Thankful For Worship.
“I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD.'” – Psalms 122:1 NLT
Today is Thanksgiving Day. It is the day we set aside as Americans to express thanks. But who are we to express thanks to? What are we thankful for? As we stuff our faces and fill up the hours with football, family, and friends, what will this day really mean to most of us, but just another holiday from work, school, and the usual responsibilities of life?
This Psalm, while short, is a perfect reminder of what we as Christians should be truly thankful for. In it, David expresses his joy at being able to worship God in Jerusalem. He was ecstatic about being able to go to the house of the Lord, the temple in Jerusalem, and offer sacrifices to God – along with every other faithful Jew. David was thankful for Jerusalem, this small, compact city where God had chosen to make His dwelling place among men. It was in Jerusalem that the sacrificial system, critical to the worship of God and the forgiveness of the sins of the people, was practiced. This one city was significant in maintaining their relationship with God. Sacrifices could not be offered anywhere else. God could not be met with anywhere else. So it’s easy to see why David had such a love affair with Jerusalem. It was less about the city than it was about the God who chose to make Jerusalem his home.
So David prayed for Jerusalem. He had a vested interest in Jerusalem remaining free and unoccupied by enemy forces. He protected Jerusalem, because he did not want to think of a day when the worship of Yahweh would be eliminated due to war or the fall of the city of God. David said, “O Jerusalem, may there be peace within your walls and prosperity in your palaces. For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, ‘Peace be with you.’ For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek what is best for you, O Jerusalem” (Psalms 122:7-9 NLT).
Now we live in a time when the worship of God is not limited to a single place. It is not even limited to a house of God or a building dedicated to that sole purpose. We can worship God at any time, anywhere. We can seek forgiveness of sins moment by moment and don’t have to wait until a specific date on the calendar to get right with God. Yet, are we guilty of taking our places of worship for granted? Do we not share David’s enthusiasm for being able to worship God in communion with other saints. Has Sunday become more of a burden or just another thing to do on our busy calendars? Or is it a privilege and a blessing? Perhaps this Thanksgiving Day, we would be wise to express to God our gratitude for our church home. What an incredible privilege we have to be able to assemble together to worship God each weekend – without fear of persecution or reprisal. It is not that way all over the world. There are those who must worship in secrecy and silence. They fear for their lives. They have no church building or place of worship, other than a secluded spot somewhere in the woods at night. Their church is wherever two or more of them are gathered together.
We have many things to be grateful for this Thanksgiving. Is the place where we worship among them? Do we pray for our church? Do we ask God’s protection over it? Do we see it as a place where God meets with us and where those who don’t know Him can meet His Son? We must pray for churches all across the world. Not the buildings, but the people they represent. We must pray for the assemblies of believers all across this planet who meet together to worship God. Pray for their protection. Pray for peace. Pray that the presence of God would permeate their midst. And prayerfully thank God that He has chosen to meet with all of us – faithfully and mercifully – whenever and wherever we meet.
Father, thank You for the church where I get to worship You each week with other brothers and sisters in Christ. Thank You that I get to worship in peace and security, with no fear of government reprisal or attack. Thank You that I can meet with You there, each and every week. But thank You also that I can meet with You any time, anywhere. Because of what Christ accomplished on the cross, I can come into your presence 24/7, 365 days a year. May I never take that reality for granted. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men