Who’s The Audience?
February 20, 2011
Read: Psalm 50:7-15
Whoever offers praise glorifies Me. —Psalm 50:23
I used to view the worship service in church as a time for entertainment. Speaking of folks like me, Sören Kierkegaard said that we tend to think of church as a kind of theater: We sit in the audience, attentively watching the actors onstage. If sufficiently entertained, we show our gratitude with applause. Church, though, should be the opposite of the theater. God is the audience for our worship.
What matters most takes place within the hearts of the congregation—not onstage. We should leave a worship service asking ourselves not “What did I get out of it?” but rather “Was God pleased with what happened?”
God took pains to specify details of animal sacrifice for the ancient Israelites in their worship. Yet He said that He didn’t need their animals: “I will not take a bull from your house, nor goats out of your folds. For every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills” (Ps. 50:9-10). What He wanted was their praise and obedience (v.23).
By focusing on the externals of worship, we too miss the point: The Lord is interested in a sacrifice of the heart, an internal attitude of submission and thanksgiving. The goal of worship is nothing less than to meet and please our God.
Lord, may our worship and our praise,
From hearts surrendered to Your ways,
Be worthy offerings of love
For all Your blessings from above. —Sper
At the heart of worship is worship from the heart.