Theme: True Worship
In this week’s lessons, we see the comprehensive scope of worship—that all creation, both in heaven and on earth, is to praise the LORD.
Scripture: Psalm 148:1-14
Here is where we need to see ourselves in the picture, if we have come to know God in Jesus Christ. For this is the importance of Israel, that it was through this people, providentially preserved by God, that the divine drama of redemption was unfolded. It was through Israel that the Messiah Savior came. Therefore, it is in the company of those who believe on that Savior that what was begun in the past and is referred to by the psalmist here was brought to fulfillment. It is through the church and her message that God may be seen and worshiped now.
That is true for each of the orders of creation mentioned in the psalm: the angels, the natural creation, and human beings.
1. The angels. Paul writes about the church in Ephesians, saying of God, “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3:10, 11). The angels are worshiping God at this moment. That is their chief function. They are doing it perfectly and without sin. But the angels will have more and more to worship God for as they see his wisdom worked out in the lives of Christian people.
2. The natural creation. In Romans 8 Paul describes the creation as being in bondage as a result of human sin and God’s judgment on creation for man’s transgression. But, he says, “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God” (vv. 19-21). He seems to be saying that, like human beings, the creation itself will one day experience something like a resurrection and will then join in the swelling chorus of God’s praise. It will share in our redemption.
3. The kings, princes and people of this world. And what about this world’s rulers and their subjects? At the present moment they are taking their stand against the LORD and against his Anointed One. “Let us break their chains,” they say, “and throw off their fetters” (Ps. 2:2, 3). But this does not disturb God. God laughs at them, knowing that he has appointed a day when Jesus will rule even these rebellious kings “with an iron scepter” (v. 9), and that he has established a time when every knee will bow “in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:10, 11).
Are you among those who have confessed that “Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father”? If not, this is the time to leave those who will not praise God and join the company of those who rejoice in Christ’s death and resurrection and begin to serve him. These are the people who are “close to [God’s] heart” (v. 14). They look forward to the day when “every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them,” will sing, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” (Rev. 5:13).
What is the restoration of the strength of Israel?
How does the world see who God is?
To what is creation in bondage? According to Paul, how does bondage end?
Reflection: Do you praise God and serve him with your whole heart? Are there any areas in your life that you need to give over to him?
Prayer: Pray for the people of this world who stand against the Lord that they will repent of their sin and trust in Christ for their salvation.
Key Point: It is through the church and her message that God may be seen and worshiped now.
For Further Study: In heaven our worship will be perfect. Download for free and listen to James Boice’s message, “Heaven.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)