Learning to Worship God
"Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips. When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches." (Psalm 63:4–6)
IF WE ARE SEEKING GOD, WE WILL WANT TO REACH THE POINT AT WHICH WE HONESTLY ENJOY THE WORSHIP OF GOD. Making the choice to engage in worship on set occasions is wise, of course, and as far as Christians worshiping together is concerned, the New Testament certainly shows that the earliest followers of the Lord did that every week (Acts 20:7; Hebrews 10:25). To be spiritually mature, however, is not only to engage in acts of worship regularly but also to have the kind of character that delights in doing so, even when there is no special occasion.
The true joy of worship is a joy that must be learned. No doubt there are people who find it easy to enjoy some of the superficial aspects of worship, but most of us will find that worship is an acquired taste. The regrettable modern tendency to turn worship into something that is naturally enjoyable, and even entertaining, should not blind us to the fact that true worship is the spiritual adoration of God, a thing that does not come naturally to carnally-minded people. We will not enjoy worship as God wants us to enjoy it until we have come around to His way of thinking, and this is work that takes more than Sunday morning. It requires regular attention to God, and perhaps the passing of many years.
As the above selection from Psalm 63 shows, David was a man whose highest happiness was the worship of God: “My mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.” It’s unlikely that David’s arm had to be twisted to get him to the tabernacle at the various times prescribed in the Law of Moses. But those special times at the tabernacle would have meant so much to David because of what happened in his life every day and every night: “When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches.” We, like David, need to learn the pleasure of everyday devotion — and then we also will enjoy the exaltation of special worship.
“We — or at least I — shall not be able to adore God on the highest occasions if we have learned no habit of doing so on the lowest. At best, our faith and reason will tell us that He is adorable, but we shall not have found Him so, not have ‘tasted and seen’ ” (C. S. Lewis).