Praise and Worship Are Simple

While theologians have struggled with the nuances of the meanings of individual words for millennia now, Christians have been worshiping God simply and praisefully all the while.

When bishops were battling over adding the word “homoousios” (“of the same substance,” a nonbliblical greek word used to substantiate the deity of Christ at Nicea) believers were simply praising God for never leaving them.

While Augustine was busy defining the concept of original sin, believers were simply praising God for his great love in their lives.

While the reformers were arguing over the meaning of the word “elect”, believers were simply praising God for their salvation.

There is awesome joy in God.  His praises are from before time to after it.  His power, that created all that is, is beyond an inkling of understanding.  The glimpses that we see so overwhelm us that we are insufficient to describe them.  His light is so powerful that darkness cowers before it.  And none of this relies on understanding which mode of baptism is better,  or which millennial view is better, or which church government system should be used.

Of course, those are important issues, but as often as not, they get in the way to feeling the incredible peace and joy of God.  And that is not to say that we should ignore all these issues, no, we need to look at them, and resolve them if we can.  But the point is that we need to look at them because they are an impediment to faith. We look at them to resolve them so that we can overcome the impediment of confusion and doubt that all these disputes generate.  That is because real faith is generated when we can trust God with all our hearts, and feel the incredible joy of his presence.   And to some degree that is the focus of a large population of Christians who week after week meet to praise God and to learn, to learn the simple truths that Jesus came to teach us, and to praise God with simple joy and thanksgiving.

I was just listening to some praise and worship music, and “Fail Us Not” came on.  The song is a Psalm.  The song starts with how God treats us as sinners in his care:

Failure doesn’t phase You, worry doesn’t win,
Loss doesn’t leave You afraid to start again,
Our sin doesn’t shock You,
Our shame doesn’t shame You at all [1]

These lines remind me of the book of Jeremiah, chapter 33, where the Lord says he will forget our sins:

But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith Jehovah: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people:
and they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know Jehovah; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith Jehovah: for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more [Jer 31:33-34]

There is another verse which talks about how no matter what we will rise above:

Whatever will come, we’ll rise above,
You fail us not, You fail us not,
No matter the war, our hope is secure,
You fail us not, You fail us not,
You fail us not…

This verse reminds me of the verses that say God will never leave us or forsake us (Deut 31:6), and greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).

But the crux of the song sings how great our God is as a deliverer:

You’re bigger than the battle,
You are bigger than the battle
You are bigger than the battle has ever been.

This verse echos the sentiment of the simple Psalm:

Jehovah is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; My God, my rock, in whom I will take refuge; My shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower. [Psalm 18:2]

All of this shows how when it comes to relating to life people often relate more to the simple depictions in the Psalms, the wisdom of the Proverbs, and the life-giving parables by Jesus than the doctrinal argumentation of theologians, and even some of what Peter described as “sayings hard to understand”, the doctrinal expositions by the apostle Paul.  After all when was the last time you heard a Christian song that reminded you of the book of Romans, Philippians, or a topic from a systematic theology?

I want to close this with just a few verses from the Psalms.  Just look and feel the power of these words:

But I have trusted in thy lovingkindness; My heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.
I will sing unto Jehovah, Because he hath dealt bountifully with me.  [Psalm 13:5-6]

Amen. Praise the Lord!


©copyright 2010 Mark W. Smith, all rights reserved.

Scroll to Top