Pastor & songwriter, Pat Sczebel,spoke at our church this past Sunday. Pat is close friends with my boss and it was a joy to have him at SGC for the weekend. His sermon text was Psalm 84. It was an incredible sermon that left me thinking…Do I delight in God’s presence? Do I yearn, long, and get really excited to be with my Father? Commenting on Psalm 84, the ESV Study Bible states:
This is a psalm celebrating pilgrimage to Jerusalem in order to worship at the temple…this one especially focuses on the delight of going to worship there. The purpose of singing this psalm is to cultivate that delight, to open the eyes and hearts of God’s people to the staggering privilege of being a welcome guest in God’s own house, and to write deep into their souls the conviction that wickedness offers no reward that can even remotely compare to the joy and pleasure of God’s house.
Pat had three points in his sermon. As I re-read this passage, three questions (or groups of questions) came to mind:
- In love with the house of God – Am I so in love with my Savior, that it is pure joy to be with Him and His people, my local church?
- En route to the house of God – Do I delight in my God so much that I yearn for Heaven? Do I remember I’m en route? Do I delight so much in my Savior that even the dry or difficult seasons in my life are a joy?
- At home in the house of God – Are my affections so set upon the Holy Trinity, that there is no other place I’d prefer than to be in His presence? Do I find joy, peace, and rest in God’s presence? Do I yearn to be with my Savior?
I often get stuck in my duty. What I should be doing to obey my loving Savior. But, it struck me that if I’m delighting in my God, then I’ll automatically obey my God. If I delight in Him, His presence, and His people, my desires will be bent towards obeying Him.
On a side note, if I delight in God, than I should get pretty excited about Him. And that should affect the way I physically express myself during worship (singing). Yes, use self-control and do not draw undue attention to yourself. But, isn’t it natural (and I would suggest how God made us) to express delight and affection through physical expression? If someone blesses me and gives me a brand new car, folks, you’d see some excitement. (Ad if you have seen my current car, you’d say I have reason to be excited.) I deserve Hell. I deserve wrath. I’ve been redeemed and adopted. I’m forgiven and God’s child. I’m an heir with Jesus Christ. I have an ongoing, never-ending relationship with the God of the Universe. I have unlimited access to the presence of God. Shouldn’t that produce just a little delight? And shouldn’t that delight display itself not only in my obedience to God, but in my physical being? Shouldn’t songs about the gospel and God’s majesty (for example) move me to dance, clap, raise my hands, kneel, etc?
To get back to the beginning…do I delight in my God? Yes, but I want to delight much more than I do!