In Lockdown, we could no longer meet together every Sunday for corporate praise and worship. This was a privilege I had taken for granted for more than forty years. Thankfully, our church does provide excellent praise and worship every week online and, although we can’t hear and see everybody singing together, we are able to see and hear the band and join in with them in our own home.
Although I like all forms of musical worship, from traditional hymns to modern songs, I have always felt a special excitement when the words touch me deeply in my spirit and the melody is beautiful and easy to sing along to. I believe this kind of singing in a gathering of Christian believers changes the atmosphere of the place we are in. It is as if the powers of darkness are being pushed away, as we give glory and honour to the Lord and welcome His presence into our meeting place. A song, which I first heard last summer, puts it this way. ‘Holy Spirit, You are welcome here. Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere. Your glory, God is what our hearts long for, to overcome by Your presence, Lord’.
Psalm 100 is all about coming into God’s presence. The first verse refers to ‘all the earth’ and says everyone is to ‘make a joyful noise unto the LORD’. The rest of the psalm talks of knowing God as Creator, and that we are His people. ‘Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture’.
Psalm 100 is encouraging us to take the gospel to everyone in the world. There are places, like Japan, where I lived for seven years, where many people have no concept of one God who is the Creator of the world. And yet, in the western world today, there is also a world view that there is no Creator God, and many refer to ‘Mother Nature’ and believe is some process whereby everything in the world came into existence by chance. Of this Spurgeon once said, ‘For our part, we find it far more easy to believe that the Lord made us than that we were developed by a long chain of natural selections from floating atoms which fashioned themselves’.
Psalm 100 also tells us the importance of thanksgiving. ‘Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!’ This is also something we can do corporately and out loud, but it should also be done privately with an ‘attitude of gratitude’ in our hearts, (as many have written in previous seeds). We can encourage each other and ourselves as we do this. Our words will be such a stark contrast to the words of discouragement, criticism, blame, anger or despair in the world around us.
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, You are Almighty God and yet You bring me into Your family and call me Your own. I thank You that You show me in Your word how to come into Your presence. Please remind me to come into Your presence with singing, thanksgiving and praise, wherever I am. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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