In Psalm 122:1, David writes, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD!'” It was a great pleasure and true joy for David to congregate in the presence of Yahweh. His jubilation at the prospect of going to the house of God to worship is in the same key as the desire of another psalmist. ”
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing...
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!--Psalm 100:1-2, 4
Is this you today? Do you have a heart-racing, blood-pumping desire and joy to go to the house of the Lord to sing his praises and bless his name? Do you have that feeling that an athlete has as he is on his way to the stadium or field or court; the feeling a musician has on her way to a recital? Too often we do not feel like this when we go to the house of the Lord. Such is the curse of living in the cultural Christianity ridden Bible Belt. If you woke up this morning saying, "Well, its Sunday. Time to go to church. I hope the preacher does not take up my whole day!" then you are off base and not in sync with the saints who have gone before you.
Even though we all have the tendency to feel lethargic toward going to the house of the Lord, I know we can experience the same jubilation and express the exact same adoration as the psalmists. O, to have the joy of David over entering the presence of God to worship him in joy. O, to be worshiping with the people of God and adore the King and be delighted to sing the praises due his name. O, to be joyful over the preaching of His Word and to heed the voice of God. I am convinced that this experience of so many psalmists can be ours through proper preparation before worship.
1. Think. Meditate on the glories of the cross and on the character of God himself. It was theology proper that led the psalmist to enter his gates with thanksgiving. “
Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. (Psalm 100:3).
Do not fall into the trap of mindlessly going through the motions. Read the thoughts of a great theologian. Read the truth of Scripture. Sit back and think of your sin, God’s grace, Christ’s work, and the Spirit’s power. To be able to go to the house of the Lord is nothing more than mercy, mercy, mercy! O, God may we think of this often!
2. Pray. We are fallen. We are sinful. Our thoughts even noble thoughts of God are flawed. Our hearts are weary and our attention spans short. Pray for God to give you a lasting and sustained desire for him. Pray that God would fill your heart with truth and joy will follow.
3. Act. Finally, when you do not feel like going to the house of the Lord, go anyway. Do not allow your sin ridden self to keep you from your King. If you cannot enter his gates with joy regardless of the reason, enter his gates anyway and trust his sovereign grace and joy-giving hand to fill your heart with desire and adoration of him. Do not go through the motions for the sake of being seen. Worship out of obedience. But even when you lack joy, obey through the night, for joy comes with the morning (Psalm 30:5).
Today is the first Sunday of the NFL season. Countless players and fans will have increased heart rates and screaming voices and blood racing through their veins. May this same excitement and fervor and passion and joy fill our hearts, minds, souls, and bodies as we go to the house of the Lord to sing his praises and hear his Word. Exalt the King in exalted adoration and satisfaction of him! Think. Pray. Act.
God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. — John Piper