April 13 – Devotion

Date: April 13, 2017

Scripture: Psalm 96

Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth!(Ps. 96:9, ESV)

Psalm 96 is filled with praise and worship and reads so majestically! I often wonder if we view praise and worship as the same thing. Let’s look at praise as evidenced in the first eight verses. We are drawn in a crescendo-like manner to praise God. The tone is jubilant, majestic, and joyful! Praise is a thanksgiving for all God has done. Throughout scripture, the angels, man, and even the creatures are admonished to offer praise. These words of praise are directed to God for all he has done. Praise can be lavished on our family members, our friends, and our church leaders—and even football teams! However, worship is reserved for God alone. “‘You shall worship the Lord your God,/and him only shall you serve’” (Luke 4:8, ESV).

Our praise of God leads us to worship Him in the “splendor of holiness” (Ps. 96:9, ESV). Have you ever noted the quietness associated with worship? “Come let us worship and bow down” (Ps. 95:6, ESV). “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth” (Jn. 4:23, ESV). There is a reverence associated with worship that surpasses mere praise. The Jews of the Old Testament worshiped God with uplifted hands and faces raised to the heavens, but worship led them to bend their knees in reverence of a Holy God. “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10, ESV). There is a quiet, introspective quality about worship. It’s very personal and comes from the heart.

Praise is beautiful and necessary in our lives as we seek God and express thankfulness for what God has done; however, worship comes from our heart as we adore Him for who He is. Sometimes we go through the motion of worship and miss seeing God. He knows our hearts and desires praise and worship from “a broken and contrite heart” (Ps. 51:17, ESV). True worship allows us to see the majesty of God and our own unworthiness. At this Easter season, we praise God for sending Jesus. His sacrificial death opened the very door of heaven for us to be able to live in the presence of a holy God—to praise and worship Him for an eternity.

How fitting that Hosea 14 is paired today with Psalm 96! God calls His people from idolatrous worship to true worship. Impending doom is on the horizon for the Northern Kingdom as Assyria is poised to take them captive. As you read the first 13 chapters, there is a feeling of storm clouds gathering. Yet in Chapter 14 there is a plea from God Himself to “Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God” (Hos. 14:1, ESV)—that’s a silver lining in an otherwise gloomy fate! Notice the beautiful words of God describing what restoration looks like:

I will heal their apostasy;
I will love them freely,
for my anger has turned from them.
I will be like the dew to Israel;
he shall blossom like the lily;
he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon.
(Hos. 14:4-5, ESV)

God alone is worthy of worship. As we are in the midst of the Easter season, may we worship Him “in the splendor of his holiness!”

Prayer for the Journey: God, give us each a heart filled with praise that ultimately leads us to worship and adore you.

Prepared by: Suzanne Smith

One Response to “April 13 – Devotion”

  1. Debbie Keen says:

    Wonderful, educational devotion today, Suzanne! Thank you!

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