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Lesson 7: Worship in the Psalms *

Introduction: Have you noticed that our recent worship studies are focused on our personal reasons for worshiping God? We worship Him because of what He has done for us! These personal reasons for worship bring tears of joy and gratitude to my eyes. But, are these personal reasons for worship "selfish?" After all, Satan told God that Job's worship was for selfish reasons. ( Job 1:9-10.) What if you believe that God has let you down? What if life has not gone right, even though you think that you have been faithful? Let's plunge into our study of the Bible to explore worship beyond our personal reasons!

  1. The Wicked and Worship

    1. Read Psalms 73:1-3. Why has this follower of God nearly lost his faith? (Envy of the wicked.)

    2. Read Psalms 73:4-6. Do you know people like this? They live well, they are proud about their achievements, and they don't let anyone get in their way!

    3. Read Psalms 73:9-11. What is the relationship of these proud people to God? (They make spiritual claims of some sort. They are popular and successful. People "drink" what they have to sell. In America we would say "the people are drinking their kool aid.")

      1. What do the drinkers say about God? (If the proud and successful people claim a spiritual path, why think that God has any better wisdom or knowledge?)

      2. Do you find this is true today? (The spiritualism of "Hollywood" is that every view of life (except serious Christianity) is of equal worth.)

    4. Read Psalms 73:13-14. Have you been following God and thought it was doing you no good? In fact, it was making your life worse? Are you being "punished every morning" for following God?

    5. How would this kind of feeling interfere with worship? (You would not feel gratitude towards God.)

  2. Thinking it Through

    1. Read Psalms 73:15. What keeps our doubting friend from expressing these thoughts in public? (He is worried that he will lead others away from God.)

      1. Is he right to keep silent about his doubts?

    2. Read Psalms 73:16-17. Did the answer come easily? (No. He was "oppressed" by the problem. Apparently, he struggled with it.)

      1. We've recently studied the sanctuary. How does it help us to solve the problem? (Recall the sanctuary is God's picture of the plan of salvation. The lamb dies for the sin of the human. Jesus, the Lamb of God, died to give us the possibility of eternal life.)

    1. Let's continue this line of thought in Psalms 49:10-11. What is the common fate of the wise and the foolish? (They die.)

    2. Read Psalms 49:16-20. Is this the answer? When we are feeling jealous about the wicked who live so well, should we say, "You are going to die like a dog and have nothing in death."

      1. What kind of an attitude is that?

    3. Read Psalms 49:14-15. A common expression is "I'll sleep when I'm dead." Is this "I'll rule when I'm dead?"

      1. How would you express this in the most positive way possible? (This life is all that is given to the wicked. The righteous are redeemed by God into life eternal.)

    4. Read Psalms 73:21-22. What kind of Christians are we if we doubt God and fail to study His word to understand His will? (Brute beasts: senseless and ignorant.)

    5. Read Psalms 73:23-24. What does God offer us other than eternal life? (This text is on my office wall. If we study to learn God's will, He will guide us with His counsel here on earth, and afterwards "take [us] into glory.")

    6. Read Psalms 73:25-26. How else should we justify the prosperity of the wicked? (The pleasures of earth are limited. The true desire of our hearts should be God. He is our strength and our wealth.)

  1. The Declaration

    1. Let's shift gears a bit. So far we have learned that the follower of God may find that the wicked accumulate more wealth and more glory on earth, but the Christian gets the counsel and companionship of God now, and eternal life later. How can we know that these things are true? Read Psalms 19:1. What do you think the heavens declare about God?

      1. Imagine that the most amazing space ship arrives in your town. It has no seams, no obvious fasteners. Formed of some material we have never seen, part of it is as transparent as glass. It moves with great power, but without noise. What would you say about the people who created it? (They are much more technologically sophisticated than we are.)

      2. Our text says that the skies are the "work" of God's hands. What should we conclude from that? (That God made them.)

      3. To get a better idea about what we are talking about, you should go to YouTube on the Internet and look for videos by Louie Giglio which describe the size and wonder of the heavens.

      4. A light year, the distance light travels in a year, is six trillion miles or 10 trillion kilometers. Louie Giglio talks about the Whirlpool Galaxy which is 31 million light years away from us. It contains 300 billion stars. So, think about this: God made something that is 31 million light years away and contains 300 billion stars. If you were going to worship a god, would it be one made with your hands? Or, would you worship One who made the Whirlpool Galaxy?

        1. Speaking of our hands, if I asked you to create a galaxy 31 million light years away, how would you start?

    2. Read Psalms 19:2-4. We discussed what we would conclude about the people who built our imaginary space ship. What are people hearing from the universe today?

      1. Have you noticed that the greater the number of people who live in an area, the less clearly the heavens appear?

      2. Our text says that the heavens "display knowledge." In what way is that true? (They show not just intellect and order, they show power and resources beyond our comprehension.)

      3. Who is unable to hear these messages about God? (No one. They are heard in every language and every part of the world.)

        1. Do you think that is the reason why God created the heavens?

    3. Read Psalms 19:5-6. How is the sun like a bridegroom? (In a marriage, we focus on the groom and the bride. The bride places her hopes on the success of the groom. Our earth is dependent upon the continuing heat and light of the sun.)

  2. The Connection Between the Heavens and the Law

    1. Read Psalms 19:7-8. Why would David change subjects from the heavens to the law? Or, is David staying on the same subject? (He is changing from astronomy to theology, from the stars to the Ten Commandments. But, they both operate by set laws.)

    2. Let's connect this with our prior discussion. What is the problem faced by the wicked? (They are not following God's law. They miss His counsel and companionship on earth, and life on earth is all they "enjoy.")

      1. How can we know that what we believe about God and His law is true? (If God is competent to create the rules governing the heavens, we can have confidence in His rules governing our lives.)

      2. Notice what David says about the law - that it is perfect. Are the laws controlling the heavens perfect? (This is an amazing thing. Evolutionists understand that the heavens follow laws which can be mathematically expressed. We can predict where the planets and stars will be in the future, and determine where they were centuries ago. As a result, those who advocate chance and natural selection for the creation of the universe and everything in it, also understand that the universe is governed by reliable laws. It makes no sense.)

    3. Friend, David says that the law makes the "simple" into "wise" people. Would you like to be wise? If you are already highly intelligent, imagine what God's law will do for you! God admits that some people who reject Him do well. But, if we are wise enough to see the big picture, we will see that the wicked are a sad group. They are without God's counsel and companionship both now and eternally. Friend, will you choose today to be among those who seek to walk with God?

  3. Next week: Conformity, Compromise and Crisis in Worship.
* 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.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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