Psalm 119 is a beast–it is 176 verses long and divided into 22 sections (one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet). So I’m going to divide it up, and write about my observations from each section, and see how each can help me continue to walk the road less traveled. Today, the “Shin” section:
I have a pet peeve about church services. It drives me crazy, and has done so for years. It’s perpetuated by musically inclined Christians and Christian musician who play in church bands.
The equating of music with worship.
I don’t disagree that music is an avenue of worship. It’s a powerful avenue of worship. My deal is that it drives me insane when the music section of a church service is designated as the “worship time”, separate from everything else that goes on. It creates a false compartmentalization of life. Worship only happens on Sundays, and only when music is involved. Even among those who acknowledge that all of life is worship, there are some that see the music on Sundays as a “higher” form of worship, that somehow it’s more “spiritual.”
Such is not the case. The Bible presents all of life as worship. Psalm 119:164 acknowledges this:
Seven times a day I praise You, because of Your righteous ordinances.
The author of Psalm 119 is in a constant state of worship because of the laws of God. He didn’t reserve his praise of God for one hour a week. It was constant.
Having said that, think about these questions:
- When was the last time you praised God because of His value for human life?
- When did you last praise God because He values the poor?
- When did you last thank God because He values the immigrants in the land?
- When was the last time you praise God because He values sexual purity?
All of these, plus many others, comprise the “righteous ordinances” of God. Some of the laws in the Old Testament are quite strange to us, but overall they show us the holiness, justice, and mercy of God. We should praise and worship Him because of those things.
Now, if someone pens a “worship song” about putting down your ox if he gores your neighbor, and uses it in a church service, I’ll be impressed…