Why did Israel Worship God?

Today's Bible reading: Psalm 95:1-7

A key Bible passage for helping us to understand the nature of worship is our psalm for this morning: Psalm 95.  It presupposes that God is present – not far off.  Israel didn’t feel obliged to summon God from His heavens … but rather worshipped God just because He was present in His holiness.  Quite literally, worship means getting down on your knees in adoration … and we adore God for many, many reasons, but I would like to point out two of the biggest:

First, because He is the Creator, the “great God, and a great King above all gods” as our Psalm 95 says.   Worship is thus an act of confession to the one who not only created in the past … but who continues to hold all things on land and sea in His control.

Second, we honor God because He is also the “rock of our salvation”“our God.”   He saved Israel out of slavery in Egypt for the very purpose that they should know and worship Him as the only true God.  They were to be “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”  Worship meant confessing that God continued to show special care for Israel, as a shepherd carefully looks after His sheep. 

So worship was not an optional extra in Israel's life.  It was the basic reason why the nation was called into existence.  Through worship Israel witnessed to its Creator and Savior.  Thus, the attitude of adoration was not one of knee-shaking fear.  For sure, there was a sacred awe in the presence of God's holiness.  But above all, worship meant coming into God's presence with thanksgiving, and making the offering of joyful noises with songs of praise.

Prayer: Shepherd and King, lead us into Your presence with praise and thanksgiving.  Amen.