Worship Matters: Worship and the Word, Part 3
- Craig Cabaniss Senior Pastor, Grace Church, San Diego
- 2003 4 Apr
We've been exploring the relationship between worship and God's Word as expressed in the 19th Psalm. We've seen that Scripture is the only trustworthy revelation of God and that any worship not rooted in God's self-revelation is destined to go astray. We focused last time on verse 7, which declares the perfection of the Word and its reviving effect on the soul.
The second part of this verse tells us that "The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple." The use of the word "testimony" to signify God's Word emphasizes Scripture as His personal revelation. Testimony is something provided by a witness. God here serves as His own witness. And unlike the testimony of man, God's testimony is sure. His Word is trustworthy and reliable. A comparison is implied here. The fads, fancies, and passing ideas of man are no sure place to stand, but the Word of God is a firm foundation.
What is the result of exposure to this self-disclosing testimony of God? It makes us wise. The word "simple" literally refers to the young or the untrained. The simple are those who, apart from the Word of God, are without a clue -- and that, of course, means you and me! We must admit that without Scripture's revelation of God, we would never have discovered him; we would indeed be clueless.
Fortunately, because of God's gracious gift of his Word, we need not remain ignorant of God and his ways; we need not remain simple. And because, through the Word, we are able to know God, we are also able to worship Him.
Another nuance to the word "simple" involves a moral component. Biblically, the simple are not only the ignorant, but also the immoral. A simple person is not just someone who doesn't know the way. A simple person willingly chooses to go the wrong way. So our problem is not only a dull mind, but a hard heart.
The Bible addresses both aspects of this problem. It instructs us about God's character, and it teaches us how to please him. Without Scripture as the foundation of our worship, we will inevitably drift into error and sin. It may be difficult to imagine worship as sinful or displeasing to God, but as John Frame says in his book Worship in Spirit and Truth:
"It often surprises people to learn that God is not always pleased when we worship him. We might be inclined to think that God should be thankful for any attention we give him out of our busy schedules. Worship is not about God thanking us. It is about our thanking him, and God is not pleased with just anything we choose to do in his presence. The mighty Lord of heaven and earth demands that our worship, indeed all of our lives, be governed by his Word."
Realizing that I am one of the simpletons this verse refers to has deepened my appreciation for the sure testimony of God. The Word doesn't leave me in sinful ignorance, but instructs me in righteousness and wisdom, motivating me to worship in spirit, and enabling me to worship in truth.
This article is based on a message Craig gave at Sovereign Grace's A Passion for the Glory of God worship conference. You can order the audio product from the Sovereign Grace Store.
The outlines for many of these conference messages are on the the Sovereign Grace website
Are you interested in another tool for Scripture memory? Try Mark Altrogge's Hide the Word series of Scriptures set to mini-songs. You can order these from the Sovereign Grace Store.