Hearing His voice, which comes from the proclamation of the word, is an essential part of the worship experience. Without hearing the word proclaimed then we may become like the Children of Israel in the wilderness who demonstrated faithlessness. We know that "faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God." The consequence of unbelief would be that we would not heed the call to worship.

A Warning to Those Who Do Not Worship God (Psalms 95:8-11)

Looking over the Psalmist's shoulder into the past, he remembered that the children of Israel had unacceptable behavior in the sight of the Lord. Notice that the worshippers in this text are admonished not to harden their heart. The examples of "Meribah" and "Massah" are cited. These were two places that the children of Israel hardened their hearts against the Lord. They tested and tried Him. Interestingly, the text states that they did so even "though they had seen my work." Their lack of trust and challenge of His ability and power were offered even after seeing His miraculous works. One could hardly fathom questioning and rebelling against the God who brought His children through the Red Sea on dry ground. Viewing that event from the twenty-first century seems unbelievable. How would anyone question and doubt a God with that much power? However, how many "Red Seas" has that same God parted in your life? How quickly we forget the cure of disease, the love of family and friends, the salvation so graciously imparted to us.

Failing to worship Him and choosing rather to question and rebel against Him is not acceptable and is the very thing the Psalmist warns against. The consequence of failing to worship this Great God is twofold. First, there is a lack of knowledge concerning the ways of God. Failing to recognize and follow His ways are sure recipes for sin. In order to follow His ways we must spend time getting to know Him. A rebellious spirit will hinder that endeavor. Second, there is no rest. The children of Israel who were rebellious in Spirit were not allowed to enter the rest of the Promise Land. How many times do we miss the opportunities of rest in Jesus because we are rebellious in Spirit? A true worshiper of God is more concerned with worshipping Holy God than promoting their personal agenda. A true worshiper understands that God indeed knows the thoughts of man. Worship is not merely a given action to be performed. Worship is heartfelt and genuinely offered to a Holy and omniscient God.

True worship is not birthed out of compulsion rather out of privilege. Worshiping God should be from the joy in our hearts because of His salvation. He has done great and mighty things for us and our worship of Him should be from a heart of thanksgiving for all that He has done. Worshiping Him with joy and thanksgiving is how we are to worship. The text does not mention worshiping with hymns or praise choruses. The debate over such issues has become greater than the worship of a Holy God. Many churches are so concerned with how to worship Him that they have often forfeit their opportunity to worship. Selfish and personal preferences have infiltrated the time of worship and the people of God have involved themselves in debates over the style of worship and missed the opportunity to worship. God is not concerned with whether we use hymns, praise choruses, or instruments to praise Him. The call is simply to worship Him.

A call to worship includes laying aside our personal desires, preferences, and plans and picking up the attitude of praise. So, come, let us worship Holy God and sing joyfully to Him. He alone is worthy!

_________________