body to express our worship of God.
- Emotions are to be used in worship
Listen to my prayer for mercy as I cry out to you for help, as I lift my hands toward your holy sanctuary.
- Posture in worship with our physical bodies can reflect the heart of our worship
Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our maker
- Using your mind to imagine things based on the Word of God and nature that remind us of who God is and the great things He has done
- Meditation is so important
- Fasting is important
- Spiritual disciplines that point to God.
- Difference between Eastern meditation / Christian meditation
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty 2 This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.
Application: What is your perspective of life in light of who you believe you are in Christ?
Key Thought: Worship is our response to all that God is and what He has done for us which in turn changes our perspectiveof life.
- To be human, is to be on the move. Where are you moving toward and why?
- Jesus told us in the Gospel of John that we can be friends with God. We grow in our friendship with God by following the desire to know God more and more intimately.
- As we desire His presence in our lives, as we seek and search for more of God, we will gain perspective and reset our lives through personal and corporate worship at church.
Questions to Ponder This Week
- Where has your heart made its home?
- What have we set our hearts toward?
- What is your perspective of life in light of who you believe you are in Christ?