1. What is your favorite hymn?
2. What is your favorite hymn of praise?
3. How would you describe the difference in the hymn “How Great Is Our God” and “Worthy of Worship”? (The first one is proclaiming God’s greatness to others, while the second hymn is addressed directly to God.)
Many of our favorite hymns proclaim God’s greatness, along with other descriptions of Him but are not addressed directly to Him. Not that these other hymns are not good but we need to sing hymns addressed directly to God as well. “Amazing Grace” is most likely the most favorite hymn of all time, but it is a hymn of testimony not praise to God, although it does cause people to praise Him. While hymns of proclamation are appropriate in our services, hymns of worship are addressed TO God, not ABOUT God!
The subheading for Psalm 95 is “Worship and Warning.” This tells us that this psalm is a combination psalm that leads us to worship and cautions us to watch our attitude toward God!
“This psalm may have been composed for the Festival of Booths. This weeklong feast celebrated the ingathering of the harvest and commemorated Israel’s exodus out of Egyptian slavery. During this sacred holiday, the Israelites erected temporary living quarters to remind them of God’s providential care during the years when the nation wandered in the wilderness. Booths were not indications of privation and poverty but were symbols of protection and preservation. Living in booths for a week reminded Israel of God’s protection during a critical period of its history.” (From your Personal Study Guide, page 63)
In our text today we will address four of the six basic journalism questions: What? Who? How? And When?
What? Read Psalm 95:1-2
1. How would you characterize these two verses, worship or call to worship?
2. What does the psalmist specifically call for the people to do? (Shout joyfully; shout triumphantly; enter His presence with thanksgiving; shout triumphantly.)
3. What causes believers to feel this way?
4. Based on this passage, how would you define worship?
5. What elements should be included in worship?
6. What phrase does the psalmist use to describe God? (“The Rock of our salvation.”)
7. How does verse 1 free you to sing to God whether you think you sing well or poorly? (Singing in the Bible is not a talent for a few but a command for all people. Many translations use the word “sing” rather than “shout” here, and one even encourages us to “make a joyful noise.”)
8. What might shouting joyfully to the Lord look like in corporate worship? In privacy of your home or car?
Singing and shouting to God without right actions is not worship: read Amos 5:23-24.
True worship begins in the heart, not the lips!
Who? Read Psalm 95:3-5
1. The answer to the question of who we are to worship should be obvious. How do these verses describe God?
2. How do the descriptions that the psalmist used differ from how we might describe God?
Verse 4 teaches us that God is present at the deepest depths and the highest heights of creation. For the ancient Israelites, Mount Hermon would have been their highest reference point at 9,100 feet. The Dead Sea would have been the lowest point they knew at 1,400 feet below sea level and 120 miles away from each other. Today, our knowledge of the world is more expansive. We know that Mount Everest at 29,028 feet is the highest point on the planet, and the Challenger Deep in the Pacific Ocean (36,200 feet) is the lowest. But regardless of whether you are an ancient Israelite or you live today, God is present in every dimension of creation. He is there because He made it.
3. Does our increased knowledge of our planet increase or diminish our worship of God?
4. In what ways does the earth point to the greatness of God as Creator?
5. How does the fact that God created you motivate you to worship Him? (We should be reminded that as our Creator, God knows our hearts and sees our actions and motivations infinitely more than we could ever understand.)
6. How is worship more than a feeling? (We worship God for who He is not what He has done or will do! He is worthy of worship simply because of who He is!)
When we notice we’re worshiping something else, including our own opinion, we must deliberately redirect our affection to God. God’s Spirit in us will help us do this.
7. How is obedience an act of worship? (It acknowledges God as our Sovereign Lord through our actions!)
How? Read Psalm 95:6-7a
1. What attitude or character trait do you associate with kneeling and bowing down?
2. Beyond physically bending our knees, how are we to show humility before God?
The psalmist further reinforced a posture of humility by comparing us to sheep.
3. What do you remember about sheep from our study of Psalm 23?
4. How is the image of sheep a fitting metaphor for the relationship between God and His people?
5. What do you appreciate about being one of God’s sheep?
When? Read Psalm 95:7b-11
Summarize or read Exodus 17:1-7 where the people of Israel were without water and grumbled against God and Moses.
1. Instead of grumbling and complaining against God because they had no water, what should have been their attitude? (First, thankfulness to God because He had delivered them from Egyptian slavery. Second, an attitude of faith that God would provide and excitement to see how He would provide.)
2. Where was the people’s focus when they were without water? (Self! Instead of excitement about how God would provide.)
3. Why is it so hard for us to maintain humility?
4. What makes hardheartedness appealing? (Our sinful nature keeps our focus on “self”.)
5. How is our worship of God influenced by our faith in God?
6. What are the dangers of failing to worship God?
7. How do we enter into God’s rest?
8. What blocks us from entering His rest? (Lack of faith.)
Summarize and Challenge!
People were created to live in relationship with God and a natural outflow of that relationship would be to worship God.
—What evidence do you see of this foundational need to worship?
We all worship something. The Spirit motivates believers to worship God through the fruits of the Spirit. These are obedient actions, not feelings.
Notice that the fruits of the Spirit are missing when a person worships self or possessions or any other entity.
Chorus to “Worthy of Worship”:
You are worthy, Father, Creator!
You are worthy, Savior, Sustainer.
You are worthy, worthy and wonderful;
Worthy of worship and praise.
Close with a prayer of praise!