Worship in Pain – A HEAR Journal Entry

Today, I want to continue to experiment with a form of journaling that I learned a few years ago and was recently reminded of.

H – Highlight

2 Samuel 12:19-20 – 19 But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David understood that the child was dead. And David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” They said, “He is dead.” 20 Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate.

E – Explain

In 2 Samuel 12, David had been praying and fasting, begging the Lord to spare the life of the son born to Bathsheba and him. Sadly, the child died. The Bible records for us that David, after the child’s death, returned to life. He washed, anointed himself, and put on different clothing. David went into the house of God and worshipped. Later, he would eat, breaking his fast.

A – Apply

In verse 20, the phrase that got my attention is, “And he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped.” David, in the middle of his return to life, took time to go before the Lord in worship. This tells me that worship is about something that is not commonly understood in our culture. Worship is not about a rich feeling of joy or bubbly happiness. Worship has to be about something else, or David would not have been able to worship in this setting. Yes, often worship is accompanied by feeling of great joy and soul satisfaction. But happiness is not at the core of what worship is. Emotional movement is not the point of worship.

What is worship about? Worship is about humility and truth. Worship is about subject of God bowing before their Sovereign as King. Worship is about us confessing the glorious attributes of God as truth. It is about us making sure that we see our place as servants of the Lord.

I am sure God comforted David. And I am sure that David felt joy at some point in his worship of God. But it is vital that we understand that worship is first and foremost about
God, about truth, and about our submission to his lordship. I cannot imagine a clearer passage to help us to see that. If worship were about stirring up an emotion as is commonly the strategy of modern worship leaders, then David could not have worshipped in his grief. But if worship is about truth and God’s glory, then David most certainly could do so.

R – Response

God wants us to know from this passage that worship is about something far greater than emotion. A right response includes changing my thinking about worship. It includes me remembering that biblical worship is about my humbling myself before the Lord.

A right response is also to worship, declaring God to be King and me to be his subject, regardless of how I feel on a given day.

Prayer: Lord, I worship you. You, O Lord, are my King and Master. I bow before you in submission. God, the universe and all it contains belongs to you. My life fully belongs to you. I declare that I have nothing that is mine. All that I have is yours, and I am but the steward of your possessions. I pray that you will help me to truly honor you as King.