Millions of Christians gather every Sunday to worship God as their Creator and Redeemer. Whether formal and liturgical or free and spontaneous, church services are occasions to declare God’s worthiness and to give Him praise. But centuries of church history reveal how quickly worship can degenerate into empty ritualism. This occurs whenever God’s people harden their hearts and fail to obey His Word.

The psalmist knew this to be true from Israel’s experience. Under the leadership of Moses they had been miraculously delivered from slavery in Egypt and had fervently praised the Lord (Ex. 12-15). But almost immediately they began to doubt God’s goodness and trustworthiness. They complained bitterly and found fault with the Lord and His servant Moses. They ignored His instructions, and their worship became hollow. This angered God and resulted in their wandering for 40 years in a desert they could have crossed in a short time. And few among them were allowed to enter the Promised Land!

Lord, fill us with wonder and gratitude for Your marvelous salvation. Help us to give You the praise You deserve, and enable us to be faithful in our love and obedience to You.