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The Sabbath and Worship Music

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has created us perfectly, He has redeemed us completely, and He will restore us ultimately. These three glad tidings that the Sabbath proclaims, constitute the fundamental reason for the worship of God.

To worship means to acknowledge and praise the worthiness of God. Would God be worthy of praise if He had not originally created this world and all its creatures perfectly and made provision for their ultimate restoration? No one praises a manufacturer that produced a car with mechanical problems with- out taking responsibility for repairing them. Similarly, it would be hard to find reasons to praise God with songs, prayers, and sermons if He had not created us perfectly and redeemed us completely.

PART 1 THE SABBATH WORSHIP

The Sabbath worship service is an occasion for believers to celebrate and rejoice over the magnitude of God’s achievements: His wonderful creation, His successful redemption of His people; and His manifold manifestations of constant love and care. These are fundamental themes that should inspire the composition and the singing of hymns of praise to God.

Some of these themes appear in Psalm 92, which is “A Song for the Sab- bath.” Here the believers are invited to celebrate the Sabbath by giving thanks, singing praises, and playing the lute, the harp, and the lyre (Ps 92:3). The purpose of this joyful celebration is to declare God’s steadfast love and faithfulness (Ps 92:2), to praise the great works of His creation (Ps 92:4-5), and to acknowledge God’s care and power (Ps 92:12-15).

The Celebration of God’s goodness and mercy constitutes the basis for all the music and worship offered to God on any day of the week. On the Sabbath, however, the music and the worship experience reach the fullest expression, because the day provides both the time and the reasons for joyfully and grate- fully celebrating God’s creative and redemptive love.

The Conflict Between True and False Worship. To appreciate the im- portance of Sabbath worship, of which music is a major component, we need to note that in a sense the Bible is the story of the conflict between true and false worship. God’s summon to “put away the foreign gods” (Gen. 35:2), which oc- curs in the first book of the Bible, is reiterated in different forms in all subsequent books. In Revelation, the last book of the Bible, the summon is renewed through the imagery of three flying angels.

These angels call upon “every nation and tribe and tongue and people” (Rev 14:6), on one hand, to renounce the perverted system of worship promoted

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