Let Us Go To The House Of The Lord
Isn’t technology amazing? Each Sunday morning we can tune to our Ebenezer worship service or find other sources of good teaching from God’s word to feed our souls and worship our Lord. I sometimes receive a link from a friend who wants me to hear a message or song or insight that was meaningful to them. I always appreciate those who pass on some good content that lifts up the Lord and teaches solid truth. I am especially thankful when the person passing on the link is discerning and knows a good bible-based message and teaching when they hear it.
I encourage you in your internet ‘surfing’ to find good sources of teaching from God’s powerful Word. There are some wonderful teachers who are very gifted in helping us learn and grow closer to Jesus. I recall a passage in Philippians where the Apostle Paul knowing how some in the church he founded were hearing sermons and messages from others and writes,
“It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached.” (Philippians 1:15–18)
Paul knew there were some teachers who did not have the best motives in preaching Jesus. What jazzed Paul was that Jesus was preached! The power was not in the messenger but in the message and object of the message.
As much as technology gives us the opportunity to stream great teaching into our homes, there will always be the need to come together and worship as the Christian family we are. Steve Kordahl told me he finds coming to the Ebenezer service as like a family reunion. With all the ages of people sitting in the chairs, he sees them as his brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, uncles and aunts. He knows he belongs to this extended spiritual family and it’s a blessing to weekly enjoy the community and fellowship of his ‘family’.
In Psalm 42, there is a psalmist who is describing how his relationship with God has become a spiritually dry. He describes the spiritual state he’s in by singing:
“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (Psalm 42:1–2)
The streams have dried up. Like a deer panting for water, he’s dying of thirst. This is the condition of the ‘soul’ of the writer of the Psalm. He knows what it’s like to drink from the cool refreshing water (which the picture of being close to the Lord) but for some reason he can’t seem to connect with God. There is nothing written that suggests this guy has sinned, or turned his back on God. We learn instead this guy is living to the north of Jerusalem somewhere on Mount Hermon. Here he was living in the majesty of this beautiful mountain and yet he was thirsting for God. It’s in this ‘thirsty’ time when he recalls the days when God was close and worship was rich. He writes,
“These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng.” (Psalm 42:4)
As he recalls the time when the worship of the Lord rich, it wasn’t living on the mountain but joining with a ‘multitude’ of people in ‘shouts of joy and praise’ in the ‘house of God’. In other words, as this guy was away from his ‘church family’ he was floundering in his faith. He missed his spiritual family. Sure, we can live on a mountain and worship the Lord soaking up the beauty of God’s creation. We can get close to God on a mountain, or on the lake, or in the worship of our Lord at home. But as the psalmist said, we miss something in our worship of God when we’re not with our church family. Hopefully, as the health threats pass in the coming weeks, more and more of us will be free to return to worship with our Ebenezer family and be saying from our hearts –
“I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD.”” (Psalm 122:1)