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Sing Joyfully to the Lord

Updated on February 8, 2018
Anna Watson profile image

Anna is a pastor, writer, and theologian who obtained her BA in religion in '06, Diploma of Ministry in '16, and Diploma of Divinity in '17.

Dusty Religion

Church attendance is down in many places. Some people are disillusioned by what they see is religious hypocrisy, while others simply rebel against their creator. Some people like to spend their Sundays at the lake or they prefer to sleep in. They have nothing against religion or God, they just have more entertaining ways to spend their Sunday mornings. Most people only get two days off a week and they want to spend them in leisure or being entertained. Church is boring. The religion is dry and dusty. To sit there and listen to a pastor drone on and on for an hour is a lot to ask. Facebook, movie theaters, television, and restaurants are fierce competitors.

Meanwhile, inside the church, service is often lackluster, perfunctory, and uninspired. Parishioners stand and sit as necessary, mumble through prayers and hymns, and watch the second hand on their watches tick ever closer to the closing prayer. They then leave until the next week, knowing they’ve put in the proper time until the next Sunday calls them back. Then, once more, they’ll put in the proper motions to get through the service. These are sincere believers, mind you. They genuinely believe in their hearts that God is Lord on high, and that Jesus saves. The pastor, for his or her part, sincerely tries to put together an inspiring sermon that will hold the interest of the parishioners.

All involved, the church staff and congregation, are all doing their Christian duty. But is that what God wants? Duty? Is He, God of all creation, mere work to do for an hour a week, mere time to put in? By no means! I can confidently say that God does not want us to simply acknowledge Him, and give Him a nod once a week. He wants us to throw ourselves at Him in rapture and exaltation! He wants us to get caught up in a frenzy and dance and sing and totally embarrass ourselves. He doesn’t want us to shyly lip-sync to a hymn about His mercy, we should instead throw ourselves into fits of joy and sing praise for all His wonderful and awesome works! How do I know this? I cheated. I read the Bible.

Praise the Lord, O my soul. I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.

— Psalm 146:2

Praise God for He is Good

More than forty-five times the Bible tells us to worship, honor and praise the Lord. Deuteronomy 6:13 tells us to fear the Lord and serve Him only, while chapter 32 calls for the nations and their people to rejoice. Several times, Jesus said we are to worship; in spirit and in truth. In fact, it’s even in one of the Ten Commandments; we’re to let nothing become an idol. God wants us to worship He alone, and to be obedient to His will. Is it right of God to demand our praise?

Famed Boxer Mohammed Ali once said “It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am.” The young, brash, Ali was known for his boasting, one could argue that without it he would have never have gotten as far in life as he did. Yet while he made of career of referring to himself as the greatest of all time; there’s only one who is that deserving of our praise, only one who is worthy of our ecstasy and elation. Revelation 4:11 “You are worth our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”

Look around you. Are you at work? Praise God you have a job! Are you at home? Praise God you have a roof over your head! You are reading this on a computer, cell phone, or tablet. Thank God for providing those luxuries! Go outside. Listen to the birds, how sweetly they sing. Praise God for their musical talent. It’s currently winter, praise God for the evergreens to brighten up the drab of the otherwise bare forests. If you live in a climate that experiences four seasons, praise God that everything has its season. If you live in a climate that doesn’t experience all four seasons, praise God for the mild winters. Have you ever heard a babbling brook or a roaring waterfall? Praise God that you could hear it! Deer exist and graze on the grass. Praise God for their majesty! Leafy sea dragons, Gharials, and red lipped batfish all exist. Praise God for His sense of humor and creativity! Are you healthy? Praise God! Are you sick? Praise God that’ll He’ll get you through it! (one way or another) Are you alive? Praise God! And when you die, praise Him even more.

We have much to be thankful for in this world, we have a God who loved us enough that He sent His only Son into this world to die for our sins. That alone deserves praise. God laid us down on a beautiful planet teeming with all kinds of life. That deserves worship. David and the other writers of the Psalms understood that. The unnamed author of the 33rd Psalm certainly felt that we should shout prayers of thanksgiving before the Lord. Verses 1-3 “Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise Him. Praise the Lord with the harp; make music to Him on the ten stringed lyre, sing to Him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.”

Praise the Lord. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant it is to praise Him!

— Psalm 147:1

Shout for Joy

Shout for joy, the psalmist said. He didn’t ask the readers to solemnly contemplate on the goodness of our maker, nor to meditate on His works. No. We are to shout for joy. In first Chronicles 15, David led the Israelites in dance and celebration as the Ark of the Covenant was brought to town. They likely made a noisy and unruly procession as the people shouted, the ram’s horns sounded, and the trumpets, cymbals, lyres, and harps all played a joyful tune to the God of creation. David knew that the best way to worship God was to unabashedly sing joyous praise. Chronicles tells us that David had the Levites appoint people as singers and musicians skilled in the lyre, harps, and cymbals to lead the Israelites in cheerful songs. (15:16) while chronicles 23:5 says that David anointed 4,000 musicians to play in the temple.

Worship music is supposed to be loud and uninhibited, not somber. David and the other psalmist understood this. Psalm 150 calls on everything that has breath to praise the Lord. To praise Him for His acts of power and surpassing greatness. Worshipping a mighty God shouldn’t be an obligation, it should be a pleasure. We should WANT to praise the master of the universe. Psalm 98:4 calls for all the earth to burst into jubilant song. While Isaiah 12:4 wants the glorious things that God has done to be made known throughout the world, so we should give thanks to the Lord, call on His name, that His name should be exalted. God is good and life is good, so let us all shout praise to our creator.

God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the Lord amid sounding of trumpets. Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises.

— Psalm 47:5,6

© 2018 Anna Watson

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