When we sing to the Lord, praise the Lord, pray to the Lord, exalt the Lord our God and Savior how often is it merely an exercise of the mind or heart? “Merely”? Sounds like worshiping God is being mocked by the use of the word. Yet, Psalm 95 does give grounds for the use of the word “merely”.
The psalmist sings, “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock o our salvation!” There is singing and joy and praise in this first verse, but the psalmist pushes on in verse two:
“Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!” The thanksgiving and singing have a goal – coming into the presence of our Savior. If our singing, praising, thanking, and joy are only of the heart and not with the intention of ushering us into the very presence of God we are falling short of the point of worship. The point of worship is a Person, not just an experience or action regarding that Person.
In the sixth verse the psalmist hits the emphasis of entering into His presence: “Oh come, let us worship and bow down ; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!“ Our adoration and worship of appreciation of our Maker is not supposed to be merely a cranial experience but something done before the Lord.
The entering into the presence of God should also have a real result: hearing His voice, knowing His voice, and obeying His voice. If our praise is merely a matter of actions and not something done with the point of entering His presence, the Christian life can become one of rote ritual and not following the Person of Jesus Christ. The Christian who is not in the habit of entering into His presence and delighting in Him may end up like the Israelite people:
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah…’They are a people who go astray in their heart, and they have not know my ways'” (Psalm 95:7, 10).