Summary: I can worship God anywhere... but Psalm 100 talks about "going someplace" to worship. Where should I "go" to worship, and how and why should I worship?
I read the story about a couple named Mary and Jim and their dog 'Lucky.' Lucky was an unusual dog. Whenever company come for a weekend visit Mary and Jim had to warn their friends to not leave their luggage open because Lucky would help himself to whatever struck his fancy. Inevitably, someone would forget and something turned up missing. Then Mary or Jim would go to Lucky's toy box in the basement and there the treasure would be, amid all of Lucky's favorite toys. Lucky always stashed his finds in his toy box and he was very particular that his toys STAYED in his box.
One day Mary found out she had breast cancer. Something told her she was going to die of this disease.... she was sure it was fatal. She scheduled the double mastectomy, and - the night before go to the hospital she cuddled with Lucky - and a thought struck her: what would happen to Lucky? Lucky was HER dog. She thought: “If I die, Lucky will feel abandoned. He won't understand that she didn't want to leave him!” And that thought made her sadder… than the thought of her own death.
The operation was harder on Mary than her doctors had anticipated and she was hospitalized for over two weeks. At home, Jim took Lucky for his evening walk, but the little dog just drooped, whining and miserable.
When Mary finally got to go home, she was so exhausted she couldn't even make it up the steps to her bedroom. So she spent the night on the couch. Lucky stood watching Mary but he didn't come to her when she called. She was so exhausted she finally went to sleep.
But she woke some time during the night sensing something was wrong. She couldn't move her head and her body felt heavy and hot. Then, she began to laugh. The reason she couldn’t move was because she was literally covered with every treasure Lucky owned! While she had slept, her dog had made trip after trip to the basement bring her all his favorite things. He had covered her with his love.
Mary forgot about dying. Instead she and Lucky began living again, walking further and further together every day. Years later Mary was still cancer-free. (See footnote)
Lucky covered her with his love (pause).
Last week we talked about how God showed His love FOR US, by the things He Created, by the Bible He’s given us, and – most importantly – by the gift of His only begotten Son.
This week – we’re going to talk about one of the ways that we can show our love FOR HIM. There are many ways that we can show our love for God, but Psalm 100 is talking about how we can show that love in our worship.
Look again: “Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! ... Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!” Psalm 100:1-2 & 4
One of the meanings of “Worship” is “to adore.” The idea is to praise Him, sing to Him, give thanks to Him and to bless His name. Now this is important on a couple level. First --- it is the mark of what God’s people do.
• Psalm 22:23 says “You who fear the LORD, praise him!”
• Psalm 33:1 tells us “Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright.”
• And Psalm 135:3 declares “Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; sing to his name, for it is pleasant!”
• But Psalm 115:17-18 goes one step further: “The dead do not praise the LORD, nor do any who go down into silence. But we will bless the LORD from this time forth and forevermore. Praise the LORD!”
God’s people are expected to praise God and give Him thanks… it’s what we do!
ILLUS: The story is told of an old farmer who was sitting down at a restaurant. When his food was served he bowed his head to give thanks. At the next table a bunch of young men snickered at the sight and one shouted out. "Hey, old man, does everyone do that out where you live?" The old man calmly replied, "No, son. Pigs don't!"
Giving thanks and giving praise… is what WE DO! It’s one of the ways we express our love for God. When we praise Him, and sing praises to Him and worship Him we’re behaving a little like that dog Lucky… we literally cover our Master with our love.
Now WHERE can we do that? Where can we worship God? Well… just about anywhere. Old Testament greats like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob worshiped God in the wilderness. David worshiped out on the hills while taking care of father’s sheep. The prophet Daniel worshiped God in the quietness of his room. You can worship God anywhere!