Summary: The beginning of the Church year (Fall) and all of its activities calls for a renewal of commitment and repentance to do the Lord’s work. This Psalm is a call to worship and a call to battle for the church and its ministries.
OUR CALL TO WORSHIP
Last week as I was walking my dog a verse came to my mind: “The earth is the LORD’s and everything in it…” I had not memorized this phrase, nor do I recall a song that would grab me the way this phrase did. I shrugged it off and continued the canine ritual.
A few days ago I had a dream. It was an unusual dream for me to have, though I have had a lot of bizarre dreams in the last year. This one stands out. I dreamt that someone had found a large box in the basement of some undisclosed building and had called me to take a look at it. Inside the large crate was another box but covered in gold and crafted intricately by skilled hands. I knew right away that we had found the lost Ark of the Covenant.
I know this is strange but bear with me. As I examined the Ark there was a tingling in my body, an excitement that I felt even though I was dreaming. This was the throne of God; this gold box represented the presence of the Lord. In the crazy conjuring of my brain that goes with dreaming I exclaimed “God sat here!” Opening the lid on the Ark (how we dared do so is beyond me) I gazed upon objects that Moses must have laid in the bottom. The dream left me with a great feeling of worship long after I had woken up.
When I came to the office on Tuesday I had no idea what to preach today. All of the ideas that I considered left me with no peace whatsoever. Then the verse “The earth is the LORD’s and everything in it…” came to mind. How odd, I thought. But when I found the Psalm of origin, Psalm 24, and studied it, I discovered that it was a Psalm celebrating the return of the Ark to Jerusalem.
I have obeyed the still small voice and want to bring us all into the presence of the LORD. This Psalm teaches us to train our gaze on God as we live and serve him in the world that He made for us. As we enter a new year of serving the LORD as a church this is our call to worship.
1. Worshipping our Creator God
The Ark of the Covenant had been a major frustration for the Philistines who had captured it from Israel. So they gave it back. We all know how David danced at the head of the procession as the Ark was brought to Jerusalem. He also wrote this Psalm to sing as they climbed Mount Zion bringing the Ark home to its rightful place.
“The earth is the LORD’s and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. For He laid the earth’s foundations on the seas and built it upon the ocean depths” (vv. 1-2).
David began where an Israelite would typically begin, praising the Creator of all things. This is a confession that all wealth and fertility of the earth are not for man’s exploitation but for God’s satisfaction and glory. In worship it is the right place to begin. There is a sense of security knowing that our world belongs to God.
That day that I walked my dog, I stepped out onto the road and felt uneasiness, an unexplained anxiety. It was like some danger was lurking out there. If you watch the news you can easily grow anxious about our world. A double murder in a small town of Manitoba is too close to home. A missing child in Toronto, another Canadian soldier killed, a world of wars, diseases and viruses, hundreds of people killed in an earthquake…these things can break our resolve to be hopeful, to believe that there is good in the world.
When I went but ten steps the verse came to me, “The earth is the LORD’s and everything in it…” And I was at peace. This is my Father’s world and nothing happens here that he does not know about. Every person is his; every creature is his. If anyone or anything harms you it is comforting to know that you are not lost; the owner knows exactly where you are.
Some things are too big for us to worry about. A missing child is a tragedy, a murder is horrible, but we have a God who is responsible for this world. He will bring justice to it in his way. He is the Creator and we are the created. We must leave things in his creative hands and concentrate our efforts on trusting him and praising him.
2. Worshipping our Holy God
As the procession headed up the hill with the Ark, David was struck with the awe of this moment. He wanted to take the Ark to its rightful place, to the holy place, but who is qualified to do such a holy task?