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Sabbath School Lessons on Worship
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About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 40 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 6: Worship and Song and Praise *
Introduction: When I was young, I used to wonder about the oddest
things. For example, my parents told me that dogs see things only
in black and white, they do not see in color. That made me wonder if
I saw things just like other people? Could people see colors
differently, and no one would know? These days, I wonder the same
about worship. Do all Christians understand true worship? I recall
in college the wonder and power of the singing in Pioneer Memorial
Church. Get a couple of thousand people together, a pipe organ
worth (I guess) hundreds of thousands of dollars, and Dr. Becker
playing, and you could feel the power of praise! These days I feel
it in much smaller groups with contemporary praise songs. King David
felt it too, although we do not know exactly what kind of music he
used. Let's jump into our study of the Bible and learn more about
King David and his understanding about worshiping God!
- The Road to Rejoice
- Read Psalms 32:11. Do you want to be happy and glad?
- If someone gave you an expensive new car, would you
be happy and glad?
- If the answer is, "yes," have you experienced a
similar feeling when it comes to worshiping
God? (Notice that our text refers to
"rejoic[ing] in the Lord and be[ing] glad." The
idea is that these feelings arise from a
relationship with God.)
- Let's explore how King David got to this emotional point.
Read Psalms 32:1. Do you have sins that you wish were
- What does David suggest here about getting rid of
sin? (That if we confess them, God will forgive the,
He will "cover" them.)
- Read Psalms 32:2. What would it mean to have your sin
"count" against you? (That some punishment or retribution
- Why do you think the text mentions having a spirit
"with no deceit?" (King David is not talking about
hiding a secret sin and using it to harm others or
mislead them. He is talking about us confessing and
forsaking sin. He is talking about being
- Read Psalms 32:3-4. Is this a feeling that you want?
- What is the reason for this feeling? (Not confessing
- Read Psalms 32:5. To whom did David confess his sin?
- If that is true, how can he talk about covering up
his iniquity? God knows everything! (Since God
knows everything, this must mean that we "cover" the
sin in our own mind. We don't want to admit that
what we are doing is sin. If we admitted it was sin,
we would have to stop.)
- What happens when we confess to God, and not cover
our sins? (God forgave David "the guilt of [his]
- How does it feel to be released from guilt?
- Let's take a little detour. Read Psalms 51:3-4.
What do you think David means when he writes that
his sin is "always before me." (This is a point
prior to the release of guilt. Before the point of
release, David cannot stop thinking about his sin.
He just feels guilty.)
- What does David mean when he says that he has
only sinned against God? I've got a couple of
names of people who it would seem that David
sinned against! (If we are able to undo the
harm that we have created we should do that.
But, the real sin issue is between God and me.
The person you have sinned against cannot
forgive your sin, only God can do that.)
- Read Psalms 32:6-7. Do you think that David is talking
about rising waters and hiding from trouble? (I think he
is still talking about the forgiveness of sin. When we
confess our sins, it is like being delivered from high
water or being hidden from frightening foes. It is a
feeling of relief and gratitude.)
- Re-read Psalms 32:11. Do we better understand how we can
get to this joy and gladness? (Yes! Confess and forsake
sin. God will cover our sin, not count it against us, and
we will feel like we were just saved from a terrible
- Read Psalms 32:8-9. What is the alternative? (We can
either listen to what the Bible teaches us about the joy
of leaving our sins behind, or we can be like a mule and
get yanked around by our sin - and not understand why
life is so hard.)
- Let's review. What is the first step toward true (and
joyful) worship? (Confessing and forsaking sin. The joy
and gratitude come from being released from sin and
guilt. God lifts the sin from us and we rejoice.)
- Getting to the Right Attitude
- Read Psalms 51:5-6. What does this tell us about our sin
problem? (Part of it is not our fault. We were born into
- Read Psalms 51:15-17. What does David mean when he says
that God does not delight in sacrifice? I thought that
we just learned that the path to joy in worship is to
seek forgiveness of sin?
- What do you think David is trying to teach those of
us who live after the time of the sanctuary service
on earth? (David is talking about a mechanical
approach to sin. Do you keep confessing the same
sins so that the confession becomes a routine? God
is not looking for dead animals. He is not looking
for lifeless confessions. God is looking for a
change in attitude.)
- What kind of attitude does God want? We
normally mean something negative when we speak
of a "broken spirit" or a "broken heart." (What
is broken is our pride, our self-sufficiency.
When we realize that we cannot fight sin on our
own, when we realize that we need the power of
the Holy Spirit, that triggers great
- Read Psalms 51:10. What is the goal of broken pride and
dependence upon God? (A pure heart, a right spirit.)
- Do you see worship in a different light? Instead of
thinking of worship as just singing, prayer or praise, we
see that it grows naturally out of a right attitude.
Gratitude that we are released from the guilt and payback
of sin gives real power to our worship.
- Rejoicing in the Past
- Read 2 Samuel 22:1-4. Who is the focus of this song of
- The next time that you are singing a hymn or song of
praise, look at the lyrics carefully and determine
who is being praised. Consider, for example, the
hymn "Higher Ground." Here is part of it: "I'm
pressing on the upward way, new heights I'm gaining
every day, still praying as I'm onward bound, Lord,
lead me on to higher ground." Who is being praised
- Read 2 Samuel 22:5-7. Is David sounding like the writer
of "Higher Ground?" (No. It is true that David is singing
about his past experiences, but he is not talking about
his own success, he is talking about matters which
threatened his life.)
- Let's skip down a few verses and read 2 Samuel 22:13-18.
What is the point of David's song of praise? (That God
has rescued him.)
- Do you ever look back at the past and think about
the times that God has rescued you?
- We previously discussed attitudes of worship. How
important to worship is the contemplation of past
rescues from trouble? (God not only rescues us from
sin, but He often rescues us from the troubles of
- We started out talking about whether people see colors
the same, and whether people feel the power of worship
the same. King David teaches us that the power of emotion
in worship comes from the release from sin, an attitude
of dependence on God, and gratitude about what God has
done for us not only with the sin problem, but with the
trials and dangers of life. If these are the factors
that you put into your worship, then you understand why
King David danced before God in his enthusiastic praise!
- Friend, how about you? Jesus says ( Luke 7:47) "He who
has been forgiven little loves little." God has saved you
from eternal death. He has released you from sin and
guilt. Does your worship reflect the enormous debt of
gratitude you should have towards God? Or, would your
worship be a reasonable setting for falling asleep? Will
you determine today to give God the praise and honor He
deserves, and not something half-hearted?
- Next week: Worship in the Psalms.
* Copr. 2011, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.