Attendance and worship are not the same. Not only does God expect His children to be in the habit of attending worship services (Hebrews 10:25), He also requires that such a habit results in acceptable worship—done in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). Drawing near to worship with your body while your mind is far from God is unacceptable.
Psalms 120 to 134 are given the superscription of being “Psalms of Ascent”. They are titled such because they were sung or chanted as the Jews walked up the inclined paths that led into Jerusalem. They served the extremely practical purpose of preparing the descendants of Abraham for worship.
The first of these psalms—Psalm 120—focuses upon the blessings of worship. Here are four that are found in this psalm:
- Reassurance. “In my distress I cried to the Lord, and He heard me” (v. 1). Genuine worship of our distress-seeing, prayer-answering Sovereign Father soothes and calms a troubled soul. What right thinking saint would want to miss this wonderful blessing of worship?
- Refuge. “Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips and from a deceitful tongue. What shall be given to you, or what shall be done to you, you false tongue? Sharp arrows of the warrior, with coals of the broom tree” (vv. 2-4). Spiritual worship is a wondrous refuge from the persecution and pollution of evil. Worshiping with brethren of like precious faith who value truth spoken in love over lies and deceit helps us to properly cope with and respond to the stresses and distresses of life. What right thinking saint would want to miss this wonderful blessing of worship?
- Remembrance. “Woe is me, that I dwell in Meshech, that I dwell among the tents of Kedar!” (v. 5). For the child of God, life is a pilgrimage of faith. We are “tent dwellers” because this world is not our home. We are to be about the business of laying up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21). How easy it is to forget this essential truth about life. What right thinking saint would want to miss this wonderful blessing of worship?
- Renewal. “My soul has dwelt too long with one who hates peace. I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war” (vv. 6-7). Spiritual warfare is a perpetual fact of life. The war between good and evil ever rages. Unless we surrender, our spiritual battles will not stop until we die. God’s emphatic expectation is that we stand and fight tenaciously (Ephesians 6:10-13). Worship provides an oasis of renewal to the battle-weary soldier of God. What right thinking saint would want to miss this wonderful blessing of worship?