As a little girl on Long Island, I spent many evenings stargazing. I would look up into the sky and imagine what it was like on the moon or in the vast unknown of outer space. In the quietude of the cosmos, the heavens declared such awesome beauty and endless tranquility. It wasn’t until I went on my first camping trip that I realized my starry skies were dim in comparison to the brilliance of the night skies viewed from a mountain’s peak. From my bedroom window I could see the heavens, but the view was hazy. I was happy at home until I saw a summit which made me realize how much I was missing. I wanted more. So to fulfill my desire, I began to search pictures of astronomy. As I viewed stars and galaxies I soon realized that even the best pictures were unsatisfying. I wondered, how can I understand this marvelous mystery when my best view is still so obscured?
From his mountain view as a shepherd, the psalmist David also proclaimed that the heavens reveal God’s glory.
In Psalms 19:1 (NIV) he writes, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech and night after night they reveal knowledge.”
In a world that celebrates sin, our ability to be members of the body of Christ and part of God’s Church is an absolute mystery (Eph. 5:32). Yet, just as my desire to see into space was unsatisfied, our revelation of God can only be fulfilled as we deepen our knowledge of Him (Eph. 1:17). This happens as we gaze on the life of Jesus Christ through the study of God’s Word and the infilling of the Holy Spirit that transforms us.
So worship is an intimate relationship with God in which we marvel at the mystery of His majesty. In worship, we respond obediently to the knowledge of God in our lives. In worship, we humbly accept God’s goodness, grace and love. In a lifestyle of worship we see our circumstances as a journey in which each mountain peak, winding path, low valley or rocky road is a lesson that shapes us for salvation. Worship, whether public or private, is our time to declare God’s glory. Worship is how we confess to our Creator that we value, love and cherish Him. Yet even the Apostle Paul declares that we will never fully understand the perfection and sovereignty of God here on this Earth.
In 1 Corinthians 13:12 (NKJV) Paul writes, “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.”
Then how do we worship? How do we show love to a Holy God when we are sinful and our best view of Him is still so dim? How can we obtain worship unity when each experience with God is unique? The solution to our problem is found in our praise! You see, praise provides the individuality that allows us to glorify God in our own unique way. We respond to God’s presence by offering Him prescribed forms of praise. Whether we pray in silence or out loud, testify in church or at work, sing hymns or choruses, play music with violins or guitars, stand or kneel, dance or clap, meditate in silence or shout for joy we can offer ourselves as a sacrifice of praise. When pleasing God is our focus and we praise Him in the way that He prescribes, we can see God’s salvation (Ps. 50:23). Then our assortment of praise is acceptable and unified in its singular purpose to offer God glory. We worship where praise practices are similar. This does not make one group wrong and the other right. This makes our praise diverse, just like God’s universe.
Like the heavens, we can declare that worshiping God is a wondrous mystery. Our praise provides a glimpse of glory, where God’s worship is eternal (Ps. 61:8; Rev. 5:14).