I would like to pray God’s richest blessings on you in this new year. My new year has been accompanied by Genesis 1-5 and Psalms 1-5, and I’ve been struck by several aspects of worship revealed in these chapters, particularly in the first five psalms.
Starting in Psalm 1, worship isn’t referred to directly, but what is described is the way of the righteous. The woman or man will be blessed if they reject the ways of the world, and rather ‘delight in’ and ‘meditate on’ the word of God. This is more than just reading the Bible or listening to a sermon! When we delight in God’s word, it is a form of worship, because we are putting God first, giving Him His rightful place in our lives. Similar to Jesus exhorting us to seek the kingdom of God first. Meditating on the word of God can take many forms: I love to see connections, especially between the Old Testament and the New, I appreciate it when the Holy Spirit focuses my mind on a particular verse or word, and I’ve recently gone back to Matthew Henry’s commentary and found some gems in there.
Psalm 2 is well-known as the first of the Messianic psalms, depicting Jesus as the King of Kings, that men would be wise to worship. Very topical as we see many leaders and rulers across the world band together against the Lord and against His church, this psalm is highly encouraging as it teaches us that God is in control, he is ultimately on the throne, and all the evil plans of man will come to nothing when Christ returns in glory.
David turns everything into worship. In Psalm 3 he is in a terrible situation, driven out of his home in Jerusalem by his own rebellious son Absalom. Enemies are chasing him, but his faith is firmly in the Lord, who he declares to be his shield, his deliverer, his glory, and the One who lifts his head. He is in conversation with his God, calling to Him and receiving His answer ‘from His holy mountain’. His trust brings him peace, and he is even able to sleep despite the crisis around him.
The theme of God’s peace extending into our sleep as well as our waking hours is continued in the fourth psalm. Again David is in prayerful conversation with the Lord, calling out for mercy and grace. David the king declares himself a servant of the Lord, and is confident that God hears his prayers. We would do well to follow his example when we are in trouble or distress; he simply brings every situation to God, trusting Him to handle things.
Finally Psalm 5 again finds David in trouble, in battle, and in mourning. Bloodthirsty and deceitful enemies are all around, and what do we see David doing? He is praying (v2), calling for help (v2), bowing down towards the temple (v7), and singing for joy (v11). Verse 3 is instructive:
In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait expectantly.Psalm 5:3
Here we get a little insight into David’s habits; like Daniel he is regularly coming before the Lord every morning. This is practical spirituality, this is putting God and His kingdom first, and it’s a simple example to follow. Let’s be determined this year to spend quality time with God each morning, like David bringing our worship and prayers, delighting and meditating on His word, and expecting Him to answer.