Important Old Testament Worship Passages (Part 2)

THEME: Worship in the Old Testament, 15th in the series 

Volume 8, No. 1 (January 2013)

4. Exodus 3:12; 4:23; 7:16; 8:1,20; 9:1,13; 10:3 (see also 10:7,8,11,24; 12:31)

God redeems the nation of Israel so that they may worship Him. (The translation in these verses is sometimes “serve” Him/Me, with the sense of worship; as in Exodus 23:24: “you shall not bow down to their gods nor serve them.”)

God makes for Himself a unique worshiping people:

“my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.” (Isaiah 43:20-21)

5. Exodus 15:1-21

The Song of Moses: the first song of praise in the Bible:

Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the LORD, saying, “I will sing to the LORD, for He has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider He has thrown into the sea. The LORD is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation; This is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt Him.” (15:1-2)

“Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?” (15:11)

6. Exodus 20:3-11

The first four of the Ten Commandments concern worship. See Worship Notes 7.5.

7. Exodus 40:34-35; 2 Chronicles 7:1; Ezekiel 11:22-23

The Glory of God among His People:

Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. (Exodus 40:34-35)

As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. (2 Chronicles 7:1)

Then the cherubim lifted up their wings, with the wheels beside them, and the glory of the God of Israel was over them. And the glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city. (Ezekiel 11:22-23)

The next time the Scriptures mention the glory of God dwelling in the midst of His people is in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ:

And the Word became flesh and dwelt [related to the Greek word for “tabernacle”] among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

8. 1 Samuel 16:7

 “Man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” 

This verse is not often applied to worship matters, but how true it is and how instructive on God’s priority in the context of all of our debates over form and style!

9. 2 Samuel 6:5 (also 1 Chronicles 15:25-28)

David’s musical celebration before the Lord:

And David and all the house of Israel were celebrating before the LORD, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals.

10. 1 Chronicles 15–16

David’s massive liturgical and musical reforms:

David also commanded the chiefs of the Levites to appoint their brothers as the singers who should play loudly on musical instruments, on harps and lyres and cymbals, to raise sounds of joy. (15:16)

Chenaniah, leader of the Levites in music, should direct the music, for he understood it. . . . Shebaniah, Joshaphat, Nethanel, Amasai, Zechariah, Benaiah, and Eliezer, the priests, should blow the trumpets before the ark of God. Obed-edom and Jehiah were to be gatekeepers for the ark. (15:22,24)

David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, as also were all the Levites who were carrying the ark, and the singers and Chenaniah the leader of the music of the singers. And David wore a linen ephod. So all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouting, to the sound of the horn, trumpets, and cymbals, and made loud music on harps and lyres. (15:27-28)

Then he appointed some of the Levites as ministers before the ark of the LORD, to invoke, to thank, and to praise the LORD, the God of Israel. Asaph was the chief, and second to him were Zechariah, Jeiel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, Obed-edom, and Jeiel, who were to play harps and lyres; Asaph was to sound the cymbals, and Benaiah and Jahaziel the priests were to blow trumpets regularly before the ark of the covenant of God. Then on that day David first appointed that thanksgiving be sung to the LORD by Asaph and his brothers. (16:4-7)

See Worship Notes 4.10, 5.7, and 7.7.

11. 2 Chronicles 20:18-28

Worship in warfare:

Then Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the LORD, worshiping the LORD. And the Levites, of the Kohathites and the Korahites, stood up to praise the LORD, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice. And they rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. And when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the LORD your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed.” And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the LORD and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say, “Give thanks to the LORD, for his steadfast love endures forever.” And when they began to sing and praise, the LORD set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed. . . . Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat at their head, returning to Jerusalem with joy, sfor the LORD had made them rejoice over their enemies. They came to Jerusalem with harps and lyres and trumpets, to the house of the LORD.

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