Pages from The Inspire Bible, NLT, Tyndall House Publishers, Inc.
I’m reading through the Bible (using the method I share in my book, Experiencing the Bible), and a few days ago I came upon a section known as The Psalms of Ascent – Psalms 120-134. The Jews, of course, were required to go up to the Temple at least three time a year to worship, and these are the songs they sang as they walked up the mountain.
You can tell by looking at the picture that I found a lot to think about as I read, but one thing in particular stood out and I can’t let it go..
They were going to the house of the Lord to worship, and they were worshipping on the way!
This is so very different from what we do as modern Christians!
Think about it! We rush around on Sunday morning, scrambling for shoes and hair brushes, working hard to get everyone ready. Then we dash out to the car where there’s a good chance Dad is already waiting (hopefully) patiently. The drive to church is likely an experience in itself, perhaps even including an argument or battling with kids on the way. We may well arrive in the parking lot with only minutes to spare and appear in the sanctuary at the last possible moment, moving quickly to our pew.
This pre-service activity does everything but put us in an attitude of worship. It doesn’t prepare us to come before the King. We may sing, “I will enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart,” but did we really walk in the door with a heart filled with thanksgiving?
They did! These pilgrims had to walk for miles up hill every time they went to the Temple, and they got ready for those special feast days by worshipping God on the way! In Psalm 122:1, we see the declaration, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’”
Yes, they were going to celebrate the feasts in Jerusalem because God required it, but they were going with purpose, with gladness, and they were preparing their own hearts for worship at the Temple by worshipping on the way to the Temple.
How much do we miss out on by not doing the same? How very unprepared we modern Christians are when we enter God’s house!
This is why worship teams have such a hard job. (As a former choir member, I know!) They are supposed to be leading a prepared congregation further into God’s presence; instead they’re having to get an unprepared people just to walk through that first spiritual door.
We need to do better.