Psalm 33:1-5 – You call that worship?

is this worshipPsalm 33:1-5 – “Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.
2  Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.
3  Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.
4  For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth.
5  He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.”

Biblical, God-centered congregational worship in America is all but dead, as the influence and demands of a narcissistic society has assimilated itself in churches across the United States.  Many go to churches whose leadership is guided by a man-centered philosophy of entertaining the masses.  “Worship services” have become little more than music concerts.  The central role of the preacher\teacher systematically declaring the Word of God (Ephesians 4:11-12) has been exchanged for “worship leaders” crooning with “wanna-be professional musicians”, a choir singing backup (if there is a choir at all), and the applause of an audience oblivious to the deterioration in the purpose, priority and focus of worship.

singPsalm 33:1-5 is a call to congregational worship and active participation in worship.  Many of the psalms of David are meditative in nature reflecting the king’s private times of prayer, devotion and reflection.  However, Psalm 33 reminds us of the central place of worship as a congregation with plural verbs in the original Hebrew, indicating a corporate call to worship.

Psalm 33:1 – “Rejoice [sing; shout for joy] in the LORD, O ye righteous [just; lawful; innocent; blameless]: for praise is comely [beautiful; suitable; fitting] for the upright [righteous; right].

We notice in Psalm 33:1 an emphasis on the DUTY of the righteous and upright to worship the LORD.  To be righteous in the sight of God is indicative of those whose sins have been forgiven because they trust in the LORD.  Paul reminds us in Romans 3:10, 23 there are none who are righteous and all are sinners apart from God’s saving grace and forgiveness (Romans 3:24-26).  The righteous and upright have cause and duty to “Rejoice in the LORD” and praise Him (33:1)

Psalm 33:2-3 – “Praise [give thanks] the LORD with harp [lyre]: sing [praise; sing praise] unto him with the psaltery [lute; like a guitar] and an instrument of ten strings [ten string instrument]. 3  Sing unto him a new song; play [make music] skillfully [well; good; pleasing; beautiful] with a loud noise [shout; i.e. like the sound of a trumpet].

The righteous and upright are to covey their love and DEVOTION for the LORD in corporate music and song.  Adoration for the LORD is expressed in instrumental music and song (33:2) and the congregation is to sing a “new song” (33:3a), consisting of words and music inspired by their growing knowledge of the nature and works of God.

The translation, “with a loud noise” (33:3), might describe the majority of 21st century “praise music”; however, the literal meaning implies the use of wind instruments such as a trumpet. “Skillfully” defines the expectation that the music and song is to be beautiful and well-pleasing to the ear (something not achieved apart from dedication and disciplined practice).

Psalm 33:3 is a DECLARATION for why the righteous and upright should worship the LORD in music and song.

Psalm 33:4 – “For the word [spoken word; discourse] of the LORD is right [righteous; straight; just]; and all his works [acts; labor; deeds] are done in truth [faith; faithfulness; honesty].”

The righteous and upright should praise the LORD because He is worthy of praise and worship.  Not only is the glory of God revealed in His Creation (Psalm 19:1), but His Word and works declare He is holy, just, loving, faithful and good (33:4).  His Word is right and His works are honest and true (33:4).

sing to the LordPsalm 33:5 – “He [the LORD] loveth [loves; to have affection] righteousness [justice] and judgment [right]: the earth [land] is full [filled; overflow] of the goodness [mercy; kindness] of the LORD.”

Why are the righteous and upright obligated and motivated to rejoice in and praise the Lord (33:1)?  Because He loves the righteous and the earth and its inhabitants are testimonies of His overflowing grace and mercies.

My friend, are you going to a church that makes Christ the center of worship?  Is the faithful preaching and teaching of God’s Word the central focus?  Are you going to church for entertainment or to be an active participant in worship by offering the LORD praise in music and song?

Colossians 3:16-17 – “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17  And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith