True Worship Requires Action

John 4:23 (GW)
23 Indeed, the time is coming, and it is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. The Father is looking for people like that to worship him.

“I’ll Praise My Maker While I’ve Breath”
Isaac Watts
UM Hymnal, No. 60
I’ll praise my Maker while I’ve breath;
And when my voice is lost in death,
Praise shall employ my nobler powers.
My days of praise shall ne’er be past,
While life, and thought, and being last,
Or immortality endures.

Isaac Watts

Isaac Watts is often called the “Father of English Hymnody.”
Watts (1674-1748) was not the first person to write hymns, but he was the first English-language poet who produced a significant number of hymns of high quality.

In the 18th century, hymns could be distinguished from metrical psalms. During the time of Watts, congregational song was dominated by strict metrical versions of the Psalms. Watts wanted to break the stranglehold of metrical psalms on congregational singing. To facilitate this he composed psalm paraphrases that were freer in their relationship to the original psalm and, in addition, “hymns of human composure”—freely composed hymns such as “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.”

“I’ll Praise My Maker” is Watts’ paraphrase of Psalm 146. It was originally entitled “Praise to God for his Goodness and Truth” and published in his famous Psalms of David, Imitated in the Language of the New Testament (1719).

Psalm 146:1-10 (NKJV)
1 Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul!
2 While I live I will praise the LORD; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
3 Do not put your trust in princes, Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help.
4 His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; In that very day his plans perish.
5 Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the LORD his God,
6 Who made heaven and earth, The sea, and all that is in them; Who keeps truth forever,
7 Who executes justice for the oppressed, Who gives food to the hungry. The LORD gives freedom to the prisoners.
8 The LORD opens the eyes of the blind; The LORD raises those who are bowed down; The LORD loves the righteous.
9 The LORD watches over the strangers; He relieves the fatherless and widow; But the way of the wicked He turns upside down.
10 The LORD shall reign forever– Your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the LORD!

Compare the first stanza of the hymn above to the first two verses of the psalm as found in the King James Version: “Praise ye the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul. While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.” (Psalm 146:1-2)

Watts is not confined to the psalm but poetically expands it.

Why should I make a man my trust?
Princes must die and turn to dust;
Vain is the help of flesh and blood:
Their breath departs,their pomp, and power,
And thoughts, all vanish in an hour,
Nor can they make their promise good.

Happy the man whose hopes rely
On Israel’s God: He made the sky,
And earth, and seas, with all their train:
His truth for ever stands secure;

He saves th’oppressed, He feeds the poor,
And none shall find His promise vain.

The Lord has eyes to give the blind;
The Lord supports the sinking mind;
He sends the labr’ing conscience peace;
He helps the stranger in distress,
The widow, and the fatherless,
And grants the pris’ner sweet release.

He loves His saints, He knows them well,
But turns the wicked down to hell;
Thy God, O Zion! ever reigns:
Let every tongue, let every age,
In this exalted work engage;
Praise Him in everlasting strains.

I’ll praise Him while He lends me breath,
And when my voice is lost in death,
Praise shall employ my nobler powers;
My days of praise shall ne’er be past,
While life, and thought, and being last,
Or immortality endures.

Sir Isaac Watts

John Wesley was about 21 years of age when he went to Oxford University. He came from a Christian home, and he was gifted with a keen mind and good looks. Yet in those days he was a bit snobbish and sarcastic. One night, however, something happened that set in motion a change in Wesley’s heart. While speaking with a porter, he discovered that the poor fellow had only one coat and lived in such impoverished conditions that he didn’t even have a bed. Yet he was an unusually happy person , filled with gratitude to God. Wesley, being immature, thoughtlessly joked about the man’s misfortunes. “And what else do you thank God for?” he said with a touch of sarcasm.  The porter smiled, and in the spirit of meekness replied with joy, “I thank Him that He has given me my life and being, a heart to love Him, and above all a constant desire to serve Him!” Deeply moved, Wesley recognized that this man knew the meaning of true thankfulness.

Many years later, in 1791, John Wesley lay on his deathbed at the age of 88. Those who gathered around him realized how well he had learned the lesson of praising God in every circumstance. Despite Wesley’s extreme weakness, he began singing the hymn, “I’ll Praise My Maker While I’ve Breath.”

Music and singing have always been a popular part of every worship service. The Bible also instructs us about our worship in Colossians 3:16: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

Praise flows from the heart of a believer who by faith responds to God’s love, power and mercy. True praise has its focus on the Lord and always honors Him.

Scripture views the worship and praise of God as a six fold activity:

  1. praising God for all that he is and all he has done;
  2. thanking him for his gifts and his goodness to us;
  3. asking him to meet our own and others’ needs;
  4. offering him our gifts, our service, and ourselves;
  5. learning of him from his word, read and preached,
  6. and obeying his voice; telling others of his worth, both by public confession and testimony to what he has done for us.

This then is worship in its largest sense:

  • petition as well as praise,
  • preaching as well as prayer,
  • hearing as well as speaking,
  • actions as well as words,
  • obeying as well as offering,
  • loving people as well as loving God.

You see you can not simply hear, or pray, or even just sing you have to actively engage in true worship which flows from the spirit and truth. You have to worship God in all aspects of life, which is the first commandment that thou must love the Lord thy God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. You need to love God above all things. That is to elevate his word and his ways over all others.

This is difficult especially when faced with hardships. But true worship of God requires it. Remember that the world and this world’s system is in direct opposition to God worship, therefore it is the responsibility of those who claim his name to be true worshipers of God. After all if you truly believe he is the Alpha and Omega than you know he started it all and he will end it all so go ahead and praise him in all things!

The citizens of Feldkirch, Austria, didn’t know what to do. Napoleon’s massive army was preparing to attack. Soldiers had been spotted on the heights above the little town, which was situated on the Austrian border. A council of citizens was hastily summoned to decide whether they should try to defend themselves or display the white flag of surrender. It happened to be Easter Sunday, and the people had gathered in the local church.

The pastor rose and said, “Friends, we have been counting on our own strength, and apparently that has failed. As this is the day of our Lord’s resurrection, let us just ring the bells, have our services as usual, and leave the matter in His hands. We know only our weakness, and not the power of God to defend us.”

The council accepted his plan and the church bells rang. The enemy, hearing the sudden peal, concluded that the Austrian army had arrived during the night to defend the town. Before the service ended, the enemy broke camp and left.

Worship precedes victory. We need to remember that praise gives us the proper perspective. As we praise and worship God, it puts other things into their rightful place in our thinking.

As the psalmist wrote and Isaac Watts waxed poetic:

Happy the man whose hopes rely
On Israel’s God: He made the sky,
And earth, and seas, with all their train:
His truth for ever stands secure;

So then I shall praise my maker while I have breathe and that praise shall proceed me even to my death.

And that is the way I see it. What say you?

This is a view from the nest. What say you?

But those who are waiting for the Lord will have new strength; they will get wings like eagles: running, they will not be tired, and walking, they will have no weariness. Isaiah 40:31 (BBE)

Along for the journey


This has been A View from the Nest. The statements, comments, or opinions expressed are solely that of the author and do not represent the views or opinions of the host of this site or any affiliates thereof. Any questions or comments should be directed to myself and not to the host or hosts of this site.

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