Sabbath School Lesson for March 16-22, 2024

Overview of Lesson 12, Worship That Never Ends

Memory Text: “I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.” Psalm 104:33 NKJV

People often wonder how much time should be spent worshiping God. But the truth is, our worship never ends. From the time we decide to join a worshiping community (also called “the assembly of the upright” in Psalm 111:1, and the “great assembly” in Psalms 22:22, 25 and 35:18) we will enjoy a fruitful relationship with God. Throughout eternity, the blessings of worship will flow back and forth between God and His people.

Ideal worship has two components that feed off each other. Corporate worship is important, but so is individual praise and devotion to God. We need both, and so does God. Our potential to enhance the spreading of the gospel occurs when we combine a daily, personal communion with God and a communal worship experience of praise to Him and service to others.

When this happens, our worship permeates every part of our lives, both here on earth and in the future heavenly Kingdom.

The kind of worship God expects from us contains these features…

  • Sunday: Lift Up Your Hands in the Sanctuary (Ps. 134)–what it means to “bless” God
  • Monday: Sing to the Lord a New Song–what is the meaning of a “new song”
  • Tuesday: Lord, Who May Abide in Your Tabernacle? (Ps. 15)–how we must live, in order to be in the sanctuary
  • Wednesday: Declare His Glory Among the Nations (Ps. 96)–how can we best share God’s message of salvation
  • Thursday: When God Does Not Delight in Sacrifices–when is our service to God offensive to Him

Sunday: Lift Up Your Hands in the Sanctuary (Ps. 134)

Psalm 117 is the shortest chapter in the Bible, just two verses that express praise to the Lord. Psalm 134 is short as well, just three verses, but there are some things worth noticing here in the praise it encourages. Psalm 134 includes lifting up our hands to praise Him (also found in Psalm 63:3, 4).

We can easily feel impressed to literally lift up our arms and hands heavenward as we worship God, and this action should remind us to worship God with everything we do with our hands. We should be offering our service to Him in tangible ways, even outside the confines of the church setting. Such a symbolic gesture surely signifies that God not only has our heart, but our total being–every part of us. All our thoughts and actions belong to Him. God is blessed mightily by sincere, enthusiastic praise, when it comes from an upright follower of His word.

Psalm 134 contains a reminder that the servants of God, those who are in His house night and day, must also exemplify ardent worship that blesses God’s heart and fuels the praise that others pour out to Him. Pastors, teachers, or any servant involved in the organized operation of the church, is called to render heartfelt praise to their Master.

Bible Verses:

  • Psalm 134

How should we approach God in the worship service?

  • Psalm 36:1 and 18:1, 2

What should be our state of mind toward God as we enter into worship?

Monday: Sing to the Lord a New Song

Many times in the Psalms, we discover that our praise should include a “new song” (Psalm 33:3, 40:3, 96:1, 98:1, 144:9, and 149:1). This special song is called “new” most likely because it comes from a sense of renewed joy and devotion after contemplating God’s miraculous works and deliverance on behalf of His followers.

Isaiah 42:10-12 also mentions a “new song”, and Revelation 14:3 informs us that it will be sung by the redeemed. These are God’s chosen ones, numbered symbolically as 144,000, a multiple of 12, who are the “firstfruits” to God when we finally reach Mount Zion, the home of our Lord in heaven (Revelation 14:4). The lyrics of this new song are given in Revelation 5:9, 10, 11. Other lyrics of new songs are in Revelation 4:8, 11. The redeemed, who are His firstfruits, have survived the trauma of those last days and will obviously have exuberant praise for their Redeemer.

True praise will always be fresh and dynamic, however, expressing our loving appreciation for all He has done in our daily lives. It will be a new song for our heavenly Father, indicating our ongoing, living relationship with Him.

Bible Verses:

  • Psalms 33:3, 40:3, 96:1, 98:1, 144:9, and 149:1

Why is it important to sing a new song, and just what makes it “new”?

  • Isaiah 42:10-12

Why is it important to sing our new song over such a wide area of the world?

  • Revelation 5:9 and 14:3

How will this new song be different from the ones before it?

Tuesday: Lord, Who May Abide in Your Temple? (Ps. 15)

Psalm 15, a psalm of David, is also a relatively short psalm, but one that is vital to knowing the kind of character God admonishes us to have, especially when we enter His holy temple, or any church dwelling. We know that God alone is perfect, and His Son was the only Person who was totally blameless and without sin while here on earth. But, we must do all we can to reach His high standard of conduct found in the Ten Commandments.

Our obligation to Him includes being honest, pure, and kind to others, avoiding all those things that draw us away from God. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit is available to help us achieve these lofty goals. Some struggle to do so more than others, but all must try with all their heart to trust God, the One who knows us better than we know ourselves.

Psalm 15 tells us clearly that only those who walk uprightly and do those things that are pleasing to God can abide in His presence (Psalm 15:1, 2). Our continued fellowship with God depends on our willingness to follow Him without reservation, no matter the cost.

Bible Verses:

  • Psalm 15

What kind of person must we be, if we want to be with God?

  • Psalm 24:3-6 and 101:1-3

In what other ways can we be holy before God?

How can we make better choices, and why must that be our desire?

Wednesday: Declare His Glory Among the Nations (Ps. 96)

In Psalm 96, we are given a good description of what worship should look like. Ideally, it should include singing, praising, giving, sharing, and learning. It comes from a humble recognition of who God is. He is our Creator, Redeemer, and Judge.

Therefore, we should worship God with joy, confidence, and respect. We rejoice with eager anticipation of His coming judgments. It is our duty to show all the nations the mighty God we serve and the hope we have of a forever future with Him.

The reference in Psalm 96 of a coming Judge for the earth (Psalm 96:13) reminds us of the three angels’ messages for the end times, found in Revelation 14:6-12. We should especially be busy sharing the everlasting gospel during these critical final days and years! People need to know what kind of salvation God has planned for us.

Bible Verses:

  • Psalm 96:1-3, 7, 9-10 and Revelation 14:6-7

What makes the judgment good news?

Why is there such a push for evangelism in the last days?

How are you sharing the good news of judgment to all the nations?

Thursday: When God Does Not Delight in Sacrifices

There were times when God was not satisfied with the sacrifices of burnt offerings that Israel offered to God. David alluded to this in his psalm of repentance (Psalm 51:16, 17). When our worship becomes nothing but empty, vain rituals, and not the outpouring of a broken, contrite heart, God must surely be saddened by our lack of heartfelt repentance and lackluster praise.

Our continued sinful actions are often an indication that our heart is not right with God. We must continually examine our hearts and allow our worship to be an expression of a humble, repentant sinner, in need of God’s forgiveness. This is what it means to worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:23, 24). Our actions matter.

Jesus quoted Isaiah 29:13, declaring that their hearts were far from God, even when their lips were honoring Him (Matthew 15:7-9). He rightly called them hypocrites for such vain worship.

Bible Verses:

  • Psalm 51:16, 17, John 4:23, 24, and Matthew 15:7-9

How do these verses help us understand when God is not satisfied with our worship?

Friday: Final Thoughts

Psalms is a book of worship that should be used for worship. Its last five songs are especially devoted to adoration of God, our Creator and Redeemer. When our worship service is creatively varied and inclusive, it is a tool of evangelism that helps us grow, not just in numbers, but in spirituality.

We must not forget to enter God’s house of worship for the purpose of being a blessing to others, rather than just to get a blessing for ourselves. Ellen White reminds us to find pleasure in worshiping God. She wrote in Steps to Christ, p. 103:

“His service should not be looked upon as a heart-saddening, distressing exercise. It should be a pleasure to worship the Lord and to take part in His work.”

This might be applied to both our private and corporate worship experiences.

Here are some songs that express pleasure in worshiping God…

  • “Don’t Forget the Sabbath”, #388
  • “Joy By and By”, #430
  • “Praise to the Lord”, #1

Next Week: Wait on the Lord

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