Praise and Worship – Psalm 34:1
“I will bless Yahweh at all times; His praise shall always be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1b)
Praise and worship has taken on new meaning for the church today. It’s not simple any more and at times not pure, but contingent upon the latest lights and ambience. I love music done well, and all styles, but don’t require “the show” in order to worship. His presence in the life of the worshipper dresses any stage properly. I’ve been a praise and worship leader and know the challenge to blend styles to keep the congregants singing especially when they don’t like the particular song. It’s work, but not supposed to be. I have been brought to my knees worshipping in a large auditorium with the best praise and worship band, lights, staging, and sound equipment there is because of the anointing. I have also felt His presence in a small gathering singing a cappella with at least one worshipper in a different key. Scripture makes it clear: it is a matter of the heart. The important thing is that we worship the one worthy of our adoration not just at church but in our lifestyle and quiet times.
The Psalms are known as Israel’s hymnbook and have been the source of the finest lyrics for centuries in the Church. David was a worshipper through every circumstance to every kind of audience. I may be too out of date for today’s style but will always sing before the Lord. I can still learn from the harp-playing shepherd boy who has circulated the hottest lyrics around the world many times over. So, what did he mean when he said “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth”?
Bless (barak) and praise (tehillah) have different meanings, yet come together much like the sky meets the earth at the horizon. While there are lots of synonymous parallelisms in the book of Psalms, it is not the case in this verse. To “bless” God is more than a display of broken emotions in a somber mode of submission. The Hebrew meaning of Barak (bless) comes closer in meaning as “worship.” In The Hebrew Work Picture, by Dr. Frank Seekins, it means, “to bend the knees, to kneel down.” To bless God means surrender of our whole being with a right heart and attitude in gratitude for who He is—not just for what He does. Many are prompted to bestow a reciprocal blessing: bless God for the blessings He gives. If so, it would diminish the value of the word. All of who we are belongs to God alone. “I will Barak the Lord at all times,” says King David, who had his life restored out of the enemy’s clutches (Psalm 34:1).
The first use of tamiyd (at all times) is found in Exodus 25:36 regarding the table of Showbread; twelve loaves baked with fine flour that remained before the presence of the Lord for 7 days. On Sabbath, the priest would eat the bread in the Holy Place. A fresh supply of bread was then placed in the Holy Place. It remained consecrated as the priest consumed the bread, thus making them holy. This is a picture of worship. Only the presence of God could keep the bread fresh. Oh the fragrance of fresh worship. “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8). The sweetness of His presence heals the brokenness of a soul so one can look beyond themself to the throne of God. Can we do anything but kneel when that happens?
“His praise (tehillah – song of praise) shall always be in my mouth. The mouth speaks that which is in the heart (Luke 6:45). Worship is from that which we have received from the Holy Place. If it is not fresh, neither will be our songs of praise. From a youth, music had accompanied David’s every action. I’m sure he sung when he slew the bear, the lion, and Goliath. His melodies, rehearsed time and time again before the Lord and the angels, was able to drive away evil spirits. Continual praise does not cease with a bad day, or one that is over scheduled. Unceasing praise wakes the morning, softens a pillow at night, and accompanies our dreams. “Thou are Holy, O Thou who inhabitest the tehillah of Israel” (Psalm 22:3). The right time to sing praise to the Lord is every breathing moment, which would keep His presence not only in us, but also encompassed on all sides.
The style may vary, but the heart in tune with God is perfectly pitched and remains fresh in His presence.
Author: Tommie Coleman