Reflections on Psalm 33 - part 2
As an initial reflection on Psalm 33, we noticed how the ‘heart of worship’ has more to do with the object of our worship than the worshipper. However, the Psalm also helps us consider what it would look like if the worshipper were engulfed in such a reasonable act of praise that their entire being was captivated in a heart response to God.
Once again, what a grace, that we are afforded the use of beautiful instruments to enjoy our worship of God. The Psalm speaks of instruments of praise that include the use of both voice and musical instrument. As to the manner of praise, the Psalmist identifies the need for a “new song” which essentially means freshness in praise as opposed to a new lyric. We must be clear that this has more to do with understanding in praise, intentional intelligible worship, rather than modernity. The worshipper needs to utilise their gifts or abilities as well as their daily renewed minds to praise with passion and exuberance. These components together suggest that worship involves the worshippers whole being, mind, heart and abilities. By extension, worshipping with one’s whole being anticipates what the Psalm further proves, that God is God and worthy of absolute praise.
This may pose to be rather difficult. How do we command our entire being to worship God? Perhaps you have experienced this sense of inauthenticity in praise. You might command your mind to concentrate on the Lord and who he is, but how are we to discipline our hearts to not wander? How do we train our souls to rejoice in all sincerity when we are at our lowest? Let us be clear, the Psalmist is not suggesting that we have some overwhelming emotional display, nor is he telling us to ‘fake’ it.
The Psalm is bracketed so neatly, first showing us what the external display might look like…
“Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright. Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings! Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts” (Psm.33:1-3).
But it then makes crystal clear what the internal state of heart looks like...
“Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you” (Psm.33:20-22).
We may have little control over elements of our being, but what can we do? What is actually expected of our hearts in worship? We are able to train our souls to ‘wait for the Lord’ because the LORD ‘is our help and our shield.’ We can discipline our hearts to ‘trust in his holy name’ giving us a sense of gladness. And we can work daily at placing our hope in him.
What does God want from a worshipper? How can we worship authentically with a true heart of worship. It seems all God expects from us is our faith, actively placed in him. Worship as a faith response directed toward God based on who he is and what He has done. This is the ‘heart of worship’.
Ps. Deon Lombard
Being a servant of Jesus makes it a delight to reflect and write about all that God has revealed about Himself in His Word.