Emulating the Model of Worship

from Mar 06, 2010 Category: R.C. Sproul

God instituted the model of worship found in the Old Testament.

The worship of Israel was formal and liturgical. Solemn rites were central to the experience. The setting of temple worship was anything but casual. The meeting place had an ambiance of the solemn and the holy. The ritual was designed for drama. The literature and music were high and majestic. God inspired the content of songs (the Psalms). The finest craftsmen, who were filled by the Holy Spirit, fashioned the articles of art. God designed the vestments of the priests “for glory and for beauty” (Ex. 28:2).

Everything in Israelite worship, from the music to the building to the liturgy, focused attention on the majesty of God. God, in His holiness and in His redemptive work, was the content of the form. It was solemn, because to enter the presence of God is a solemn matter.

But even God-ordained patterns of worship can be corrupted. Liturgy can degenerate into liturgicalism, or even worse, sacerdotalism, by which the rites and sacraments themselves are seen as the instruments of salvation. The forms of worship can devolve into formalism and the externals into externalism. 

Coram Deo: In your devotional time today, try some of the forms of praise and worship described in Psalm 150. 

John 4:22–23: “You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.”

Revelation 22:9: “Worship God.”

Psalm 99:5: “Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at His footstool; for He is holy.”