Pastor Barry Robinson

Letters to the Camberwell Congregation from Pastor Barry Robinson

Psalms – Worship: April 2010


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April 2009

Dear Church Family,

When Mary Magdalene and the ‘other’ Mary (Matthew 28:1) went to the tomb of Jesus and were confronted with the risen Christ their first reaction was to worship Him (V.9).

When the disciples were confronted with the risen Christ and were given the Great Commission of taking this wonderful news to the whole world, they worshipped Him (V.17).

No wonder John Stott says that ‘worship is the church’s pre-eminent duty, we should give it our closest attention’ . He goes on to say that ‘the whole of our life is worship, serving God with all of our being’ .

In the period between Easter and Pentecost, as we continue our journey through the Psalms, we will focus on the theme of worship.

A good number of the psalms were first of all personal prayers or praises, but many were written for public worship.

The foundational message of the psalms of praise and thanksgiving is that God should be worshipped…

Because of who he is

God is the great and powerful king whose authority is worldwide in scope. He gets his own way and nothing can withstand his purposes. Compared with him all other ‘gods’ are nothing. (Psalm 24:7-10; 29:1-11; 47:8-9; 93:1-4; 99:1-2; 113:1-6; 135:5-6; 145:10-13).

He is holy and righteous in his dealings with men and women. Because of this he judges men and women, and no one can avoid his judgement. (Psalm 33:4-5; 75:7; 76:7-9; 96:10-13; 97:6; 99:3-5; 105:7).

He is loving and caring to all. He is especially concerned for the weak and helpless, and of course, for his own people Israel. At the same time, he is good to all, and men and women can always depend on his love. (Psalm 33:18-22; 68:5-6; 100:5; 108:4; 113:7-9; 117:1-2; 136:1-26; 145:8-9; 146:5-9).

Because of what he has made

God has created the whole world and everything in it. He did this in great power, but with great ease. All things owe their existence to him. (Psalm 24:1-2; 33:6-9; 65:5-8; 95:1-5; 135:5-7; 136:4-9; 147:4-5).

But he not only made everything, he has also supplied their every need. He keeps the world going by his power. (Psalm 65:9-13; 67:6-7; 104:1-35; 146:5-7; 147:8-9). Included in this, of course is man himself, so small and helpless, and yet the crown of God’s creation. (Psalm 8:3-9; 95:6-7; 100:3).

Because of what he has done.

He made Israel his own people by rescuing them from Egypt and then leading them through the desert to the promised land of Canaan. He drove out their enemies before them. (Psalm 68:7-18; 81:1-10; 99:6-8; 105:1-45; 114:1-8; 135:8-12; 136:10-25).

He continues to give his people victory over those who threaten them. (Psalm 33:10-19; 46:6-11; 76:1-12).

When we worship and praise our God this will lead…

To confidence

If God is so great and loving, and if he has helped his people in the past, he can and will save them in their present needs whatever they may be. (Psalm 24:3-5; 29:11; 33:18-22; 46:1-11; 97:10-12; 108:7-13; 115:9-15).

To prayer

This is the way in which God’s people naturally express their trust in him. They turn their needs into prayers. (Psalm 68:28; 106:4-5; 108:6, 12-13; 122:6-9).

To commitment

Praising God with words is not enough; we must praise him with lives given over to his service. We must fulfil the promises we have made to him. (Psalm 65:1-2; 76:11; 81:8-10; 95:7-11).

As we worship and praise our God we will see that…

God is wonderfully great

We cannot begin to measure his power and his might. The world and all its detail, including the affairs of men and nations, are all under his control. Everything we have and everything we are come from him. Because of this:

  • We feel a sense of littleness and insignificance when we think of him.
  • We owe him our praise, worship and thanksgiving, both by lip and life.

God is concerned

He loves what he has made, and provides for it in every way. In his great power he chose a people for himself, freed them, and gave them an inheritance. Because of this:

  • We know that we can trust him to supply our needs.
  • We can expect him to act on behalf of his own.

God is good

Despite his awesome greatness, he willingly gives generously. He wants our best and is committed to our welfare. Because of this:

  • We worship him with joy and delight and not just out of duty.
  • We find deep satisfaction as we give him something of the praise and glory which are his due.

What we find in the psalms is that again and again we are invited to join in worshipping God, that is, in giving him something of the praise and adoration he deserves. (Psalm 33:1-3; 47:6-7; 75:1, 9; 95:1-2,6; 96:1-3; 98:1,4-6; 99:5, 9; 100:4; 147:1; 150:1-6).

We see that it is God’s people, Israel, who are doing the worshipping. God chose them to be his very own, and promised to protect them. (Psalm 33:12; 47:4; 105:7-15; 135:4). But because of the cross, all who trust in Jesus can now claim this privilege. Here and there we get a glimpse of all nations worshipping God. (Psalm 47:1; 68:29, 31-33; 113:1-4; 117:1; 148:7-12).

We also discover that Jerusalem and God’s Temple were the centre of Israel’s worship, and God’s people would come on pilgrimage to praise him there. (Psalm 24:3; 46:4-5; 48:1-3, 8-9, 11-14; 87:1-7; 122:1-9; 147:12-14). Now, because Christ is everywhere by his Spirit, our worship is not confined to one place or building (John 4:21-24), but we can capture something of their joy as we meet to worship God. It’s perhaps not surprising that in the New Testament Zion, the Holy City, becomes a picture of heaven (Hebrews 12:22-24; Revelation 21:1-27; 22:1-5).

As we travel through some of the praise and thanksgiving psalms together let’s ensure that we give the worship of God ‘our closet attention’. Here are two verses from the psalms to set the scene for us:

‘Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice’. (Psalm 105:3)
‘Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness’. (Psalm 29:2)

And as we do so we will be joining with the

‘…many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang: "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!"…The four living creatures said, "Amen," and the elders fell down and worshiped’. (Revelation 5:11–12,14)

With love in Jesus’ name,

Barry Robinson

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Sermons on the book of Psalms
With a focus on Worship

When the sermon is online the title will become a link to the audio.

  1. It is good to give thanks to the Lord (Psalm 92)
  2. Worship or else... (Psalm 95)
  3. Worshipping, witnessing, waiting (Psalm 96)
  4. The Importance of Praise (Psalm 150)

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