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God's people offer grateful worship together

June 8, 2023

Daily Scripture

Psalm 95:1-7

1 Come, let’s sing out loud to the LORD!
    Let’s raise a joyful shout to the rock of our salvation!
2 Let’s come before him with thanks!
    Let’s shout songs of joy to him!
3 The LORD is a great God,
    the great king over all other gods.
4 The earth’s depths are in his hands;
    the mountain heights belong to him;
5     the sea, which he made, is his
        along with the dry ground,
        which his own hands formed.
6 Come, let’s worship and bow down!
    Let’s kneel before the LORD, our maker!
7 He is our God,
    and we are the people of his pasture,
    the sheep in his hands.
If only you would listen to his voice right now!

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Israel understanding of the one God they worshiped developed over time. At times, they adapted language from the cultures around them, as in verse 3 of today’s reading. They tended to refer to all supernatural beings, the ones the New Testament and most Christians call “angels,” as “gods.” But God was the great person they worshiped and thanked together (“we are the people of his pasture”, the “great king over all other gods”).

  • One continual hazard of Israel’s sacrificial system was the temptation to see the sacrifices as a way to “buy off” God and win divine favor. Psalm 50:13-14 expressed the reality: God didn’t need people’s sacrifices, but valued them as an expression of gratitude for God’s gifts. We don’t offer animal sacrifices for worship, but at times we make other types of sacrifices to serve God. How have you learned to “come before him with thanks” in your times of worship?
  • Verse 7 echoes many other psalms (including the beloved Psalm 23) in calling us “sheep” for whom God cares as a shepherd. The image may have been clearer to pastoral Israelites than to modern city dwellers. Left to their own devices, sheep can do little to ensure their own survival. They depend utterly on their shepherd to keep them fed, watered and safe. How grateful are you that in this big, complex universe you are one of God’s sheep, watched over with caring and love?

Lord Jesus, thank you for promising to be the “good shepherd” who cares for me, who doesn’t run away in the face of trouble but is always there. I gratefully worship and praise you. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Janelle Gregory

Janelle Gregory

Janelle Gregory serves on the Resurrection staff as Human Resources Lead Director. Janelle finds that her heart is constantly wrestling with the truth that she needs a Savior, and the times when she's at her very best are when she's just too tired to put up a fight.

I was in the fifth grade when a family friend told me that the church I attended didn’t worship correctly. For one, we read a translation of the Bible other than the King James Version. Secondly, it was unacceptable to God that we use musical instruments in worship. This was the first time that I ever knew that there were different ways to worship God and that there might be a right and wrong way to worship, or at least a better or worse way.

I carried this right/wrong/better/worse view with me for a long time. I attended services where I thought that more people should be raising their hands and others where the hand-raising/clapping/dancing was a bit much for me. I heard prayers that seemed inauthentic in the way in which they were precisely scripted and others that felt chaotic where the person rambled on and on and on and on. I heard music that I thought could use more life, more passion, more drums! Then I heard music and thought, “They should lose the drummer, or at least find one who could stay in rhythm.” I critiqued every worship experience–too boring, too out there, too loud, too unorganized, too, too, too, too… It’s exhausting being a worship judge (and frankly the pay stinks).

I came to a point where I reflected on the most moving worship experiences I’ve experienced. I realized that they had very little to do with style and content, and more to do with purpose and outcome.

For me, at the very root of worship is the fact that I adore Jesus. I do. From a very tender place in my soul springs a strong current that longs to connect to my Savior. He’s where I find peace, wholeness, life, and joy. I’ve discovered that my ability to connect with Jesus is not bound by style, biblical translation, pastor, music, or anything else. When I put on my judge’s hat and get caught up in these things, I lose sight of why, and sometimes even who I worship. What a shame and wasted opportunity. When we put those distractions aside, we realize that worship can be found in multiple ways. Worship is simply adoring Jesus. No matter the style or setting, our truest moments of worship either spring up from or lead us to this adoration.

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Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.