The Lord loves the worship of his people. But he doesn’t need it. We do.
Psalm 95 gives a strong exhortation to obedience: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” He goes back into the history of Israel to remind the people that their ancestors in the wilderness never entered the promised land because of their disobedience. They tested the Lord, and died in the wilderness. Of these people, the Lord said “They are a people who go astray in their heart, and they have not known my ways.”
Why did they disobey? Let me suggest, based on Psalm 95, that their disobedience was rooted in their failure to worship. Listen to the psalm—“Let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving!” Why? “For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all Gods. He made the earth, the mountains and the seas! He is our God, our shepherd! Let us worship Him! (my paraphrase).
Here is the foundation of obedience—remembering and delighting in God. If we can remember that He made the heavens and the earth, and all who dwell therein, that He is the shepherd of His people, who cares for them—feeding them on green pastures, walking with them through the valley of the shadow of death, rescuing them from that which would cause them harm—then we will trust him. And therefore obey. And what is worship but remembering who the Lord is for us, and delighting in Him for that very reason.
The reason that the people of Israel disobeyed in the wilderness was that they forgot who the Lord was, for them. After all, could not the one who delivered them with signs and wonders from Egyptian slavery be counted upon to provide for them in the wilderness? He who did not spare his own son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
Oh, come, let us sing to the LORD.