26 Aug 2013

What the "Assembly" is "About in the Psalms: Special Attention to Ps 95

Author: Bobby Valentine | Filed under: A Gathered People, Exegesis, Hebrew Bible, Holy Spirit, Kingdom, Psalms, Spiritual Disciplines, Worship

In Scripture a Spiritually minded worshiper comes to the assembly (i.e. gathering) of the People of God desiring five things:
1) The worshiper desires to come into the Presence of God (cf. 27.4,8; 42.1-2; 63.1;
2) The worshiper desires to experience the forgiveness of God (32.1-5; 51.10-12; Isa. 6.1-7)
3) The worshiper desires to give God a gift (Deut. 16.16; Ps. 69.30-31; 107.21-22; Heb. 13.15)
4) The worshiper desires to promise God something (Ps. 116; 119.57-64)
5) The worshiper desires to edify fellow worshippers and to be edified him/herself (Ps. 22.25; Heb.
    3.12-13; 10.25)
From Psalm 95 we learn a way of structuring the assembly/gathering.  This structure helps to highlight the themes listed above:
1) Invitation/Call to Worship (Ps. 95.1)
Here “we” invite others to join in the worship of God. This is not responding to the Gospel but responding to the mandate to worship God.  This begins the gathering/assembly.  Songs like “O Come Let Us Adore Him”; “We Bring the Sacrifice of Praise;” and “O Worship the King” fall could be used in this section of worship.
2) Engagement (Ps. 95.1b-2)
Here the service turns from calling others to worship to focusing upon God himself. This phase of the gathering contain songs about God.  His greatness, grace, love, etc, are themes for this phase.  Songs like “Awesome God”; “Thank You, Lord”; “Our God He is Alive” contribute to this theme.
3) Exaltation (Ps. 95.3)
This is similar to #2 but nuances it by “placing” God on the throne.  In this movement we are in essence proclaiming God’s Lordship.  Songs like “Majesty”; “Mighty Is Our God;” “We Exalt Thee”; “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name.”
4) Adoration (Ps. 95.6)
 Adoration is generally quieter, slower, reflective or meditative.  Songs that could contribute to this movement are almost exclusively in the first person addressing God directly with “I” or “we.” “On Bended Knee”; “We Bow Down”; “Christ, We do All Adore Thee.”
5) Intimacy (Ps. 95.7b)
 Here we express our love for, our longing to do God’s will and our desire to be with him.  Songs like “Abide with Me”; “I Want to be Where You Are”; “As the Deer”; “I Need Thee Every Hour.”

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