Planting the Joy of Grateful Worship
The following is a post by one of our elders, summarizing the content from the Adult Bible Study Hour two Sundays ago. In the class, we are going through eight different aspects of our Planting Joy vision. Consider joining us this Sunday at 9:30am in the sanctuary.
Worship has always been a characteristic that has marked the people of God. As one of the “Songs of Ascents,” Psalm 126 was used by the children of God in the Old Testament, especially at times of festival when they would have gathered together in Jerusalem for worship. Oftentimes, worship is preceded by difficulty. True Christ-honoring worship actually gains greater meaning as its sweetness is contrasted with life’s daily challenges.
Throughout redemptive history, the Lord’s people honestly say, “We are not what we want to be,” and yet, with hope announce, “We are not what we shall be.” We find ourselves in this fallen and sin-cursed world of pain and hurt, of what this psalm calls in verse 5 “tears.”
Tears in the home, tears in our personal lives … sadness and grief are one of the reasons why we gather together. This psalm is one of many that begins with tears and ends with joy and laughter. O, the relevance of God’s timeless revelation! We can go to the Psalms time and again to find comfort and help because they speak to our condition.
The background of this psalm finds the Israelites returning to Jerusalem to rebuild the city wall and then the temple under the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah. As Ezra, Nehemiah, and the Levites proclaimed God’s word to the people, the words of encouragement reoriented God’s elect to the realization of their privileged standing of favor with their God:
“This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:9-12).
The source of their joy was so very solid because it came from the LORD, the “Self-Existent One,” and in his strength the people worshiped. Today, in this new and better covenant (Hebrews 12:18-29), how much more can the gathering of God’s people to worship cause our hope and faith to be renewed and persevere until we see him face to face!
May the vision, “Planting the Joy of Grateful Worship,” become increasingly clear to us as we sojourn here at Five Points.