Psalm 42:4 These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng.
It is easy for us today to identify with the ‘Sons of Korah’ fellowship as we read this verse in their song of lament! The ‘house of God’ for them was the Temple in Jerusalem, whereas for us, it is WE who are the ‘temple of God’ (1 Corinthians 3:16). Nevertheless, whatever physical structure or building we might meet in, it is when we COME TOGETHER for corporate worship that we are really encouraged by what it means to BELONG to this ‘temple’ that God is steadily building, with US as ‘LIVING stones’, and Jesus himself as both the foundational CORNERstone and the CAPstone that holds it all together (1 Peter 2:4-10).
During our current season of ‘lockdowns’ we are really beginning to appreciate something that we possibly took too much for granted in the past! How we long for the day when we can, once again, ‘go with the multitude … with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng’.
Perhaps one good thing that might come out of all this stressful, discouraging time is that when we ARE allowed to meet again each Lord’s Day we will JOIN IN the singing of God’s praise, ‘POURING OUT our SOUL’ with more enthusiasm and ‘SHOUTS of JOY’ than we have done previously. Have we realised just how encouraging it is to our fellow worshippers if we sing praise as if we really mean it – or, conversely, how corporately DIScouraging it is if we are only ‘going through the actions’ with our lips and our hearts do not seem to be in it?
“It passes praises, that dear love of thine, my Jesus, Saviour, yet this heart of mine would sing that love, so full, so rich, so free, which brings a rebel sinner such as me nigh unto God. … But though I cannot sing, or tell, or know the fulness of thy love while here below, my empty vessel I may freely bring; O thou, who art of love the living spring, my vessel fill. … And when my Saviour face to face I see, when, at his throne of grace I bend the knee, then, of his love, in all its breadth and length, its height, its depth, its everlasting strength, my soul SHALL SING.” (Mary Shekleton).