David appointed the Levites to "minister before the ark of the Lord." And this ministry to the Lord is done in three ways (v.4): "to invoke, to thank, and to praise the Lord." Much of what we call "ministry" in the church is often for the congregation, whereas the Scripture puts our ministry to the Lord in worship as first priority. And Scripture defines that ministry as:
- To invoke [Heb: zakar]: This first part of the ministry to the Lord is to "invoke his blessings" (NLT), or to "celebrate" (NASB), or "to celebrate [by calling to mind] (AMP). The Hebrew zakar means "to mark (so as to be recognized), i.e. to remember; by implication, to mention." KJV has translated this word in different contexts as "(make) mention (of), be mindful, recount, record (-er), remember, make to be remembered, bring (call, come, keep, put) to (in) remembrance, still, think on". So, it is not so much "petitions" (NIV), but "celebration" by giving to God by bringing to mind who He is and what He has done. God wants us to focus our mind during worship upon him--to think about His goodness, His love and His grace towards us. The focus here is the MIND: recalling and proclaiming the attributes & works of God. Worship must have CONTENT for the HEAD.
- To thank [Heb: yadah]: This second word translated to "thank" is yadah, which means "to use (i.e. hold out) the hand; especially to revere or worship (with extended hands)." Lifting up of hands is the most common expression of worship in the OT, besides dancing and the use of musical instruments. Here is worship expressions that involve the use of our physical body, especially our hands - lifting up to God and playing the musical instruments. The focus here is on the HAND and the use of our BODY in worship.
- To praise [Heb: halal]: This third word used here to minister to the Lord is halal, translated as "to praise". The word means to "to shine; hence, to make a show, to boast; and thus to be (clamorously) foolish; to rave; causatively, to celebrate". The word suggests that worship is not staid and stoic but exuberant and emotional. The kind of dead-pan emotional-less worship is not pleasing to God. God wants us to be enthusiastic about Him. In fact, the word "enthusiastic" comes from two root words "en" (in) and "theo" (God), so those who are in God ought to be enthusiastic. The emotion is involved in worship. The focus here is the HEART and the use of EMOTIONS in worship.
So, worship that pleases God and attracts His manifest presence is one that informs the HEAD, involves the HANDS and inspires the HEART. So worship is one way we love and minister to God "with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength."
Lord, help us to bring pleasure to You in our worship that is mindful, heart-felt and expressive. Amen.