What’s most important to you? I once heard a speaker who claimed if we just look at our check registers and our calendars, they will reveal what we value most. Trouble is my wife won’t let me have the checkbook. But seriously how we spend our time and money carries a clue to what we value.
It’s true. My calendar is full of meetings with people and time for family and writing. Gaps in my calendar also reveal that I struggle to find time for other things I value. Hiking, fishing, and hunting are very important to me. Yet I shoehorn them in. Worshiping God also. Too often God sits patiently in the lobby of my life waiting for a cancellation in my schedule. In the end I am the one who suffers for this.
Psalm 95 is an encouraging picture of what life can look like when we put worshiping God together first. Read on.
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INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS
Judges 6:1-40. Though the office of judge has not been mentioned before now, it was probably not a new office. Moses appointed (Exodus 18:13-14 ) leaders to help him judge disputes between the people. When Israel settled in cities, the judges would sit near the main gate of the city and hear peoples disputes. At this point in Israel’s history, these judges are the only “political” leaders the fledgling nation has. That they began to serve as military leaders was a new development.
Luke 22:54-23:12. Scholars often make hay about Jesus’ silences and refusal to answer questions during his “trial.” Some even go so far as to say that this silence is how Jesus ensured he would make it to the cross. This is doubtful. During his three year ministry, Jesus never put himself in the hands of others by answering their questions. And he often answered them by asking a question that drove to the core of the real issue. Here with Herod his silence seems to highlight that Herod wanted Jesus to perform the equivalent of a circus trick. Jesus refuses to even answer the king’s questions much less perform for him. In this Jesus silently states who the true King is.
Psalm 95:1-96:13. Modern hymn books organize their music by holidays (Christmas, Easter, etc.) and alphabetically. The Psalms were organized around ideas or themes. For example Psalm 1 was not the first to be written or the most popular. Rather Psalm 1 communicates the primary theme of walking in the way of God and not the way of the wicked. Psalm 90-100 are grouped together because they deal with dwelling in God and Psalm 95 is centered in those eleven Psalms because it focuses on worship being the center of our lives with God.
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THE WORD MADE FRESH
Ever wonder how many of the 2.5 billion Christians (worldwide) fit attending a worship service into their schedule this last weekend? Probably not. Only us pastors think about such things, and pollsters. And God; God thinks about such things, even though he knows the answer.
Worship seems pretty important to God, especially people doing it together.
Just look at God’s checkbook and calendar, so to speak. God spent a lot of time and money on worship. God appointed an entire tribe, the Levites, whose only job was to make sure Israel worshiped. God commands Moses to fund and build an elaborate Tabernacle for people to worship in. Scripture mentions worship around 250 times. And, whether the word is used or not, worship is the main theme of the Psalms.
Ever wonder why? After all it’s a pretty strange thing to do.
Psalm 95 gives us some answers.
- Worship focuses our relationship with God and others who love God. “Come let us sing for joy to the Lord. . . Let us come before him. . . the Rock of our salvation.”
- Worship fixes our priorities. “For the Lord is our great God, the great King above all gods.”
- Worship gives us a real picture of who we are and who God is. “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.”
- Worship communicates we matter to God. “And we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.”
- Worship draws us into God’s presence in a way other activities cannot. Those who don’t worship and listen to God’s voice will “never enter [his] rest.”
Unfortunately even when I go to worship, I don’t always connect with God. For me that is because, on that day, it is a duty, or a nuisance, or God doesn’t seem to meet “my needs.” On the days I do connect, however, it’s because I go to meet with God, to spend quality time with God and his people. And that is when my priorities realign. Psalm 95 communicates that worship is the open door to God’s dwelling place. Let us enter in.
- When do you best connect with God?
- Are there any links between these four readings?
- When was the last time you worshiped God with others?
- What part of worship brings you closest to God?
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