Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Psalm 43: Put Your Hope in God



KEY TEXT: Psalms 43:3-5 Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. 

KEY THOT: The end-goal of our salvation is not our spiritual, emotional and mental well-being. These are just means to the greater goal: to be at "your holy hill and your dwelling!" (v.3). What are we supposed to do there? "I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God" (v.4). Worship: that's our destination and our destiny. Jesus himself said, "But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him" (John 4:23). Not workers for God but worshipers of God. God doesn't need us to work for Him, for all the works are done in and through His Son. He is looking for worshipers! Only we who are His created beings can give that to Him!

Worship is something only God can receive. The great debate about contemporary vs. contemplative worship starts on the wrong premise: it's a debate about personal preferences in worship. But we forget we are not the consumers of worship--only God is. We are not gods; only God is God. The right question is not our preference in worship. The right--and real--question is: what is God's preference in worship? The answer Jesus gave us has nothing to do with styles, but with substance: "worship the Father in spirit and in truth." The heart of worship is really about the state of the hearts, not the state of the arts.  

All the debates about worship styles are just human preferences based on our own cultural exposure and religious upbringing. True worship rises about culture and nurture. It focuses on the substance of worship, not the style.

Worship that truly pleases God focuses our hearts on God and thereby renews our hope in God: "Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God" (v.5). So, if you are downcast (depressed), go to the "holy hill" where real worship in spirit and in truth is happening. Sing your hearts out to God. Affirm His greatness and glory. And in that place, your hope in God will be restored. Your depression will be lifted by your renewed vision of God.

Abba-Father, You are not seeking worship but worshipers--believers who praise You because they believe and trust in You. Amen.

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