Give thanks to the Lord!

The aim of the devotional study is to reflect on the year (or recent season), recognize God’s goodness and render him the thanks and praise due to him.

Scripture

Psalm 100:1-5

1  Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!

2  Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!

3  Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4  Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!

5  For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

Observations

Note the outline: A call to worship (verse 1-2) | Worship God for Who He is (verse 3) | A call to worship (verse 4) | Worship God for what He is like (verse 5)

  1. What is the mood of the psalmist? (note the adverbs or descriptive words in verses 1 and 2)
  2. What is the key theme or call of this Psalm? (verse 4)
  3. To whom does this call go out? (verse 1)
    • Why could this universal invitation be considered strange?
    • Why does the Psalmist think it is appropriate that this call to thanksgiving and praise is appropriate for “all the earth”? (hint: consider verse 3)
    • Considering the pastoral parable in verse 3, for what would “all the earth” give thanks to God? (hint: what does a shepherd do for sheep? compare Psalm 23)
  4. Can you identify seven ways given in this Psalm of how God should be worshipped?
  5. We should praise God for who he is:
    • Who does this Psalm say God is? (identify five… verses 1 and 3)
    • What does this Psalm say God’s character is like? (verse 5)

Personal Reflection

  1. Thanksgiving benefits the believer: how does the discipline of stopping to think of and thank God for what he has done impact a person?

Application

  1. In which ways have you recently experienced the Good Shepherd’s
  • guidance,
  • protection, and
  • provision?
  1. Are there other ways in which you have experienced the Lord’s faithful, loving goodness during this year?
  2. Take time to respond with appropriate worship
    • joyful thanksgiving: declaring what God has done for you
    • prayer of praise: declaring who God is to you
    • worship God with other believers.

 

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Scripture

Psalm 105:1-6

1 Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name,
and make his deeds known among the people.
2 Sing to him! Praise him!    Declare all his awesome deeds!
3  Exult in his holy name;    let all those who seek the Lord rejoice!
4 Seek the Lord and his strength;    seek his face continually.
5 Remember his awesome deeds that he has done,

his wonders and the judgments he declared.
6 You descendants of Abraham, his servant,  You children of Jacob, his chosen ones.

Observations

Context: This Psalm is a call and instruction to corporate worship.

  1. In your own words, what does the psalmist call the congregation to do in each phrase of the psalm above? Rewrite these as practical steps or instructions for corporate worship.

Personal reflection and application

Many of the psalms were written as examples or deliberate instructions on why, how and when to worship God. Christian leaders can use these as baseline for inspiring and facilitating worship – even without musical instruments!

  1. Would you call yourself a worshipper of God? When and how do you worship God by yourself? What do you enjoy doing when you worship?
  2. How confident are you to facilitate worship? If you had no music with you, how would you do it?
  3. Read through this psalm line by line, and follow the example or instruction to give thanks and praise to God in your own words.
  4. At your next fellowship, prayer or Bible Study session, start the meeting by leading the group to worship God together in this way.

 

Worship 5 – make His praise glorious

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on the splendor or Biblical Praise.

Scripture

Psalms 66:1-20

1  Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth! 2  Sing out the honor of His name; Make His praise glorious.  3  Say to God, “How awesome are Your works! Through the greatness of Your power Your enemies shall submit themselves to You. 4  All the earth shall worship You And sing praises to You; They shall sing praises to Your name.” Selah [i.e. pause and reflect]

5  Come and see the works of God; He is awesome in His doing toward the sons of men.  6  He turned the sea into dry land; They went through the river on foot. There we will rejoice in Him. 7  He rules by His power forever; His eyes observe the nations; Do not let the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah

8  Oh, bless our God, you peoples! And make the voice of His praise to be heard, 9  Who keeps our soul among the living, And does not allow our feet to be moved. 10  For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined. 11  You brought us into the net; You laid affliction on our backs. 12  You have caused men to ride over our heads; We went through fire and through water; But You brought us out to rich fulfillment.

13  I will go into Your house with burnt offerings; I will pay You my vows, 14  Which my lips have uttered And my mouth has spoken when I was in trouble. 15  I will offer You burnt sacrifices of fat animals, With the sweet aroma of rams; I will offer bulls with goats. Selah

16  Come and hear, all you who fear God, And I will declare what He has done for my soul. 17  I cried to Him with my mouth, And He was extolled with my tongue. 18  If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear. 19  But certainly God has heard me; He has attended to the voice of my prayer. 20  Blessed be God, Who has not turned away my prayer, Nor His mercy from me!

Observation

  1. Summarise the Psalmist message in the following sections:
    1. Verses 1-4
    2. Verses 5-7
    3. Verses 8-12
    4. Verses 13-15
    5. Verses 16-20
  2. In each of the 5 sections above, list what God is praised for.
  3. In each of the 5 sections above, list how God is praised.

Application and Reflection

  1. The Psalmist exhorts the hearers to “Make His praise glorious.” How does one “make Hos praise glorious?” – what can you learn from this Psalm in this regard?  [don’t rush over this]
  2. One key themes for which the Psalmist praises God is for faithful protection and preservation. Follow the example above:
    1. Direct praise as in this Psalm: In personal praise to God “make His praise glorious!”
    2. Indirect praise as in this Psalm: In retelling the events in your life where God has shown Himself faithful and great “make His praise glorious!”

Worship 4 – overflow of a thankful heart

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on worship as a natural response to a thankful heart.

Scripture

Psalms 40:1-3 (A song of David)

1  I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry.

2  He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.

3  He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.

Observations

  1. Read the Psalm slowly and picture everything you read.
  2. A helpful way to study a text is to look at the verbs and who does the work:
    1. Who is mentioned in this text? (hint: verse 1a, verse 1b, verse 3b)
    2. Who does what? In other words, list all the verbs (action words/phrases) for each of the parties mentioned.
  3. What emotional shift did David move from before and after God’s intervention?
  4. What is the end result of God’s saving intervention for David?
  5. What is the result of God’s saving intervention in David’s life in other people’s lives?

Application and Prayer

Reflect on times in your life when God really intervened in your life for the good

  1. Tell God those stories (note these accounts in your notebook as you go along).
  2. Thank God for where you are today because of his saving intervention in these events (consider where you would have been with God’s intervention).
  3. Now praise God as David did: “he turned to me and heard me; He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.)

Praise him for being the God who sees, the God who hears, the God who saved, the God who strengthens, the God of hope.  Give God his praise!

  1. With whom can you share one or two of these testimonies that they may recognize how big God is and put their trust in him as you do? Make that appointment now to share your “song of praise”!

Worship 3 – key to the presence of God

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on and practice the presence of God.

Scripture

Psalms 22:1-3

1  My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? 2  O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. 3  Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.

Observations

  1. In your own words describe the emotional state of the Psalmist at the beginning of this Psalm.
  2. Record the thought flow of the Psalmist through these three verses.
  3. What truth does the author want to convey about God’s relationship with mankind in the third verse?
  4. What does this Psalm teach us about the key to experiencing God’s presence?

Application and Prayer

Psalms 100:4  “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!”

Shut down everything that distracts; even close your eyes if you need to.  Start thanking God for all the good things in your life, and for all the times He has intervened in your life in the past – be specific.  Then praise God for his great works, for his power and his character.  Devote the rest of your quite time to keep on praising God – even recall his Names by which he has revealed himself. Enjoy your time with God.  (Record what God reveals to you and respond as His Spirit leads).

 

Worship – 2 why to praise the Lord

The Aim of this devotional study is to reflect on the motive study the motivation for praising the Lord.

Scripture

Psalms 150:1-6

1  Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens!

2  Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness!

3  Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! 4  Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! 5  Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!

6  Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!

Observation and Reflection

  1. In your own words rephrase what does this Psalm teach the hearer/ reader?
  2. Now, answer these questions about the appeal to “Praise the Lord”!
    1. Where ought one to “Praise the Lord”? (v1) What does that imply?
    2. For what ought one to “Praise the Lord”? (v2) What does that imply?
    3. How ought one to “Praise the Lord”? (v3-5) What does that imply?
    4. Who ought to “Praise the Lord”? (v6) What does that imply?

Application and Prayer

  1. As in the Psalm, praise the Lord “for his mighty deeds”
    1. By reciting the amazing works the Lord has done in the past for Israel
    2. By recalling the good things the Lord has done for you in the past
  2. As in the Psalm, praise the Lord “for his excellent greatness”
    1. By reciting his attributes: God is holy, all-mighty, all-knowing, everywhere, ever-living, unchanging…
    2. By worshipping his characteristics: God is righteous, faithful, truthful, merciful, kind…

Worship 1 – surrendering all to God

The Aim of this devotional study is to study the first mention of worship in the Bible.

Scripture

Genesis 22:1-6

1  After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”  2  He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

3  So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.

4  On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar.  5  Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.”  6  And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together.

Observation

Context: This is the beginning of the historic event where Abraham obeyed God and offered Isaac went to offer his son Isaac, before the Lord intervened. 

  1. When someone invite you to a worship celebration, what do you expect?
  2. This is the first mention of “worship” in the Bible. What other words would you use to describe Abraham’s attitudes and activities in response to God’s command?
  3. Look at Abraham’s response to God’s command
    1. How soon after God commanend this big sacrifice did Abraham obey? What does that say about his devotion to God?
    2. How long did Abraham journey to obey God? What does that say about his devotion to God?
    3. What efforts did Abraham make to obey God? What does that say about his devotion to God?
  4. Considering this text, what do you learn of Abraham’s worship in terms of:
    1. Surrendering all to God.
    2. Obedience to God.
    3. Faith in God.
    4. Devotion to God.

Application and Prayer

God asked Abraham for the biggest and most precious thing in life – Isaac, his son, his legacy.   And Abraham worshipped God by implicit, radical surrender and obedience.

  1. What is the ONE thing in your life that – if God asks you to do or to give up – you might be tempted to say “no”?
    1. Honestly tell God how you feel about that.
    2. As Abraham, reflect on God as the “Giver of All Good Things” that gave this and can bring it back to life again.
    3. Ask God for grace to surrender even this to Him, and when you’re ready – surrender this thing to God from the heart.
  2. In prayer, worship God by surrendering every aspect of your life to God, devoting your whole self in service to Him, as Paul wrote:

Romans 12:1 “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”