Repentance: A Neglected Part of our Worship


For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight. . .  Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:3-4;10

This will be the first in a series of devotionals dealing with the various "positions" or attitudes that the true worshiper must take in order for our worship to God to be effective. The first position we'll deal with is repentance. When we come before God in worship, one of the things we sometimes forget to do is repent. In our reference scripture David is confessing and acknowledging before God his sin of adultery, and that of having the husband of his partner in adultery killed. Not only is David acknowledging what he's done, but he says, "my sin is ever before me." David knew what he had done and he wasn't blaming anyone else for it.

When we come before God in worship (not "coming to church", but "worship"; the two are very different) we must see to it that we bring a clean heart before Him. The Psalmist said only those who have "clean hands and a pure heart" may stand in his holy place (Psalm 24:3-4). Just about anybody can praise God, but not everyone can worship Him. Worship is another matter entirely because it requires total surrender on our part. It requires total focus on God and His worth, majesty, and power. Worship requires a totally connected heart. Worship requires an attachment to God, not just an attraction to Him. Churches are filled every Sunday with people who are attracted to Jesus, but never become attached to Him through salvation and various available means of spiritual growth. The true worshiper not only understands what it means to worship God in spirit and in truth, but also understands that we cannot come to God any kind of way. True worship of God requires from us a pure heart, and an humble spirit. When we come before a holy God in worship, He is not interested in our accomplishments, our status in the community, or how much money we put in the offering plate. He wants to know we are coming clean before Him, confessing our sins and choosing to live life His way. God just wants us to get real with Him.

Of all the things we lay before God in worship, let us remember to make repentance one of them.

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Comment by Stevo on August 26, 2011 at 12:20pm
I like what you say about confessing before worshiping. Can you send a reference about praising vs. worshiping. I've never seen this distinction.
Comment by Donna R. Patrick on August 26, 2011 at 4:25pm
Good morning Stevo.  If you check out Vivien Hibbert's book, Prophetic Worship, she makes a distinction there between praise and worship.  She also makes a very clear distinction between traditional worship and prophetic worship.  Also, Bob Sorge, in his book, Exploring Worship, there may be references to the distinctions.  I don't know whether you are familiar with either of them, but both are powerful, anointed carriers of the Word concerning praise and worship.  If you're not already familiar with their work, check them out; you'll be blessed.
Comment by Stevo on August 26, 2011 at 8:17pm
Sorry I wasn't clear. Was this a scriptural idea or a practical one? I was wondering if there are scriptures to help describe the difference. Thanks.
Comment by Donna R. Patrick on August 29, 2011 at 4:53pm
Good morning, Stevo.  More of a practical idea.  I have not come across a particular scripture that describes the differences.  Scripture is very clear on the who, where, when, what, why, and how of praise.  But what we are given in scripture on worship is "in spirit and in truth," Isaiah's worship experience in Isaiah Chapter 6, bowing in the book of Revelation, and other various worship experiences throughout scripture. Certainly not limited to these instances I've named.
Comment by Stevo on August 30, 2011 at 2:58am
I tend to think that the two are often interchangeable, but if I have to see a distinction, worship seems more comprehensive and life-encompassing while praise seems to be more narrow, sort of an "in-the-moment" activity.
Comment by Stevo on August 30, 2011 at 4:21am

But then, I'm still trying to figure out what the Bible says about the two. Like Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs. How do you nail that down?

Comment by Donna R. Patrick on August 30, 2011 at 4:25pm

Hi, Stevo.  I agree that the two are interchangeable.  Praise and worship can manifest themselves in similar ways.  Just as Psalms says, Oh come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker (Ps. 95:6), Revelation chapters 4 and 5 mention falling down in worship as well.  I believe bowing is one of the many forms God has given us to praise Him in thanksgiving, but we also bow in worship when we acknowledge His supreme majesty. 

In response to your last post above, yes the Word speaks directly of making melody in our hearts to the Lord by psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.  You will also find references to praise among the minor prophets, in Revelation, and even in Exodus.  When God brought the Hebrew children across the Red Sea, and saw Pharoah's entire army drowned when they made the dreaded mistake of trying to follow them, Miriam got her tambourine out and began to sing a song of praise to God for His deliverance. 

I disagree that praise in more of an "in the moment" activity - on the contrary.  Every believers life should be lived in praise to God.  David said in Psalm 34:1, "I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth."  That's not "in the moment" at all.  He says "at all times."  That means when things are going well, and when things are not going well.  The audience in Heaven is always praising and worshiping God.  The text says, "they cease not day and night" to give God praise.  So if the Heavenly audience can live in praise, why can't we?  But it doesn't mean that when we live a life of praise to God, that everything will be alright all the time; far from it.  The Word says we will have our problems in this life, but we serve a God who is more than able.

 

Comment by Stevo on August 30, 2011 at 10:20pm

Well, what I meant is that praise seems to describe  a specific action while worship seems to mean something more all-encompassing. Again, that's just from our typical usage in English. This time, I'm going to look it all up. 

 

And when you talk about the heavenly audience praising God continually, I think that's a specific reference to the four living creatures and the 24 elders? That seems to be a specific subset of the millions of other creatures in Revelation. I'm not sure we're actually created to physically praise Him all the time, but I think our lives are meant to be lives of worship and honor to Him at all times. 

Comment by Donna R. Patrick on August 30, 2011 at 10:58pm

Agreed, however, how do you explain David's message in Psalm 34:1?  He says "I will bless the Lord at all times. . ."  David's praise was physical; it was tangible and very clearly seen in II Sam. 6:14. It says he danced before the Lord, but dance is a form of praise according to scripture (Ps. 149, 150).     If you read Revelation chapter 7 it talks about all nations, tribes, peoples and tongues standing before the throne in Heaven crying out praises to God.  When you say "physically praise him all the time," no, we may not be walking around shouting praise to God ALL the time, but there can be a praise in our hearts, and we can have an attitude of praise to God all the time.  I think that is the point David is trying to make.  Living a lifestyle of praise and worship to God means we are always mindful of His greatness, His majesty, and His wonderful love and care for us, in spite of ourselves.  

Praise and worship, both, are all-encompassing.  Sometimes we confuse the "action" with the "attitude."  There is a difference.  Neither praise nor worship are about what we "do."  They are both matters of the heart.  And no matter what we "do" if our hearts are not engaged with God when we do what we do, something is wrong.

Comment by Stevo on August 31, 2011 at 4:15am
I do think that's the point David is making.

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