At the HEART:
1. OF ALL PRAISE IS WORSHIP!
2. OF OUR RELATIONSHIP TO THE LORD IS WORSHIP!
3. Of ALL OF LIFE IS WORSHIP!
I. People, remember, this at the very outset:
“ANYBODY CAN PRAISE THE LORD WHEN IT IS GOING WELL! BUT WHEN
THE ROOF CAVES IN, AND WE PRAISE GOD AS NEVER BEFORE,
THAT’S REAL PRAISE TO GOD!”
-That’s when PRAISE IS PRAISE, AND FAITH IS FAITH!
-That’s when GOD IS REALLY PLEASED, AND WE ARE REALLY PRAISERS!
Like I read in Habakkuk 3:17-18,
“THOUGH THE FIG TREE SHOULD NOT BLOSSOM, AND THERE BE NO FRUIT ON THE VINES,
THOUGH THE YIELD OF THE OLIVE TREE SHOULD FAIL, AND THE FIELDS SHALL YIELD
NO FOOD, THOUGH THE FLOCK SHOULD BE CUT OFF FROM THE FOLD, AND THERE
BE NO CATTLE IN THE STALLS,”
“YET I WILL EXULT IN THE LORD, I WILL REJOICE IN THE GOD OF MY SALVATION.”
THAT’S PRAISE, that is WHEN GOD IS REALLY PRAISED!! THAT IS WHAT WE MUST REALLY CULTIVATE!!
WORSHIP FROM A WILDERNESS SOUL
PSALM 63 is one of those incredible Psalms you and I should read often! Just a few particulars about it:
1. First of all, it is a Psalm of David.
2. Secondly, it is a Psalm written while David was in the wilderness! (You should always read those fine print notes.)
3. Thirdly, it is not simply a lesson on praise and worship!
4. Fourth, it is not merely a teaching Psalm of Praise!
5. No, No, WE ARE AS IT WERE LOOKING OVER DAVID’S SHOULDER! EAVESDROPPING ON DAVID IN THE WILDERNESS! OVERHEARING DAVID IN PRAISE TO GOD!
THE REAL SETTING IS THIS:
1. DAVID IS IN THE WILDERNESS. THAT MEANS A LOT!!
-If you know your O.T. History, then you know what this means, and what’s happening!!
-It means that DAVID IS ON THE RUN, BEING PURSUED BY SAUL, HIS MANIAC DAD-IN-LAW.
-AND SAUL AT THE TIME WAS OUT TO GET DAVID, SAUL IS A MANIC-DEPRESSIVE!
-Saul HATES DAVID FOR HIS POPULARITY IN THE KINGDOM, AND WANTS TO KILL DAVID!
-There is all MANNER OF STUPID, EVIL, JEALOUSIES IN SAUL’S HEART! David is not just killing time in the wilderness, but rather is running from a demon-possessed king who is looking to kill him.
2. BUT WHILE THAT IS BAD ENOUGH, ADDED TO THAT IS THE FOLLOWING:
-When David is in the wilderness, DAVID THINKS HE HAS FRIENDS!
-David COMMITS HIMSELF TO HIS FRIENDS, AND HE EVEN HELPS THEM!
-And what they do in RETURN IS TO BETRAY HIM BACK TO SAUL!
-David had hid himself with Samuel, but certain “companions” leaked it to Saul!
-Have you ever experienced that, that you felt you never had A FRIEND IN THE WORLD? And those you COMMIT YOURSELF TO, SMILE IN YOUR FACE, KNIFE YOU IN THE BACK.
-DAVID WAS RIGHT IN THAT POSITION! David now with a HANDFUL OF MEN, never knowing who he could trust!
3. David IS IN THE CAVE OF ADULLAM.
-He is in hiding, the loneliest man in all Israel!! Have you ever felt like retreating to the edge of nowhere? And the people you thought loved you really don’t, at least not very much?
-And he cannot SLEEP THAT PARTICULAR NIGHT as he looks at those who now appear as a nest of sleeping rats.
-He remembers ALL THE PROMISES OF GOD ABOUT HIS BECOMING KING!
-Laying ON THE SAND FLOOR OF A CAVE, FRIENDS BETRAY YOU, ENEMIES OUT TO GET YOU!!
-NO HOPE, the promises of God ARE A DREAM! Life has those times that it feels like it has ground to a screeching halt on a dead end street. LIFE HAS A WAY OF POPPING THAT HELIUM BALLOON that we have tied to our wrist. David’s life felt like it had deteriorated into an increasingly wobbly orbit!
4. DAVID DESCRIBES HIS TRUE FEELINGS IN Ps. 63:1,
“O GOD, THOU ART MY GOD: EARNESTLY WILL I SEEK THEE, MY SOUL THIRSTS FOR THEE,
MY FLESH YEARNS FOR THEE, IN A DRY AND WEARY LAND WHERE NO WATER IS.”
-David is not first of all DESCRIBING HIS GEOGRAPHY, or the TERRAIN that he is in. Though I am sure that this added to his stark and lonely feelings!
-David is describing how HE FEELS ON THE INSIDE, the terrain of his heart.
-On the INSIDE, he says, “I FEEL LIKE A MAN IN THE DESERT!”
-LIFE IS EBBING OUT OF HIM AS THE NIGHT GOES ON!
-THE STEADY SNORES OF THOSE AROUND HIM, as David tosses & turns on the dirt!!
BUT DAVID WILLS, DETERMINES TO DO SOMETHING (It is all a matter of the will):
1. So, I am BEING PURSUED!
2. So, My SO-CALLED FRIENDS BETRAY ME!
3. So, the PROMISES OF GOD SEEM TO BE A DREAM, BEYOND FULFILLMENT!
4. Look at Ps. 63:3-4,
“BECAUSE THY LOVINGKINDNESS IS BETTER THAN LIFE, MY LIPS WILL PRAISE THEE.”
“SO WILL I BLESS THEE AS LONG AS I LIVE: I WILL LIFT UP MY HANDS
IN THY NAME.”
5. What is DAVID SAYING AND DOING?
-GOD, LIFE HERE IN THIS WILDERNESS CAVE OF ADULLAM ISN’T MUCH!
-In fact, LIFE SEEMS TO BE DRAINING OUT OF ME, I’VE NEVER BEEN LOWER!
-But God, YOUR LOVE FOR ME IS BETTER THAN LIFE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
-I really don’t need anything, for I’ve got your love, your mercy.
-You’re all I NEED, YOU ARE MORE TO ME THAN ALL THAT LIFE COULD AFFORD!
So God, right here, MY LIPS BLESS YOU, PRAISE YOU, MY HANDS EXALT YOU. I WILL LIFT UP MY HANDS IN THY NAME!
-I will praise you God, JUST FOR WHO YOU ARE, A GOD OF LOVE AND KINDNESS!
-Remember, that is where these WORDS COME FROM, IN MISERY, CRISIS.
-Sing them with me:
“THY LOVINGKINDNESS IS BETTER THAN LIFE, THY LOVINGKINDNESS IS BETTER THAN LIFE,
MY LIPS SHALL PRAISE THEE, THUS WILL I BLESS THEE, I WILL LIFT UP
MY HANDS UNTO THY NAME.”
“I LIFT MY HANDS UP, UNTO THY NAME, I LIFT MY HANDS UP UNTO THY NAME, MY LIPS
SHALL PRAISE THEE, THUS WILL I BLESS THEE, I WILL LIFT UP MY
HANDS UNTO THY NAME.”
Now then, THAT MY FRIEND, IS WHEN PRAISE IS PRAISE, FAITH IS FAITH.
PRAISING GOD IN ADVERSITY
I want you to see a POWERFUL ADDED BENEFIT HERE:
“PRAISE IN ADVERSITY WILL MAKE YOU STRONG, AS NOTHING ELSE WILL!”
By the time David completes this Psalm:
1. HE IS NOW CALLING HIMSELF KING! Psalm 63:11,
“But the King will rejoice in God.”
2. AND THE MOUTH OF HIS ENEMIES ARE AS GOOD AS SHUT! Psalm 63:11,
“But the mouths of those who speak lies will be stopped.”
3. THERE IS HOPE, CONFIDENCE, ASSURANCE, VICTORY IN HIS SPIRIT!” Psalm 63:11,
“Everyone who swears by Him will glory.”
PRAISE IN ADVERSITY:
“IS THE PAIR OF LEGS THAT WILL WALK YOUR FAITH THROUGH TO STRENGTH & STABILITY!”
1. TO BEGIN WITH, THOSE LEGS MAY BE SHAKY AND WOBBLY!
2. BUT KEEP WALKING, THAT IS, KEEP ON PRAISING!!
3. That’s HOW YOUR FAITH IS MATURED, AND YOUR SPIRIT WILL TRIUMPH!”
TRUE SAINTS OF GOD, THOSE OF GREAT FAITH:
1. Are those whose STRENGTH, ROCK HARDNESS, CONFIDENCE WAS DEVELOPED UNDER PRESSURE.
2. Under PRESSURE, PAIN, they DETERMINED TO PRAISE GOD JUST FOR WHO HE IS!
3. And the result was and is WHO THEY ARE NOW, ESTABLISHED IN GOD!!
4. But, it was a praise process, it didn’t happen overnight!
“PRAISE TO GOD JUST FOR HIS CHARACTER, THAT PRAISE TO GOD IS THE PAIR OF LEGS THAT
WILL WALK YOUR FAITH THROUGH, ON THE ROUGH, ROCKY ROAD TO
MATURITY AND STRENGTH.”
“PRAISE TO GOD IS NOT BASED ON ‘I FEEL GOOD.’ PRAISE TO GOD IS BASED ON
‘GOD IS GOOD.’”
-That’s the difference!!!
– No matter what the circumstances!!!
KNOWING AND WORSHIPING GOD
PRAISE AND WORSHIP IN THE MAIN ARE AS FOLLOWS:
“PRAISE DEALS WITH OUR EXPRESSIONS TO GOD, WHILE WORSHIP DEALS WITH OUR
KNOWLEDGE OF GOD!”
You must realize:
1. THAT WORSHIP OF GOD AND KNOWLEDGE OF GOD ARE IN DIRECT PROPORTION!
2. YOU ARE WORSHIPING GOD TO THE EXTENT OF HOW YOU INTIMATELY KNOW HIM!
MANY OF US, I TRUST ALL OF US:
1. Have great EXPERIENCES OF AND WITH GOD at the beginning of OUR CHRISTIAN LIFE.
2. We can say,
“TRULY, I FELT GOD, I EXPERIENCED GOD, I SENSED GOD!”
3. But, THAT IS NO FOUNDATION FOR ENDURING WORSHIP!
-THAT MAY BE A FOUNDATION FOR A TESTIMONY OF WHAT GOD DID!
-BUT IS NO FOUNDATION FOR WORSHIP!
-WORSHIP IS DIRECTLY LINKED TO WHAT I KNOW OF GOD (feel it or not)
-KNOWING GOD IS WHAT WILL LEAD ME TO WORSHIP GOD!!
-THE MORE I KNOW OF GOD THE MORE I WORSHIP HIM!
WORSHIP IS WORTHSHIP
You see, the word “WORSHIP” comes from the same Anglo Saxon root that “WORTHY” does!
-When you say WORSHIP, you are really saying “WORTHSHIP.”
-When you say WORSHIP, you are saying:
“THAT THAT PERSON IS WORTHY OF ADMIRATION, ADORATION, APPLAUSE! THAT IS REALLY
THE HEART OF INFORMED WORTHSHIP!”
Do we really get that? That God is WORTHY, NO MATTER WHAT! THAT IS THE HEART OF WORSHIP!
But right here is the rub, for when we are in the WILDERNESS EXPERIENCES, in the CAVE EXPERIENCES of life, hear me:
“WE NOT ONLY DOUBT THAT HE IS WORTHY, WE DOUBT THAT HE IS – PERIOD.”
“WE BECOME IN SOME HOPELESS MOMENTS MOMENTARY AGNOSTICS, IF NOT ATHEISTS.”
If you will:
“GOD NOT ONLY BECOMES NOT WORTHY, HE BECOMES DEEP DOWN NOT WORTH IT PERIOD.”
I could go in a THOUSAND INFINITE DIRECTIONS RIGHT NOW ABOUT GOD THAT ALL SURPASS MY UNDERSTANDING OF HIM:
-EVERY THING AND EVERYONE I KNOW HAD A BEGINNING!!
-And that’s where little children hit the nail on the head when they ask us:
“WHERE DID GOD COME FROM?”
-Well you see, THAT’S THE POINT, EVERYTHING, EVERYONE YOU KNOW OF CAME FROM SOMEWHERE.
-GOD IS and without Him, we aren’t. We got our LIFE, where? FROM GOD!
-GOD IS, but you BECAME, YOU AND I GOT OUR VERY LIFE FROM HIM!
-That’s why EVERY BREATH YOU BREATHE IS BORROWED FROM GOD!
-And that is why EVERY BREATH MUST BE USED TO PRAISE THE LORD, OUR LIFE.
-GOD IS LIFE – YOU, I, WE GOT LIFE FROM HIM. YOU BECAME, HE IS!
And that’s why the Psalmist says in Ps. 146:1-2,
“PRAISE YE THE LORD, PRAISE THE LORD, 0 MY SOUL, WHILE I LIVE WILL I PRAISE
THE LORD: I WILL SING PRAISES UNTO MY GOD WHILE I
HAVE ANY BEING.”
“IT IS BECAUSE GOD OUR CREATOR IS ETERNALLY WORTHY, THAT LIFE IS ALWAYS
WORTH OUR BEST EFFORT TO LIVE FULLY UNTO HIM.”
Oh yes, let’s be honest:
-Life sometimes just doesn’t seem worth it. Not even worth a plugged nickel here in the Wilderness and in the Cave. There are days that I feel like the only thing that I have accomplished in life are six cinder-blocks partially buried in the ground, along with some earthworms that I have inadvertently dug up. I mean, what’s the point?
“LIFE IS ALWAYS GREATLY WORTH IT BECAUSE OUR CREATOR IS FOREVER INFINITELY WORTHY.”
THE KADOSH GOD
NOW LISTEN AGAIN AND GET THIS DONE DEEP:
1. People, do you really know WHO GOD is? None of us do in the sense of even beginning to UNDERSTAND GOD! And here is where we get in trouble, doubt, and even disbelief:
“WHEN IN THE WILDERNESS AND CAVE EXPERIENCES OF LIFE, WE CANNOT FIGURE OUT WHAT
IN THE WORLD GOD IS DOING IN ALL OF THIS.”
2. We however must remember always that God is not just MAN STRETCHED, AND THEN TAKEN TO THE NTH DEGREE!
3. No, GOD IS GOD! Listen:
“GOD IS INFINITELY TRANSCENDENT NOT ONLY IN HIS BEING, BUT IN
HIS WAYS AND THOUGHTS.” (See Isaiah 55:8-9)
TURN WITH ME TO Ps. 99:3,5–
“LET THEM PRAISE THY GREAT AND TERRIBLE NAME: FOR IT IS HOLY.”
“EXALT YE THE LORD OUR GOD, AND WORSHIP AT HIS FOOTSTOOL, FOR HOLY IS HE.”
THE FIRST UNDERSTANDING THAT ANY HEBREW HAD GOTTEN OF GOD, WAS THAT GOD IS “HOLY!” THE WORD HOLY is such a fantastically HUGE WORD:
1. In the HEBREW IT SOUNDS LIKE THIS – “KADOSH!”
2. It means in the English – “SEPARATE,” that’s the closest to it.
3. It means THAT GOD IN HIS BEING IS SEPARATE FROM THE CREATURE IN THE NTH DEGREE!
4. GOD IS THE OTHER ONE, not like us, THE HOLY-WHOLLY OTHER ONE!
5. One senses that in Ps. 99:3,
“THE LORD IS GREAT IN ZION (Church – His people) AND HE IS HIGH ABOVE
ALL THE PEOPLE.”
-That does not mean HIGH IN THE SENSE OF HE IS IN HEAVEN AND WE ARE ON EARTH BELOW!
-It MEANS HE IS HOLY, SEPARATE, UNLIKE US, OTHER!
THERE ARE TWO EXTREMES TODAY IN THE UNDERSTANDING OF GOD:
1. EITHER YOU UNDERSTAND THAT GOD IS SO ‘OTHER!’ HE IS THE AWE-FUL GOD!
-HE IS SO OTHER, HE IS GOD! AND ALL I CAN DO IS CRINGE BEFORE HIM, AND TREMBLE! ALL I CAN DO NOW IS WORSHIP AT A DISTANCE!
-That God is God, and all I can do is cover my face before Him
-THAT CAN BE DANGEROUS, ALL WE HAVE IS A GOD WHO IS VERY FAR AWAY.
2. ON THE OTHER HAND, THERE IS THE GOD WHO IS SO CLOSE!
-I HAVE MET HIM IN JESUS CHRIST!
-And the God so far, so awful, now lives in me by His Spirit.
-BUT, IF YOU ONLY HAVE THAT, YOU CAN ALSO BE IN DANGER!
-YOU END UP NOT KNOWING WHERE YOU END AND GOD BEGINS!
-It can lead to the feeling that you and God are equal, and that you have GOD ALL FIGURED OUT.
-And in this BUDDY-BUDDY GOD RELATIONSHIP, you begin to fatally think that GOD IS SO MUCH LIKE YOU THAT HE MUST THINK AND ACT LIKE YOU TOO.
-And then when HE DOESN’T THINK AND ACT LIKE US, WE BEGIN TO DOUBT HIM, RESENT HIM, BLAME HIM WHEN THINGS DON’T GO LIKE WE THINK THEY SHOULD.
3. DON’T GET ME WRONG – BOTH ARE TRUE IN BALANCE:
-THE ONE, THE TRANSCENDENCE OF GOD, THE HOLY – OTHERNESS OF GOD!
-THE OTHER, THE IMMANENCE OF GOD, HE LIVES WITHIN ME!
-But, ALWAYS EMBRACE AND BALANCE THE TWO, or you are going to be IN DEEP SPIRITUAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL, AND EMOTIONAL TROUBLE one way or another for sure!
JESUS CHRIST LIVES IN ME, I IN HIM, CHRIST IN ME, THE HOPE OF GLORY! ON THE OTHER HAND, I RECOGNIZE THAT GOD IS THE HOLY AND THE WHOLLY OTHER:
-And I fall and Worship Him!
-There is a HUGE CREATURE AWE OF HIM!
-There is a way I am even scared of him, scared in the sense of a “Beautiful Awe!”
-I recognize I AM ONLY CREATURE, HE IS CREATOR!
-I recognize I AM ONLY TEMPORAL, HE IS ETERNAL!
-I recognize I AM ONLY MORTAL, HE IS IMMORTAL! HE IS BEYOND ME, I CAN’T THINK GOD, HE IS TOO BIG, TOO HIGH, TOO OTHER!
-THEN YOU WILL WALK IN THE THRILL OF CHRIST YOUR LIFE!
-AND AT THE SAME TIME KNOW THE AWE OF WORSHIP!
-THEN YOU WILL TRUST AND PRAISE HIM IN THE WILDERNESS AND CAVE TIMES OF LIFE, EVEN THOUGH YOU CAN’T FIGURE HIM OUT OR WHAT HE IS UP TO SO MUCH OF THE TIME.
To help you PRAISE HIM IN THE PITS, and to help you WORSHIP HIM IN THE WILDERNESS, remember and feed on the following which you will seldom hear any more from the pulpits of a totally HUMANIZED. DIMINISHED, AND SHRUNKEN GOD. Let the following keep on pulling your thoughts and ideas up in the direction of Almighty God Who is always bigger, stronger, and smarter than the little provincial god that you have made in your image. The following will help you to stop trying to make Heaven into a copy of your workshop:
1. GOD’S IRRESISTIBLE POWER – Psalm 135:6,
“Whatsoever the Lord pleases, He does, in Heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps.”
“AS SOON AS HIS WILL GIVES THE WORD, HIS POWER EXECUTES HIS WORD – DONE DEAL.”
“THERE CAN BE NO CONTENTION WHERE THERE IS INFINITE DISPROPORTION – THAT IS,
CAN A PIECE OF ANIMATED DIRT QUARREL WITH OR QUESTION A POWER
AND WISDOM INFINITELY ABOVE ITS OWN STRENGTH AND SMARTS!?”
2. GOD’S ABSOLUTE SOVEREIGNTY – Job 9:12,
“Were He to snatch away, who could restrain Him? Who could say to Him,
‘What art Thou doing?’”
“WHEN GOD SNATCHES A LOVED ONE AWAY, HE WHO IS ABSOLUTELY SUPREME IS
LIKEWISE TOTALLY UNACCOUNTABLE.”
That is to say:
“THE SUPREME ONE OF HEAVEN NEED NOT GIVE AN EXPLANATION FOR HIS ACTIONS TO THE
INFINITELY INFERIOR ONES OF EARTH.”
3. GOD’S INFINITE WISDOM – Job 4:18 KJV,
“Behold, He puts no trust in His servants; and His angels He charged with folly.”
“THE ACTIONS OF GOD ARE NOTHING SHORT OF INFINITE POWER MANAGED BY INFINITE
WISDOM, ALL BEING DISPLAYED IN DIVINE PRACTICE.”
Think about it:
“IF GOD SAYS THAT COMPARED TO HIMSELF THE ANGELS ARE FOOLISHNESS ITSELF, THEN HOW
CAN WE WHO ARE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS PRETEND TO EVEN BEGIN
TO UNDERSTAND THE WAYS OF GOD?”
“GOD IS FULLY GOD EVEN IF OUR MINDS DO NOT COMPREHEND HIM, EVEN AS THE SUN SHINES
IN ITS FULL BRIGHTNESS THOUGH IT IS OBSCURED BY THICK CLOUDS.” Amen!