The Worship Quote of the Week for (02/24/2009):

Worship: Delight in God!
My guess is that most WQOTW readers can easily complete this famous statement: "Man's chief end is to glorify God and ____________." Seeking to clarify the proper place and posture of biblical worship, today’s WORSHIP QUOTE draws on the wisdom of Scripture and the teaching of the Puritans. Author Hughes Oliphant Old writes of enjoyment, delight, feasting, sacred joy, and the worship of our great God.

Surely there is a place for delighting in worship. Even the Puritans were glad to say that man's chief end is to glorify God AND TO ENJOY him forever. So many of the Puritans tell us of their surpassing delight in worship. One of the first theological works written in America, Thomas Shepherd's WISE AND FOOLISH VIRGINS, is filled with this sense of delighting in prayer and praise. No one could be more eloquent on this subject than Jonathan Edwards. In his FAITHFUL NARRATIVE he tells us of how the Great Awakening brought his congregation to a deeper appreciation of worship. They feasted on preaching, they rejoiced in psalmody, and they flocked to the Lord's Table with sacred joy. As Edwards saw it, the children of God delight in the things of God. They rejoice in being edified by the preaching of the Word. It refreshes and illumines them, and in this they find delight. There is no greater happiness than to be in communion with God, and the celebration of the Lord's Supper is the feast day of this communion. As Edwards saw it, it is the religious affections that draw us to Christ and transform us into his likeness. The ordinances of worship, the disciplines of prayer, the exercise of praise, the reading and preaching of Scripture, and the celebration of the sacraments are the means God has appointed for nurturing these religious affections. This is how the Holy Spirit works in our hearts and minds. When this happens and we sense that it is happening, there is a holy delight in worship. Edwards would insist that worshiping God is a means of both glorifying God and enjoying him forever. That is to say, the delight is not so much in the worshiping as in the one who is worshiped. It is, in the end, God who is delightful. When we find our delight in him, then God is worshiped.

-- Hughes Oliphant Old, THEMES AND VARIATIONS FOR A CHRISTIAN DOXOLOGY: SOME THOUGHTS ON THE THEOLOGY OF WORSHIP. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992, pp. 5-6. ISBN 0-8028-0614-7.

[Hughes Oliphant Old will deliver the 2009 Mullins Lectures on Preaching at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary on March 3-5, 2009. He is the author of the mammoth multivolume study, THE READING AND PREACHING OF THE SCRIPTURES IN THE WORSHIP OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH (Eerdmans). Please help us by sending this web link to those who might be interested:]

Have a great week,

Chip Stam
School of Church Music and Worship
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky

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