Authentic Worship

by Dr. Greg Silverman

Today’s worship word is “authentic.”  Authentic means genuine and true, the real deal!  To begin our journey, let’s make it clear that King David was an authentic worshipper.  He was a great worship leader who laid a foundation for what became worship patterns for the entire nation of Israel. 

What “qualifications” did David have to lead such a worship movement?  What does it take to lead others in worship?  Answer:  to be a worshipper yourself!  I remember when I first started learning this principal.  I joined Congregation Beth Yeshua in Philadelphia around 2001.  Within a year or two I had begun leading praise and worship.  I began first as a substitute piano player for what was called the “A” Band (I guess to differentiate it from the “B,” “C,” or “D” bands?).  Later I began directing youth worship teams and eventually adult teams as well.  I recall a very special conversation with a friend of mine in the congregation.  He loved worshiping God and taught me something important:  a music minister’s number-one job is to worship!  Perhaps this seems too obvious, however it is so important to not be confused about this basic principle.  It is vital to remember that music ministry is not about how great the sound system is, which guitar player got placed on your team, whether you are scheduled for a Friday night service or a Saturday morning one, or even about how many people showed up to the congregation that day.  The main focus is not to make people clap their hands, stand, sit, or kneel.  There is certainly nothing wrong with clapping, standing, kneeling, or having a totally awesome sound system.  As a matter of fact, those things can be really quite great!  Yet, the music minister’s main responsibility is to praise God himself, so that the people have a leader to follow.  If he does that, then the congregation will enter into the Presence of the Lord Almighty.  That certainly takes the pressure off.  We, as music ministers, do not need to try and force people to do anything.  Just praise Him, and provide the opportunity for the people to enter into His Presence together with you.

Back to King David – he was a true worshiper himself.  David praised God not only in public but also in the private of his prayer room.  This character trait is what qualified him to be such a great leader for guiding and teaching the nation of Israel how to bless the God’s Name.  In reference to King David, the Scripture says, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).  David had a heart after God’s own heart.  In the book of Psalms alone, we have access to the inner desires and motivations that caused David to be who he was.  This is what made David tick.  He was thankful to God because God is so good (Psalm 100:5); he came to God because of God’s awesome might and strength (Psalm 24:8); He knew he could go to God for mercy, forgiveness, and even physical healing (Psalm 103); and those are just a few of David’s reasons for worshiping.

We see David’s heart of worship in others songs located elsewhere in the Tanach.  We have record of David’s prayers and praises right before his death.  Here are some of his last words as recorded in 1 Chronicles 29:10-11,  “Praise be to you, O LORD, God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.  Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in Heaven and earth is Yours.”  David had the right idea that life is all about God, and worship is a good way to express love toward God.  After a full life of experiences maturing from a shepherd boy to the King of Israel, David knew God and knew how to worship Him.  David, the king, viewed God as his King.  David, the top boss of the nation recognized his Lord as the Creator and CEO of all Heaven and earth forever.  David thought his Lord had very high worth, and at its most literal sense, the word worship means to ascribe worth.

I have the unique opportunity to travel and minister to a variety of Messianic congregations across the country.  As I travel, one of the things that delights me the most is meeting authentic worshipers and worship leaders.  These are people who are gushing out praises to Adonai from the depths of their beings.  Of course there is always room for us to grow.  However, I am glad to report that our Messianic movement is full of true worshippers who humbly give praise and glory to our One True King, Whose Name is Yeshua HaMashiach.