WORSHIP THE KING                              Dr . Joseph Stowell

“True worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and Truth.” John 4:23
I recently received a letter from a woman who had heard a sermon on worship that changed her life. She admitted in the letter that worship had been narrowly defined in her life as time spent singing hymns in church. She was delighted to learn that worship is actually a life long response to the reality of God’s grace and goodness in our lives.
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise” (Psalm 100:4) is preceded by “Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture” (v. 3). There is a profound sequence here. Worship is a response, not a religious catharsis. It is a response to our knowledge of and experience with the Word and works of God that describe and illuminate His magnificent realities.
One of the most fervent worship experiences in Scripture took place on the banks of the Red Sea just after God had demonstrated His delivering power (Exodus 15:1-21). Experiencing the reality of God’s beneficial grace always stimulates authentic worship.
When we go into worship as if it were an event without reference points, it ends up as an exercise that is little more than an emotional ritual. How much better to prepare for worship by meditating on the ways, Word, and works of God so that our hearts are ready to respond rather than recite. In light of this, it might even be better to worship after the sermon.
Some of our great hymns are full of truth about God. They blend edification and enthusiasm into one experience. I love worship choruses. They pull from my heart much of what I feel and know about God. But I also treasure the substance and depth of our hymns.
Whatever mode of worship we choose, true praise is a genuine enthusiasm that grows from knowing Him and experiencing His Word and His ways.