How Should Christians Worship God?

In Blogs, Devotional by Jesse King2 Comments


David’s love for the Lord shines through so many biblical accounts, which inspires students of Scripture to grow their own love for Him. David’s most public celebration of God’s goodness provides a lesson in gratitude and worship.

The Ark: God’s Presence With Israel

After God freed the Israelites from Egyptian captivity, He instructed them to make a box of acacia wood to house the stone tablets that contained the Ten Commandments He gave Moses on Mount Sinai. The box, called the Ark of the Covenant, or the Ark of the Testimony, reminded the Israelites of their covenant with God, who promised to bless them and consider them “a special treasure to [Him] above all people” if they obeyed Him (Exodus 19:5).

The Ark was kept in the holy of holies (inner chamber) in the Tabernacle, where the Israelites worshiped God while wandering in the wilderness. It was “overlaid on all sides with gold” and ultimately contained the “golden pot that had the manna [with which God miraculously fed the Israelites in the wilderness], Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant” (Hebrews 9:4). 

After the Israelites carried the Ark in the wilderness for 40 years, Moses’ successor, Joshua, carried it into Canaan, as God’s Chosen People began to inhabit the land God promised them. It remained there during Joshua’s leadership and the period of the judges until the Philistines defeated the Israelites in battle and captured the Ark. The priest Eli’s daughter-in-law noted the severity of this moment, saying, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured” (1 Samuel 4:22).

The Philistines thought they acquired a weapon or good-luck charm by possessing the Ark. Instead, God struck them with tumors and death and caused their false god, Dagon, to fall before the Ark and shatter into pieces (5:4, 9, 12). After seven months, the terrified Philistines sent it back to Israel, where it resided in Kirjath Jearim for 20 years (7:2).

How Did David Worship?

After David had been king in Hebron for seven years, he reigned in Jerusalem. He intended to centralize Israel’s worship there, as he made plans for the Temple where Israel would worship. David felt compelled to bring the Ark to Jerusalem. He knew it represented God’s presence with His people; so just as the wandering Israelites stationed the Ark in the Tabernacle, he would station the Ark in the Temple.

He came before God meekly, not looking only to gain something but willingly laboring and sacrificing for Him.

Upon arriving with the Ark in Jerusalem, David worshiped God with unrestrained joy in several ways. 

1. His worship was reverent. He sacrificed oxen and fatted sheep and presented burnt and peace offerings to God (2 Samuel 6:13, 18). He came before God meekly, not looking only to gain something but willingly laboring and sacrificing for Him.

2. His worship was musical. He brought the Ark “with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet” (v. 15). David was a talented musician. As a young man, he had been hired by his predecessor, King Saul, to play the lyre. His music soothed the king when evil spirits tormented him. David used his skill to praise the Lord.

3. His worship was genuine. He “danced before the Lᴏʀᴅ with all his might” while wearing a linen ephod, “leaping and whirling” (vv. 14, 16). David had no regard for his personal reputation. His wife Michal, Saul’s daughter, found his dancing unbecoming, but David’s worship was purely motivated and pleasing to the Lord. Whether it was by David’s choice or God’s will or both, Michal never bore children as a direct result of her condemnation of David’s authentic worship (v. 23).

How Should We Worship?

Our worship often misses the mark of David’s example. The king was overjoyed that the Ark, the representation of God’s presence, was returning to His people’s house of worship. Today, Christians have God’s presence within them via the Holy Spirit (John 14:16–17; 1 Corinthians 6:19), yet we often fail to worship with the zeal our Lord deserves in light of this fact. We should strive to worship like David did. 

We should worship reverently—bringing humble hearts to God. While many Christians think of worship as the short time during a Sunday morning church service when they sing together as a congregation, true worship encompasses all the actions of our hearts directed toward God’s glory. Whether we confess our sins, acknowledge God’s wonderful attributes in praise, sing music to Him, thank Him for who He is and what He has done, or serve Him tangibly, we are presenting ourselves to a holy, perfect God who deserves our greatest respect and adoration.

We should worship musically. God loves music! Divinely inspired Scripture is filled with songs not only in the books of Psalms and Song of Solomon but in the accounts of many God-fearing heroes of the faith (Exodus 15; Judges 5; Luke 1; Acts 16:25). We are called to make a joyful noise to Him and come into His presence with singing (Psalm 100:1–2). Regardless of how much musical talent the Lord has given us, we should seek to praise Him in song as patterned in His Word.

We should worship genuinely. In church, many Christians contain their emotions so much that they lose the joy of praising God, particularly with song. If there’s any time to show excitement, it’s when we’re singing His praises! David understood this well. When Michal rebuked him, he reminded her of God’s goodness, telling her, “I will play music before the Lord. And I will be even more undignified than this, and will be humble in my own sight” (2 Samuel 6:21–22).

More important than the way you express your worship is your sincere passion to proclaim and celebrate God’s goodness.

If your genuine form of worship is expressive, don’t feel pressured to withhold your excitement. On the other hand, if your genuine form of worship is undemonstrative, don’t feel pressured to make a scene to feel that your worship is acceptable. More important than the way you express your worship is your sincere passion to proclaim and celebrate God’s goodness. David exemplified what the apostle Paul preached: “Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). We should do the same.

When David returned the Ark to Jerusalem 3,000 years ago, he modeled God-glorifying worship for Christians even today. May our worship of our wonderful Savior be reverent, musical, and genuine, drawing us closer to the One who loves us more than we’ll ever understand.

About the Author
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Jesse King

Jesse is the managing editor of Israel My Glory magazine and a staff writer for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry.

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