I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the Lord.” (Psalm 122:1)
The Joy Of Worship
David never saw the temple of God in all its glory as this house of God would be constructed by his son, Solomon. The place of worship for David was the same since the days at Mount Sinai when Moses gave command to build the tabernacle according to pattern given by God. After many years of use, the tabernacle would not have been as bright and beautiful as it had been previously. Israel worshipped the Lord in the wilderness before the tabernacle and the priest carried the elements of the house of God across the Jordan River into the promised land. The house of God saw many changes as the land was conquered and finally settled in the days of Joshua. Through the years of the Judges men did what was right in their own sight. Samuel was the prophet who ordained Saul and David as king. There was a longing in the heart of David to build a great temple for the Lord but was prohibited from its building as he was a man of war. Yet the yearning of David was such when he went to worship the Lord at that ancient, worn and simple place called the tabernacle it was a most joyous occasion for the son of Jesse.
Written as a psalm of ascents, the words of David ascribed the joy of going to the place of the Lord to engage in a time of holy worship. The heart of the king was very keen on the meaning of gathering with the people of God to bring worship before Him. It was not a drudgery of keeping commandments inscribed by the Lord in the days of Moses. Going to Zion to worship in song and instruments was not a purpose of boredom for David. He loved to bring his heart to the throne of God and praise his God with all his might. He would not take for granted the joy of being in the house of the Lord. The sights and smells of the tabernacle worship thrilled the heart of David as the people followed the instructions of the priest in offering sacrifices and sweet incense before the Lord that saved them. He was glad when it was time to go and worship on the holy mount of Zion. David knew the value of worship and it thrilled his heart to be a part of such a grand scale of giving praise to his loving God.
The tabernacle is long gone and the temple of Solomon gathered in the dust of lost generations. Jesus came to earth and brought salvation to all men in the church which is now the house of the Lord. God’s people gather together as the body of Christ each first day of the week to worship and praise the same Lord David served at the tabernacle. The question that must be asked is whether the heart still rings true to say what a joy it is to go to the house of the Lord. Being with the people of God is the most joyous occasion a person will find this side of eternity. There is no higher fulfillment given to men than what they will find when they gather with fellow saints in worship at the house of God. Jerusalem is no longer the place of worship as Christ built the church representing all the places in the world where Christians assemble as one to lift up voices of praise to the everlasting Father, commune in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, petition the Father in prayer and examine the powerful words of the gospel in teaching and preaching.
There is nothing that a person can find of greater joy than to go to the house of the Lord and share with God’s people the eternal blessings of collective worship. The church struggles with those who find little joy in gathering with the saints. We live in a world filled with opportunities and ease to come for worship and yet there are many who find little joy being with God’s people. Time is set aside to study the Bible in organized classes to help stir the soul to greater knowledge but many are not glad to be a part of that. Sunday morning worship seems to be the only fulfillment many give as they are not glad to gather on Sunday evening to sing songs of praise and worship the Lord. It seems their gladness can only take one hour on Sunday morning. The middle of the week is an opportunity offered to be together and commune in the word of God but fewer still find joy in attending. Other works of the church are scarcely a part of their lives as they have greater joy in worldly matters than coming to the house of God. It all comes down to whether a person has the joy of the Lord to be a part of the worship with the people of God. The world crowds the heart and joy is lost. David wrote in his journal, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord.’” Are you glad?