My lips shall utter praise,
For You teach me Your statutes. (
The psalmist makes the connection between his inspiration for the worship of God and his instruction in the Word of God. They are inseparable. This is why the pulpit stands at the center of our place of worship. In the center of the pulpit, a Bible is placed, and the preacher centers himself behind it. This is because the Word of God is central to our worship. The preaching of God’s Word is at the very heart of all we believe and directs how we behave. We do not gather to entertain the saints, but to expound the Scriptures. We are not in the business of providing a show, but proclaiming a Savior. There are three reasons suggested in these closing verses of
The Word is central in our worship because it has PERPETUAL RELEVANCE (v.89-112). We do not have to make the Word of God relevant; it is relevant! It is as timeless as God is. God has not changed—He has the same character. Man has not changed—he has the same nature. God’s expectation and provision have not changed. Thus, the Scripture is relevant to every time, every culture, and every situation. “Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven.” (v.89).
The Word of God is central in our worship, also, because it brings POWERFUL RESULTS (v.113-136). Spurgeon said that God’s Word did not have to be defended. You don’t have to defend a lion, you just let it loose! There is power in the Word—with power God spoke and creation came into existence. There is still power in the Word! Rather than the church having to defend the Word of God because of its weakness, we find that the Word of God defends us because of its power! “You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word.” (v.114). I recognize there is a place for apologetics that can be helpful to those seeking faith or needing a shoring up of their faith, but “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (
Another reason that the Word of God is central in our worship is it demands PERSONAL RESPONSE (v.137-176). We will fall upon the Rock of Truth and experience brokenness in repentance or the Rock of Truth will fall upon us and crush us in judgment. Jesus said that the words which He has spoken will judge us at the last day (
John 12:48). Thus, the exposition of the Word as its
meaning is unfolded, leads to the application of the Word in its message for
the hearer, and culminates in a decision—to submit to the truth or reject it. Neutrality is not an option. The sermon is not for mere information as in
a lecture, or even inspiration as in a speech, but is for transformation since
it is a sermon. God is not making
suggestions; He is issuing commands. “LORD, I hope for
Your salvation, And I do Your commandments.”
We hear God’s Word—perpetually relevant to us. We can expect that it will bring powerful results. The critical matter is our personal response to it, as we hear it, study it, and apply it. Let every pastor know that he is accountable for proclaiming it clearly and courageously. We must feed the sheep or fail in our service. We will answer to God.