Formations lesson for June 6: Worship Comforts Us : Friday, May 14, 2004
May 14 2004 by Mike Womble

Formations lesson for June 6: Worship Comforts Us : Friday, May 14, 2004
Friday, May 14, 2004

Formations lesson for June 6: Worship Comforts Us

By Mike Womble
Focal passage: Psalm 84

Have you ever been away from home for a long time and became homesick? One time, while living in Nepal as a kid, I became overwhelmed with thoughts from home. I missed hotdogs, friends, TV and my home church. There is nothing like the connection to home. I may have hung my hat in Nepal, but there was no mistake, it was not "home" for me.

The writer of Psalm 84 (David) is up front about his desire to be back in familiar territory, both physically and spiritually. His desire to experience God in the temple is unmistakable.

God's presence is our true home

Psalm 84:1-4

Birds are amazing creatures. Scientists have tracked bird migrations all over the world and have explanations for some of their migration routes. No matter what explanation they give, it is still amazing to know that certain birds always fly to specific areas at just the right time of year.

David writes about sparrows finding a home and nesting (verse 3). He illustrates what it's like to be part of something bigger than oneself - something magnetic and rejuvenating.

His desire to be in the courts of the Lord becomes a driving factor. It overshadows all else and lays the foundation for the simple yet profound verses that follow.

Just as migrating birds find their way to nesting areas, David longs to find his way back to the place where he connects with God most deeply.

Being in the presence of God brings transformation

Psalm 84:5-7

I recently heard a non-Christian say, "Jesus is weird." After a short dialogue, I learned what she was actually trying to express was that she had an incredible encounter with God, but didn't have the "church" language to describe it.

There is synergism in true worship. When we walk through the doors of our place of worship and truly surrender ourselves to God, something is bound to happen. Sometimes it's a "weird" sort of experience that surrounds us (as my friend described). Other times it's a faint, humble nudge from the Holy Spirit.

As the pilgrims went through the valley of Baca (an unknown location) they relied on the renewal of the presence of God to sustain their faith. Wherever Baca was, it represents for us desolate places in our lives. David is referring to the hardships we all go through. For him and his companions, it is in the midst of these hardships that he depends on the transformation received during visits to the holy place.

It would be a fallacy to say that our weekly worship is where we get a fill-up of God. On the contrary, David's description of this journey through the parched areas is a reminder of the significance of developing our own spirituality, while we are on the journey, not just at the pit stops.

God reigns over all

Psalm 84:8-12

My daughter once drew a picture of God that stunned me. God's body was covered with ears. "Why does God have so many ears?" I asked. "So God can listen to all of our prayers," she said, How simple, yet complex an image of God.

David might not have described God with hundreds of ears, but he does resonate with the significance of God listening to our prayers (v. 8). His plea to "...hear my prayer; give ear, oh God of Jacob!" is said with gusto and enthusiasm. David has experienced the touch of God through prayer and knows there's something incredible about it.

In The Message, by Eugene Peterson, we see another incredible image of David longing to be in God's presence. "I'd rather scrub the floors in the house of God then be honored as a guest in the palace of sin" (v. 10). David was willing to do whatever was necessary to experience God.

So what?

Dorothy, from the Wizard of Oz, is known for saying: "There's no place like home." What is it about being at your church that makes it home? How can you use your experience in church this week to place yourself in God's presence?

5/14/2004 12:00:00 AM by Mike Womble | with 0 comments

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