Psalm 69:30-31 I will praise God’s name in song
and glorify him with thanksgiving.
This will please the LORD more than an ox,
more than a bull with its horns and hoofs.
Every religion tends to settle on certain things that are to be given to deity in one form or another. In some societies there are whole industries devoted to making things whose whole purpose is to be sacrificed to some god. Even originally Biblical patterns of worship quickly become codified somehow, sapping the sincerity and vitality out of it all. That was true with the Old Testament sacrificial system, and it is certainly true in churches today. I’ve seen churches where it felt like they didn’t really want you to give an offering unless you checked the right boxes on their very detailed offering envelopes. David was a man after God’s own heart because he saw past that, as he expresses here. Passages in both the Old and New Testaments speak of offering God “the fruit of our lips,” (Hosea 14:2, Hebrews 13:15) that is, verbal expressions of worship. However, we need to be careful that our worship doesn’t stop with words. Jeremiah said to God about the people of his day, “You are always on their lips but far from their hearts.” (Jeremiah 12:2) I heard Hebrews 13:15 often when I was first exposed to the Charismatic movement, but verse 16 was hardly ever quoted: “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Our words of worship and praise need to come from a heart and lifestyle of gratitude and worship.
I have always liked to sing, and my family growing up would often gather around the piano and sing hymns, in 4-part harmony. It is my personal experience that songs can break through whatever barriers we might put up and bring us to repentance and intimacy with God. I am convinced that God doesn’t tell us to praise and worship Him because He needs it in any way – as though the Creator needed “strokes” from His creation! Rather, He is pleased when we praise Him because it lines our hearts up with Him, and He is most interested in our hearts. However, I must be careful that everything that comes out of my mouth is in line with what I sing to God. James had some pretty strong words for people who say one thing in church and are completely different outside of it. (James 3:9-12) I am to praise and worship God with my whole heart, and see to it that extends to my whole life. I don’t want any part of my life to be inconsistent with the words I sing and say on Sundays.
Father, thank You for this reminder. I try to be careful about this, but You are the Judge of how well I do. Help me be a good example to the believers first of all, and also to all who know me, because I am watched by many. May my life and words consistently point them to You, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!