Yesterday I posed the question “Who is this Christ we worship?” A good way to get to know about God and Jesus Christ is by reading the bible as an account of how people in the past have viewed the Divine. The Lord can speak to us not only by our reading the actual words of the bible but through the bible as the Spirit speaks to us.
“Praise the Lord!
How good it is to sing praises to our God; for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting.” (Psalms 147:1)
One if the natural consequences of reading the words of God in the bible and the words spoken to our hearts and spirits is that we praise God. And as we read about God and hear God, we learn more.
“The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the broken-hearted, and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. (Verses 2-4)
And the more we learn, the more we praise God.
“Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure. The Lord lifts up the downtrodden; he casts the wicked to the ground.
Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre.
He covers the heavens with clouds, prepares rain for the earth, makes grass grow on the hills. He gives to the animals their food, and to the young ravens when they cry. His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the speed of a runner; but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.” (Verses 5-11)
As we read the bible we need to remember that the acts of God recounted in the bible was important to the people then. But God and Christ are in our present world, and if we would have eyes that see and an understanding of God, we would see that the Lord is just as active in the world today as the psalmist portrays the God of biblical times.
Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion!
For he strengthens the bars of your gates; he blesses your children within you. He grants peace within your borders; he fills you with the finest of wheat. He sends out his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly. He gives snow like wool; he scatters frost like ashes. He hurls down hail like crumbs— who can stand before his cold? He sends out his word, and melts them; he makes his wind blow, and the waters flow. He declares his word to Jacob, his statutes and ordinances to Israel. He has not dealt thus with any other nation; they do not know his ordinances.
Praise the Lord! (Verses 12-20)
The Psalms Passage for celebration of the Presentation of the Lord is Psalm 84 or alternatively, Psalm 24:7-10. The Psalm 24 section is repetitive enough that you can imagine it as a song of praise.
“Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in.
Who is the King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory.” (Psalm 24:7-10)
Psalm 84 is also written in praise of God and speaks of the nature of God. It is a more personal praising where the psalmist speaks more of emotions and sentiments held in one’s heart.
“How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.” (Psalm 84:1-2)
I would encourage you, beloved reader, to read for yourself Psalm 84 and ask if you would echo the psalmist’s feelings . . .
“For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than live in the tents of wickedness.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield; he bestows favour and honour.
No good thing does the Lord withhold from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts, happy is everyone who trusts in you.” (Verses 10-12)