1 O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.
Israel was invited to come together to worship God. The Lord had shown Himself worthy of praise and adoration. In what better way could the Israelites demonstrate their love and thankfulness to Him than in coming together as one in worship? Surely they would themselves be strengthened in the faith by banding together with a common focus and a common purpose with their worship being grounded in God’s Word.
Their worship was directed to the one true God who was above all of the manmade gods. They were to exalt the One who was their maker and their daily caretaker. Their hearts and minds were to be centered on the great God and King who held their eternity in His hands. What a powerful setting for honoring God and what a tremendous source of strength and comfort for the worshippers.
Worship has always been a vital part of the lives of God’s people. We go back to the Patriarchal age and find faithful servants of God worshipping Him (Genesis 4:4; 12:8; 28:18-22, et al.). They worshipped Him during the Mosaic period (Exodus 20:1ff; et al.). Today faithful Christians worship him according to the New Testament pattern (John 4:23-24; Hebrews 10:24-25).
There are many blessings to be found in worshipping God. As it relates to the subject of comfort, one of these blessings is the fact that in worship we turn our attention away from self and toward the Lord. Comfort is hard to find if we only focus on ourselves and our sorrows. Turning to God in worship affords us the opportunity to look upward and set heart and mind on the One who can help us handle our troubles and provide the comfort we so desperately desire.
Fellowship is also rich in blessings. There are many “one another” passages in the Bible that show us how much we have to gain in fellowship with those of like precious faith (John 13:34; 15:12,17; Galatians 5:13; 6:2; Ephesians 4:2,32; Colossians 3:13,16; I Thessalonians 4:18; 5:11; Hebrews 3:13; 10:24,25; I Peter 1:22; I John 3:11,23; 4:7,11; II John 5). Paul seems to sum it up in his statement in Romans 12:10. “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.”
When combined, worshipping God in fellowship with faithful children of His allows us to direct our focus upward while at the same time benefiting from the participation and encouragement of those around us who themselves are benefiting from their worship to the Lord. In short, gathering for worship is a marvelous tool for helping us handle life’s troubles.
In this book I’ve tried not to give a lot of personal examples but I find it necessary here because of how much strength and comfort my wife, Shannon and I gained from this fellowship during her illness and how much I continue to benefit from it now that she’s gone. Worshipping with the saints had long been a regular practice in our home as well as in the homes in which we grew up. Assembling with the church never became trite or boring. These times were opportunities to which we looked forward.
How well I remember one particular Sunday in the autumn of 2009. Due to her illness, Shannon had not been able to assemble with the church for worship for several weeks. On this particular Lord’s day she was well enough to go. As the first hymn began to be led, Shannon and I both joined in with the rest of the congregation. What her professionally trained voice lacked in strength at that moment was made up for with her heart. I looked at her as we sang. I’ll never forget the smile on her face and the tears of joy in her eyes as she looked back at me. She was there in worship with the church. The soul-soothing strength it brought her could never be measured.
After Shannon’s passing, I found myself, like all who grieve, having my good days and my bad days. I kept a daily journal of what I was feeling. After a couple of months I went back and read my entries and noticed a pattern. The best days I had in the time immediately following Shannon’s death were Sundays and Wednesdays, those days of the week in which the church assembled for worship and Bible classes. The same is true as I write these words today.
The Lord knew there would be tremendous value in Christians worshipping together. That’s why He commanded it. Paul wrote, “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:23-25). We know by example that the New Testament church met together for worship every first day of the week (Acts 20:7; I Corinthians 16:1,2). To be able on a regular basis to get away from the world and focus on our wonderful God and to do it with those who love Him and His Word is joyful and peaceful.
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