“David also commanded the chiefs of the Levites to appoint their brothers as the singers who should play loudly on musical instruments, on harps and lyres and cymbals, to raise sounds of joy.”
– 1 Chronicles 15.16
The Old Testament also presents worship as way that joyfulness is not only expressed, but a way we get joy. David commanded that singers and musicians be placed among the people of Israel during their time of worship to “raise sounds of joy”. This, by the way, is the reason that there would be instruments in the tabernacle and the temple, the Lord giving the commandment for such things through David.
In so many wonderful ways God made us in his image. Not only do we have an incredible capacity to help others, showing compassion to them, but we also have the amazing capacity to relate with one another; not only to people, but also to God! God has made us relational beings. One of the ways that we show our relationship with God, one of the ways that we grow closer to him is through offering praise and worship to him.
Worship is not something that God needs. God would still be God even if no one ever worshiped him. His identity is not defined or confined to the number or worshipers or the fervency of his followers. Worship is something that we need. We need to draw close to God; we need to connect with our creator in a special way that satisfies the relational need he placed within us. Notice how quickly we are to being worshiping other things when we remove the proper worship for God from our lives. People worship sports teams – not just follow them, but worship them. There have been studies that show that the hormonal levels of avid sports fans fluctuate based on how well or poorly “their team” performs. This is an emotional, relational connection that people are placing on something that has little, if any significance, today and absolutely no significance in eternity. God will not have a special section for all the Chicago Bears fans in heaven (because everyone knows God is an Aggie). Again, it shouldn’t surprise us at how little real joyfulness is in the world when people are replacing God-centered relationships with things that don’t really matter.
There’s nothing wrong with sports in general, but it’s certainly not a good thing to worship a sports team. It’s not good to replace God with anything. We need to be those people who are so focused on serving, loving and worshiping God with hearts full of joy that there isn’t room for any false gods. Not even pigskin ones.
Father, please help us to worship you with joy. Help us to make joyful noises with our voices and with our spirits. Help us to stay so focused on you that everything else seems unimportant. Help us to help each other serve you with joy. Amen.