“Worship is the appropriate place for us to bring our greatest grief and deepest suffering into the presence of God.” I read the words, by author J. David Pleins in his book The Psalms: Songs of Tragedy, Hope and Justice, with a touch of incredulity. He can’t be serious! I thought.Read More
At the time when Jesus was born Palestine was part of the Roman Empire, and ruled by Herod the Great. Herod was an Edomite, and considered himself a Jew, but his commitment was disputed by the Jewish leaders, partly on the grounds of his lifestyle. It’s possible that Herod had up to ten wives and over 15 children at the time.Read More worship, angel, dream
Have you ever felt overwhelmed with awe during an encounter with the natural world? God’s creation is designed to reveal God to us (compare Psalm 19; Romans 1), so it is not surprising that it can produce in us feelings of awe. Whether it is breathtaking scenery, observing animal life, seeing the night sky full of stars, or watching the sheer power of a mighty storm, nature has the God-given ability to make us aware of how small we are in comparison with the universe.Read More creation, worship, awe, beauty
Young love. I remember when I fell in love with the man who is now my life partner and lawfully wedded husband as if it was yesterday. I couldn’t wait to see him. My heart longed to love him. I spoke of him and sang his praises everywhere I went to whoever crossed my path. I loved spending time with him, often over a good meal. I would think of him before I went to sleep, and when I woke up I was thankful for a new day so I could spend more time with him.Read More singing, worship
As God’s people travel en masse up to worship their God in Jerusalem their pilgrim song rises more strongly, more clearly. It is a song that encircles the people and draws them together as one voice.
Have you ever been in a crowd that is heading someplace? Like a crowd streaming into a big hockey game or a hot band concert or a march of protest or a celebration parade?Read More trust, worship
The Psalmist invites Israel to be happy and shout to God who makes them strong. In the first five verses he reminds them that worship is mandatory, a commandment given to Jacob’s descendants when God led them out from the land of Egypt.
His voice shifts in verse six.Read More worship, relationship, excuses, pay attention
“Tell us what you think! Should we pay taxes to the Emperor or not?”
The Pharisees’ followers and Herod’s supporters posed this trick question to Jesus. The unusual cooperation between these two groups meant only one thing – they felt national interests were threatened. They became allies solely to bring Jesus down, and he knew it.Read More worship, human laws, treason
When God reveals himself he often prepares the way by telling his people what he will do, then he does it, and then he explains what he has done. We get an excellent example of this in the passage before us. In chapter 19 the Lord told Israel that he would come and speak with them, in chapter 20 he gave Israel his law, in following chapters he will expound his law and its implications for their lives.Read More worship, holiness