The Priority of Worship

The Priority of Worship

In my opening days as Executive Director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, I shared my “7 Hopes.” You might want to go back and read those.

My first hope is . . .

Jesus will be exalted.

If we can agree on anything, we should be able to agree that Jesus should be exalted. Jesus is the Head of the Church. If He is the Head of the Church, then He is the Head of the LBC. I look forward to times of gathering when we will together exalt Jesus.

Exalting Jesus is the goal of every Christian and every church. This is both an individual priority and a corporate priority.

Psalms 120-134 are collectively identified as the Songs of Ascent. We do not know the exact background to these Psalms, but we can take some educated guesses which I think are helpful to the overall understanding of the emotion of these Psalms.

The background to Psalm 132 recounts David’s vow to find a place for the ark of God to rest. The importance of this goes all the way back to Exodus 25:21-22.

21 Set the mercy seat on top of the ark and put the testimony that I will give you into the ark. 22 I will meet with you there above the mercy seat, between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the testimony; I will speak with you from there about all that I command you regarding the Israelites.

This is no mere piece of furniture. The ark represented, in this pre-Word of God era (both written Word of God and Word of God made flesh), the presence of God.

The background is further established in 1 Samuel 4-7. In chapter 4, we read that the Israelites were at war with the Philistines. The Israelites made a decision to bring the Ark of the Covenant into the battle thinking that would secure victory. The Philistines routed the Israelites and captured the Ark of the Covenant. When Eli, the judge of Israel for over 40 years, heard that the Ark had been captured, he died. When his pregnant daughter in law heard that her father in law had died and her husband had been killed in battle, and about the Ark, she went into labor. She named the child “Ichabod” meaning “Where is the glory” because she said, “The glory has left Israel.” That’s the significance of this Ark.

In chapters 5-6, we read about the plagues that set in on Philistine towns because of the Ark of the Covenant. The plagues were so bad that they returned the Ark to Israelite territory.

In 2 Samuel 6, we read that one of David’s first acts as king was to return the Ark to the city of David and into the special tent David had prepared. David longed to build a Temple to house the Ark of the Covenant. This Psalm captures that emotion of his longing to do that. So, here’s the basic idea captured by this song.

Worship soars when there is priority and purity.

Some would argue that worship soars when it is polished. No, worship soars when worship is a priority in our lives. Worship soars when there is purity in our lives. The purest worship comes from pure hearts. Worship soars when there is a commitment to the priority of worship before worship begins and a commitment to the purity of continued worship when worship ends.

What would you say about the priority that you place on worship? Better yet, what would those close to you say about the priority of worship in your life? In my life, I can always tell what is a priority in my life by how I spend my time and how I spend my money.

Think about it!