Just Between Us
After probing and looking more deeply into Psalm 96, you should be confident that the message of this song describes the personal and missional aspects of worship. From our perspective, worship is intimate and private—“Just between me and God.” And in one sense, that is the way it should be. No one else can judge our hearts or evaluate our offering but the Lord alone. As this is happening, however, worship takes on a missional aspect as well, calling the nations to come and worship God. Worship is critical to missions. In the local church context, we gather to worship. We are a collection of personal worshippers united to pray, praise and proclaim the glory of God and the gospel. In that proclamation is a call to the nations to recognize who God is and an invitation to come and join the song.
As we look at this Psalm we can say it’s our song because of the timelessness of its scope. When we think about worship today and doing so until the Lord returns, what ought to guard our hearts is the purpose of worship. Here the Psalm informs us that we are not only invited into the history of this song, to bring the past into our present, by praising the power and majesty of God, but we are also remembering our mission to those near us and far away. This song reminds us that there is praise in our worship, certainly, but there's also missions as well as evangelism.
We must be aware of our natural propensity to make worship all about the individual experience. We talk about what “touches me,” what “reaches me,” or what “speaks to me.” We say those things, I believe, with good intentions, but unaware of how they restrict our obedience. I think deep down what we want to arrive at is a heart that, having been touched, can then express a sincere and passionate life of worship. We can speak of this personal response in terms of how that happens on Sunday morning, but what we are really after is how this shapes my offering--my way of life--given to the Lord on a daily basis. My grandfather was fond of saying: “It’s not how high you jump on Sunday but how straight you walk on Monday.”
May we be a church that sees our personal offering as more than a Sunday activity. And may the Lord be pleased to use our devotion to Him as a call to those who have yet to join the worship.