We don't know a lot from Scripture about the worship of the people of Israel, but if the Psalms are any indication, it must have been amazing! Perhaps we forget that we are worshiping the same God. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. Over and over again the Psalmist calls the people to worship. Many of the Psalms are given to "The Director of Music." That's right, they had Worship Leaders!! And oh, how the people must have sung and praised the LORD, their God!!
In spite of all the "worship wars" of the past (and the present), Psalm 150 clearly settles the issue of worship style for those who have ears to hear: "Praise the LORD. Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heavens. Praise Him for His acts of power; praise Him for His surpassing greatness. Praise Him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise Him with the harp and lyre, praise Him with tambourine and dancing, praise Him with the strings and flute, praise Him with the clash of cymbals, praise Him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD."
In other words, use everything you have to praise the LORD, your God. Praise Him with everything in you. Praise Him with enthusiasm, with joy, with shouting and with clapping and with ... dancing?? Praise Him with trumpets, cymbals, strings and flutes and tambourine and harps. Use it all to praise the LORD. Lift up your voices and shout for joy. Give Him PRAISE!!
THANK YOU, LORD, for this morning!! A visitor to Lighthouse this morning commented, "I didn't know THIS existed in Allendale." I thank God that Lighthouse is not the only body of believers in Allendale or in West Michigan. But it does seem that God is doing something very special in our midst. It has been an "interesting" year. The reaction of the body at Lighthouse could have been much different than it has been. Today there is excitement, enthusiasm and joy as we rejoice in God's faithfulness and look forward to the future in anticipation of what God will do in us and through us.
This morning we praised the Lord. This morning we heard the testimony of a young girl as she confessed her faith in Jesus Christ and committed her life to Him. This morning we prayed for people going through struggles. We prayed for our brothers and sisters in Pakistan who are currently facing severe persecution. We gave thanks for answered prayers and we lifted our voices as we sang, "Nothing Is Impossible!" Because "You (God) Are Good ALL the Time," "It Is Well With My Soul!" And, oh yes, "He loves us, OH, how He loves us."
Do you wonder how many, or how few, people KNOW that God loves them? How few people today have experienced God's love in Christ? How many people today KNOW that their sins are forgiven and that they HAVE eternal life? So many are being deceived or just do not know or care to know God because their hearts remain closed and in bondage to the spiritual death in which they exist. As we worship, as we give thanks, as we praise Him ... as we trust Him and find Him always faithful, others languish in fear and despair and anxiety, unaware that they could find peace and hope and joy if only they would draw near to God through His Son Jesus Christ.
At the end of our worship today I read some verses from Paul's prayer for the believers in Ephesus in Ephesians 3:17-19: "I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to KNOW this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." To know the love of God in Christ is to know that life is worth living when it is lived for Him. It is knowing God loves YOU, and then loving Him back.
I pray that YOU will know the glorious love of God and be moved to praise, to worship, to join with God's people often and to lift up your voice in praise to the LORD, the Creator of the universe! While all of life is worship in the sense of living in God's presence and living for His glory, we will one day stand with angels as we praise our God. Until then, we invite you to join us at Lighthouse as we PRAISE the LORD!!