Friday, July 15, 2022

Worshiping Together (Psalm 84)

"Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; they will still be praising You" (Ps. 84:4).

The Bible’s emphasis on the community aspect of the Christian life is undeniable. The church is not simply a collage of individuals who act independently of one another. It is a building (1 Cor. 3:9), a body (1 Cor. 12:27), and branches of the vine (John 15:2). The individuals that comprise the church are wholly dependent on Christ, the capstone of the building, the head of the body, and the life-giving vine. Yet God has chosen to bind us, that together we might be one in Him. Sadly, in a society that emphasizes individualism and independence, we too easily forget the community in which we are a part. We strive after our personal ambitions and goals without thinking of others in the body of Christ whom we should serve.

The writer of Psalm 84 understood the importance of the gathering of believers. Calvin believed David was the author who wrote of his deep sorrow at being separated from the visible sanctuary of God. While David could commune with God anywhere, he understood the unique benefits of public worship.

Unfortunately, too many in the church neglect this means of grace. They prefer their own comfort and worldly pleasures over the blessings of God. If they find it convenient to go to church, they will; if something better comes along, or if it is too much trouble, they don’t go. Such people fail to see the importance of being committed to the ministries of the body. Instead, they throw service to the wind and choose to follow their own selfish paths rather than the way of the Lord. “They indulge themselves in their own ease and pleasures, and allow nothing to interfere with these,” Calvin wrote. “They will, therefore, provided they are not required to make any exertion or sacrifice, readily profess themselves to be the servants of God; but they would not give a hair of their head, or make the smallest sacrifice to obtain the liberty of hearing the Gospel preached, and of enjoying the sacraments.” Such people know nothing of the joy and delight of worshiping God and serving others. Those who do not long for the courts of the Lord in this life can be sure they will have no place in His heavenly courts when death knocks at their door.

Read Acts 4:32–35. What kind of commitment did the early Christians have to one another? Do you find this kind of commitment in your local church? This weekend, consider your priorities and commitments. Evaluate whether they are according to God’s ways or your worldly pursuits.