Have you ever heard someone say, “I can worship God anywhere”? I have heard it, and I’ve even said it myself before. Usually that seems to mean someone either has other things to do at normal church worship times or they just don’t want to go to church to worship with others. This article is not intended to tackle that issue, but it does help me with my topic today.
The Psalmist lets us see the ‘geography’ of his heart and spirit when he wrote, “In my distress I cried to the Lord…” (120:1) His heart was in an anxious, difficult place. However, he also lets us know where he was literally, “I dwell in Meshech…I dwell among the tents of Kedar!” Meshech was a far away place filled with a hostile people. Kedar was a nomadic, wondering people.
Next we see the worshiper in the valley looking up to the hills/mountains of Israel as he was thinking about Jerusalem (his place of worship), “I will lift up my eyes to the hills…” (121:1) Finally, we see the worshiper “Our feet have been standing within your gates, O Jerusalem!” (122:2)
Do you see the worshiper’s geography? Distress was in him and he was far away from God (Temple). Why was he in a far away place with a hostile people, wondering aimlessly in the desert? Does this describe people today? Here is my thought. Yes, it does describe people today, but it is not limited to only non-church goers. People can be faithful church attenders and doers, but they are still in a far away place with the wrong people aimlessly living life with no feeling of the presence of God or His power. On the outside they are “right”, but on the inside they are “in distress”.
The key to our geography is seeing where we are and turning our eyes toward where we need to be, i.e. Jerusalem, The Temple, the Presence of God. I know God is everywhere, but it is also true that He awaits our return to Him in worship. He will meet us where we are, but He will never be satisfied with that. He will lead us to where we need to be: where He is!
The road leading to where He is can be very difficult and even dangerous, but remember how the worshiper was comforted as he faced this journey, “My help (in getting through the mts.) comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.” (121:2) The God of creation has more than enough power to comfort me where I am, lead me to Himself and create in me the heart of a worshiper!
Do you see the difference in the geography of the worshiper’s heart, “I was glad when they said to me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.”? This is in stark contrast to, “In my distress…” where he started. Sometimes the geography of where we are literally in our everyday living & who we are living life with is a reflection of where we are inside our spirit, and quite frankly sometimes it does not. Either way, here is the question: Am I a worshiper? Really?