Worship as Refuge
- Wednesday, March 05, 2008
King David, of course, understood and rehearsed this truth often in his life. In Psalm 103:1-5, David writes it succinctly for us: “Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
Notice that remembering is an act of worship that calls up to mind the benefits of the Lord to us – he forgives, heals, redeems, crowns, satisfies, and renews – but we can miss it by not remembering it! David says “forget not” which is the same as saying “remember,” so remembering God’s benefits to us is in itself an act of worship that taps into His power source for living right now. It is contact with truth. It is contact with power. It is contact with God Himself and allows all the benefits to flow to you – stop and remember as worship now. Next, find ways to remind your congregation to do the same thing – take a little time each day to remember as worship!
TWO: Worship as Recitation. It seems like David was always surrounded by enemies and people out to get him. Poor guy! There he was -- the anointed King of Israel, the one who blessed the nation like no other king in its history, the one who brought back God’s ark to Jerusalem -- yet he fought battle after battle, conflict after conflict with the enemies of the throne, the nation, and Yahweh, the God of Israel. David was a man of worship and a man of war. Along with remembering the benefits of the Lord, David understood that reciting them out loud was a crucial element in receiving them. We’ve already quoted Psalm 103 where David was stirring up his own soul to recall the benefits of the Lord, but what we should not miss is that David recited these blessings out loud. I can just imagine the lavish halls of the king’s palace filled with the praises of Yahweh as David wandered from room to room and throughout the royal residence shouting and singing God’s benefits! It isn’t always enough to think about the benefits, though that’s a great start – sometimes we’ve got to shout them out at the top of our lungs to begin to sense the faith rising within us again to claim them for our own!
Just the other day I was in my car driving somewhere and I was meditating on this principle. I started speaking out the benefits of God in my life. It started kind of softly and then took on more and more force until I was literally shouting loudly the promises of God to me – I am blessed as I come in, blessed as I go out, God’s son, His anointed and appointed minister, blessed in my finances, blessed as a father, blessed as a husband, able to steward well all that God has entrusted to me, and on and on – louder and louder until I was actually sounding like the most powerful Pentecostal preacher you’ve ever heard! There was a kind of violence to my proclamation as I claimed for myself all that God has said is mine in Christ. I was blessed as I remembered and recited these truths. The benefits of speaking the Word out loud are evident throughout the Bible – Jesus is called “the high priest of our confession” in Hebrews – and Romans 10:17 says that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” – our own faith is built as we literally hear the word, whether it’s coming from our own mouths or someone else’s.
Jesus said in Matthew 12: 34 “… out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks…” Our confession, the words that we speak each day, is a reflection of what’s going on in our hearts. If we’re mulling over and meditating on the works of the Lord, remembering as worship, then our words will reflect the benefits of the Lord and not fear, doubt, and unbelief. This is no “good luck charm” or talisman that wards off evil and makes everything go our way – quite the contrary. What remembering and reciting as worship does for us is keeps us in the flow of God’s wisdom and blessing despite our circumstances and problems. Jesus also said in John 16:33 “In this world you shall have tribulation. But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” In His overcoming, we overcome – but not if we’re not remembering and reciting. This is how we overcome through worship – we remember that He has overcome death, hell, and the grave, and we recite to ourselves and to others these truths daily. Dr. Robert Webber in Worship Is a Verb calls this “rehearsing the Christ event,” and that is literally what we do in individual and corporate worship – we remember, recite, and rehearse the death and resurrection of Christ for us and we benefit! The point is not that we escape suffering anymore than Jesus did on the cross. The point is that we step into His victory in the midst of the worst suffering imaginable.
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