“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures for ever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.”
- Psalm 100
Often life has a way of taking us away from the simplicity of who we are and who God is; this could be current circumstances, trials, worries, temptations or often just the busyness of life. Before we know it we allow the noise of life to drown out the quietness and peace that comes from spending time in the presence of God. It's very easy to be drawn away from the joy of sitting at the feet of our Creator and gazing in the face of our Father God!
In the New Testament there's a great picture of this when Jesus called Peter to climb out of the boat and walk towards Jesus. Everything was fine when he kept his focus on Jesus who had just called him out; but as he began to walk he became distracted by the size and noise of the waves surrounding him. While our eyes our fixed on Him we can walk on top of the waves, but when we turn our gaze away from Him that's when we start to sink.
Psalm 100 shows us something about what it means to worship the Lord. In just five verses God is referred to 15 times - it's almost as if the psalmist is emphasising where the focus of our worship should be! As we place our attention on God and His characteristics we begin to see a fresh side to His nature and we cannot help but respond with songs of joy.
King David wrote something similar when he said, “Oh magnify the Lord with me, let us exalt His name together.” At the time David was a wanted man on the run from Saul, hiding in caves and fleeing for his life - if anyone had distractions to take Him away from worshipping God it was him! Nevertheless David declared “Oh magnify the Lord with me”, and sometimes that's exactly what we need to do. As we actively make the choice to magnify God, we become overwhelmed once again by His goodness and faithfulness. Then out of that place of fresh revelation we once again begin to shout with songs of joy!
One of the lyrics from our latest recording says, “I choose to look on the beautiful King, I will lift up my eyes.” Lets make that choice in our worship to lift our gaze above our circumstances and place our focus back on the object of our worship - our great God and Saviour, the Beautiful King.