Let us see good worship as a mutual love-fest. And let us see the Regulative Principle of Worship, not as something harsh and restrictive, but as something positive and enjoyable. God wants to enjoy us. God wants us to enjoy him. This mutual pleasuring of one another is what we are created to do; it is why we gather on the Lord’s Day.
Good worship pleases the Lord.
His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him … (Psalm 147:10-11)
The Lord takes pleasure in his people … (Psalm 149:4)
Consider this truth, the Lord who needs nothing and is perfectly satisfied in his Trinitarian communion, creates men and women to enjoy. They are made in his image. Redeemed individuals are his workmanship. His children are his delight. He dances over them for they are the apple of his eye. Therefore, in all that we do as Christians, whether we eat or drink or whatever we do, it is our duty and honor to bring him joy, and this is especially true as we assemble for corporate worship in his house. As his holy family, we ought to focus on our holy God and bring our Sovereign Lord pleasure by worshiping him according to his preferences. If we will read and keep his Word, we will be instructed in how we can bring even more delight to our God. Regulated worship is the means by which God is pleasured most.
However, good worship that pleases God, is also pleasing to the godly. The same psalms that focus man upon God’s pleasure describe how pleasurable God is to man. It seems the worshiper does not have to make a choice between pleasuring God and finding pleasure. Mutual pleasure is the result of those who worship best:
Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant … (147:1)
Let Israel be glad in his Maker; let the children of Zion rejoice in their King! Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre! (149:2-3)
Therefore, let us see good worship as a mutual love-fest. And let us see the Regulative Principle of Worship, not as something harsh and restrictive, but as something positive and enjoyable. God wants to enjoy us. God wants us to enjoy him. This mutual pleasuring of one another is what we are created to do; it is why we gather on the Lord’s Day. Good worship should be regulated. It should be reverent. It should be rightly focused first and foremost upon God. And then it should be filled with singing, dancing, clapping, blowing, and clashing. The chief end of man is to GLORIFY God and ENJOY God forever, and this includes that which transpires this coming Sunday morning. So let’s have a fantastic time of worship as we mutually please the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and the redeemed priesthood.
Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting … Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre! … Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion! … Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights! Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his hosts! Praise him, sun and moon, praise him … Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth! Young men and maidens together, old men and children! Let them praise the name of the Lord … Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise in the assembly of the godly! Let Israel be glad in his Maker; let the children of Zion rejoice in their King! Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre! … Let the godly exult in glory; let them sing for joy on their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their throats… This is honor for all his godly ones. Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! (Psalm 147-150)
Joseph A. Franks IV is a minister in the Presbyterian Church in America and is Pastor of Palmetto Hills Presbyterian Church in Simpsonville, South Carolina. This article first appeared on his blog, and is used with permission.