Summary: Do we long to worship God?
June 30, 2013
Why are you here this morning? If you pray, why? If you read the Bible, why? Is it out of duty? You feel you have to do it. And if you don’t, God will be mad at you and bad things may happen to you.
I hope those aren’t the reasons. My hope is that we DESIRE to pray, we DESIRE to read the Word of God, we DESIRE to give, to witness, to serve, to worship . . . I hope it’s a burning desire for you.
This morning I want us to look at what it means to be generous in worship.
Psalm 84 is so rich and powerful in meaning. This is one Psalm which is fully alive and this is one of those passages which has come more alive than before after rereading it, and I wanted you to catch what I caught.
Look at how the psalmist starts the Psalm ~ 1 How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!
2 My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.
The psalmist was expressing the attitude we should have for Sunday mornings. Notice he calls God the Lord of Hosts. The NIV uses the phrase Lord Almighty. He’s referring to the powerful God of the heavenly armies. By the way, I want that God on my side. Don’t you?
Now, notice that his soul longs for, literally, he’s pining for God in the same way we long to see the one we love. He not only longs for God, but his soul faints for the courts of the Lord. And when he enters the temple, he sings for joy to the Lord. It gives us the image that he is so spent longing for God that he’s exhausted. He can’t wait to come before God and worship Him.
Is this true of us? Do you long to return here on Sundays or is this just part of your duty? Some people will make any and every excuse why they can’t come to worship. Some claim they don’t believe in organized religion. Or church is boring. The songs are unfamiliar. The sermons are dull or uninspiring. The prayers are meaningless, irrelevant and too long. The people aren’t friendly. And the list could go on, ad nauseum.
On the other hand, there are those who look forward to worship. To them, what we do is exciting. The songs are uplifting. The sermons are inspiring. The prayers bring them closer to God. The people are friendly and inviting. These are people who long and are fainting to get in the doors and worship God.
You see, we come to church to be in the presence of God. We come to meet with God, to present ourselves to Him as we worship. Yet, at the same time I do understand the music, the pastor, the people and more all determine our willingness to come to this place to worship. Yet, the bottom line is to be in a place of worship which aligns with your beliefs and style.
I believe the reason some people have little desire for God’s house on Sunday is because they had little desire for God throughout the week. Not liking the preaching, or music or people is often times a cover up and excuse for not worshiping.
If your heart is longing and pining to be in the presence of God, if you’re looking forward to something happening in worship, if you prepare for it, then I believe it will happen.
You see one of the ways to look at worship is to prepare like orthodox Jews. Because they don’t drive, cook, turn on lights on the Sabbath, they must prepare for it. It all starts in the middle of the week as the family prepares for the next Sabbath. As they prepare, they become more excited about what’s coming up that weekend. It’s a great thought. How many of us are preparing for worship? Do you prepare on Saturday night or Sunday morning?
Yet, when you go on vacation, you prepare for it, don’t you? You plan what you’ll do, where you’ll stay, what the weather will be like; you even plan out the roads you will take to reach your vacation destination. We don’t want to be unprepared.
When you go to work, you check your schedule — you review your plans, when you have a meeting, you want to know what’s going on. The point is, we have certain expectations about life. We also have expectations about worship. Are you here because it’s your duty, or are you here because you want to be here? It then becomes a matter of preparation. So, how have you prepared for today?