What is the point of worship?
The Psalms are both the hymnal and the prayer book of the Bible, which has made them the go-to resource for the church’s worship. Psalm 95 might be considered THE worship Psalm in the Book of Psalms. There we are invited, “O come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise. Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving. O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!”
You see that repeated word “come?” The living God invites us to come into his presence. Keep reading to find out why. First, the question of how.
The word “worship” in Psalm 95 is a word that means “put your face on the ground.” Really? Literally? Maybe. Why not? When you come before the Lord your maker, come in reverence, wonder and awe, for the Lord is a great God in whose hands are the depths of the earth and the heights of the mountains.
And when you come, bow down and kneel — two verbs that demonstrate submission and vulnerability. In the world in which Psalm 95 was written, kneeling before someone exposed your neck to their sword. You were literally putting your life in the hands of the one before whom you knelt. Defenseless. Vulnerable. Laid bare. That’s what Psalm 95 is getting at.
The key question of Psalm 95 is really, Why? Why does God invite us to come? Does God call us to come because we’ve messed up and he wants to punish us? You’re thinking, “of course not!” Yet how many of us do not turn to God because we harbor a deep shame about who we are or what we’ve done? Isn’t that really about being afraid God will scold us? If the Lord doesn’t invite us to punish us, then why does he?
Does the Lord call us to come because he’s exhausted and needs our help? Again, you’re thinking “of course not!” Yet how many of us frantically and frenetically “work for God?” Isn’t that really about failing to acknowledge God’s sovereignty and foolishly believing the Lord needs our help? But if the Lord doesn’t need our help, then why does he invite us to come?
Does God invite us to come because he’s insecure and needs to hear us affirm him to feel good about himself? Of course not! But if not to bolster God’s own self-image, then why?
God invites us to come into his presence because he wants to give us something. The Lord wants to give us a relationship with himself. And in the context of this relationship, the Lord nourishes our minds with his truth, purifies our imagination with his beauty and softens our hearts with his love.
So come, now is the time to put your face on the ground… and bow down… and kneel… in complete and utter vulnerability before the Lord. Come to the Lord, for the Lord in Jesus Christ has come to you.
See you in worship Sunday!