A Divinely Inspired Vocabulary for Worship

Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!—Psalm 95:6

No book has played a more important role in the worship of God’s people than the Psalms. For thousands of years, the Psalms have given voice to the confession, joy, heartbreak, thanksgiving, grief, and hope of the Christian’s life. By consequence, we do not have to search for the words to express our hearts to God. In His wisdom, God has given us the words. God has expressed His own heart to us in the Psalms, providing us with a divinely inspired vocabulary in the vast array of human experience.

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Martin Luther reminds us that the Psalms are the voice of the gospel, “God’s good word addressed to God’s faithful people.” In saying this, Luther is affirming the grace and promise coming from the Psalms, as the Christian is called to place his entire life at the feet of God.

As you know, it is not easy to give voice to life’s experiences in a way that is both honest and honoring to God. We sometimes hide from God even in our expressions to God. We will say true things about God, but we will neglect to speak from the heart to God. When this happens, our fellowship with God is hindered (I John 1:6). At the same time, our expressions to God can sometimes be honest and raw but without appropriate reverence. We can fall into thoughtlessness or flippancy in our worship and fail to honor God as God.

All that to say, we need help in learning to release ourselves more and more to God in worship. Thankfully, the Psalms are God’s guide to us. They hold nothing back in their expression of the human condition in relationship to God and the world, and never do they fall short of the reverence and honor God is due. When we enter the Psalms, we are drawn into God’s expression of our condition toward Him, and we are conditioned to meet Him in the very words He’s given us.

This summer we want to practice communing with God in the Psalms. Below you will see the selected Psalms we’ll be looking at together during June and July.

▪   Psalm 1 – “Walking in the Wisdom of God” (June 3)

▪   Psalm 2 – “Kissing the Son of God” (June 10)

▪   Psalm 11 – “Taking Refuge in the Righteousness of God” (June 17)

▪   Psalm 26 – “Loving the House of God” (June 24)

▪   Psalm 32 – “Repenting for Sin Against God” (July 1)

▪   Psalm 33 – “Hoping in the Steadfast Love of God” (July 8)

▪   Psalm 87 – “Living for the Mission of God” (July 15)

▪   Psalm 126 – “Rejoicing in the Restoration of God” (July 22)

▪   Psalm 131 – “Resting in the Peace of God” (July 29)

Some of you enjoy studying the passage throughout the week as a way of preparing for worship. If that’s you, you may want to pick up a commentary or devotional on the Psalms. Here are two suggestions:

  • Psalms, Derek Kidner (Tyndale Commentary Series) 2 Volumes.
  • Treasury of David, C.H. Spurgeon, (Hendrickson) 3 Volumes

Others of you may just want to read the Psalm for each Sunday on Saturday night before worship. If time and schedules allow, read it with your family around the dinner table or during family devotions. Whatever tact you take, please pray for God to meet with us in the Psalms this summer.

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