April 9, 2017: Day 99 – Psalm 99

This is a bit of a blast from the past.  The author goes through some of the best and some of the most historic priests in Israel’s history.  He speaks about Moses and Aaron and even throws in Samuel.  He basically says that if these people of God spoke to the Lord and the Lord answered them, then if you speak to the Lord, he will also answer you.  

The cherubim would have been on top of the ark of the covenant, which was the holy of holies and really considered where God resided.  So as this psalmist speaks about the great priests of years past, and the presence of the Lord in the ark of the covenant, then it really seems as if this psalm is a psalm of worship.  

There has always been a major distinction in the worship of the people of Israel, and the worship of the people of the New Covenant, followers of Jesus Christ.  Our primary purpose as disciples of Jesus to gather and worship is not so that we can feel good about being together in one place.  We can do that at a church picnic, which we do, and it works wonderfully.  Our primary purpose of gathering on Sunday morning is so that someone who does not know Jesus just might come to know him and want to give their life to him.  This is so crucial.  If we are just gathering in order to enjoy our time together, that is not worship.  That is just a gathering.  Worship has at its core transformation, worship has at its core the preached sermon, at least for Presbyterians, and that Word ought to transform.  Any other reason may be good for the whole body, but it is not worship.

In the Old Testament the purpose of worship was simply to celebrate the presence of the Lord.  It was not to bring others into the fold, it was to celebrate the presence of the Lord.  Moses and Aaron were also responsible to make sure that the worship of the Lord was done in a correct manner.  The people didn’t have a say in how that was to be done, God entrusted Moses and Aaron to do it.  They were the ones who told the people what type of worship God required.  

That type of mentality existed before the Protestant Reformation came about.  Before the Reformation it was the priests who were allowed to read Scripture and interpret it, and only they were allowed to do that.  With the Reformation everyone was encouraged to read Scripture.  Now worship was still relegated to those who had been trained and studied worship and had experience in worship.  In many ways that is still the case.  We know what we like, but is worship about getting what we like?  Maybe it is, but I wonder.

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