I had the privilege of attending an Auburn-Alabama college football game in the early 1900’s, courtesy of my good friend and missionary colleague, Al Baker. He was then the director of Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship at the University of Alabama (“Roll Tide!” right Al?).
The atmosphere at the game (that year held in Birmingham) was loud and electric during the pre-game festivities, the actual game, and the postgame. I do not remember who actually won the game all these years later, but I remember what I felt being there and then. It was almost as if the fans from both sides were given the following instructions: “This is the most important game of your life. This is the game you have been waiting for all year long. No excuses. Get out there and clap and cheer as loud and as long as you can. There should be no doubt who will win, so give everything you’ve got.”
I never experienced such a loud and raucous environment for sixty minutes. No one sat down (except for me and a few senior adults in my section). Everyone cheered passionately for their team. Clearly, Auburn and Alabama football fans take their football seriously.
Read Psalm 100.
The songwriter of Psalm 100 took his allegiance to the Lord seriously. I think he felt an obligation to his audience to urge them to do the same.
In the first verse he exclaimed, “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.”
In verse two he added, “Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.”
In verse three, “Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.”
In verse four, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.”
In verse five, he concludes with, “For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continue through all generations.”
The writer wanted the people of the Lord to freely express their praise to Him for who He is – the covenant God of Israel – the God over all other so-called gods. The Israelites were called to focus their energies on Him and His goodness.
God’s goodness and overall character alone should motivate us to freely express our love and allegiance to Him with shouts of joy. Even if God did nothing else, who He is demands our upmost reverence and worship. What other Being deserves such acclamation and honor?
This means that even the most reserved among us need to lift their voice, push back general restraints due to their personality, and learn how to express themselves to the One True and Mighty God. Those of us who are generally more expressive in our praise to God may miss the beauty of silence and therefore need to pursue the value of reflection and quietness at times.
As we approach the celebration of our Savior’s birth this Christmas, let us understand worship is a time to focus on our Creator, Redeemer, Shepherd, and King. Grow devotionally. May all of us celebrate who He is and what He has done. Our thoughts about God should lead to praise.
Love is a verb,
©2017 by Mike Olejarz