Celebrating God’s Gift of Mercy
This week’s post continues my series of “Celebrating Jesus.” I want to focus on celebrating His mercy to the humble with this specific post. Our worship of Him is how we celebrate this mercy.
God alone is worthy of our worship. He doesn’t need to give us reasons. Being who He is alone is more than enough for our worship and praise. God is the Creator, and we are part of what has been created. When we stay humble enough to keep this in the proper perspective, God the Father has great blessings for us, most importantly His Son, Jesus Christ!
My mind goes to two different places of Scripture when I meditate on God’s mercy towards the humble. I think Luke 1:46-49 is a great place to start. That being said, the more we dig into what Mary is saying, I think we have to take a look at Psalm 84:1-4. Let’s take a look at how Mary starts her song of praise.
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”
Notice the humbleness in Mary’s words. She doesn’t do any explaining. Instead, she gets straight to the point, short and sweet. Mary doesn’t provide details and methods of magnifying the Lord. Instead, she just wants Elizabeth to know how much Mary rejoices in God.
Mary doesn’t brag about how she goes about being humble. What matters is that it has grabbed God’s attention. The passage doesn’t describe how Mary is going to be blessed. Instead, we read that this is how she will be known throughout every generation. But what’s important is how mighty and holy He is. Her entire song focuses on celebrating and worshiping God, both who He is and what He’s done.
Now let’s take a look at Psalm 84:1-4.
“How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise!”
Notice the same humbleness and worship used by the psalmist and Mary. All of the detail is about how great God is. While the passage in Psalms describes more of God’s character and personality, both passages are about who He is and what He has done. We read words such as King, God, Savior, holy, each of which leads us to be blessed. Both the psalmist and Mary make much of God and very little of themselves.
As Christians living in America in 2022, I think there is a lot we can learn from the psalmist and Mary. So I want to wrap up this week’s post by looking at three areas that will help us celebrate God’s mercy to the humble.
What is worship?
According to the Westminister Dictionary of Theological Terms, worship is “The service of praise, adoration, thanksgiving, and petition directed toward God through actions and attitudes. Christian worship is Trinitarian in form as praise is offered to God through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Worship is not the songs we sing on Sunday morning as a Sunday service begins. Sure, this is a way of worshiping and celebrating Jesus. Still, there’s no way we can worship God the way we previously read if we limit this time to twenty minutes on Sunday morning. Worship is not a period of time. It’s a way of life.
As followers of Jesus Christ, everything we do is an opportunity to worship Him. The decisions we make, the examples we set, and how we speak. Even our performance at work is an opportunity to worship God. We clearly see this in Psalm 84 when we recognize exactly who the sons of Korah are. They were gatekeepers. Still, they had the presence of mind to know that God is into the details of how we worship Him.
Worship is how we respond to God. Regardless of how good or bad things are, despite the circumstances and situations, no matter how severe the persecution may seek, He is the Creator. We were created out of His great love for us, not His need. This fact is deserving of our praise and worship.
Learning to Be Humble
The Bible is full of verses reminding us to be humble, especially with how we view God. One of my favorites will always be Matthew 5:3.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
I don’t think there’s a better way to describe being humble before God than being poor in spirit. Unfortunately, this is a humbleness we’re unable to demonstrate until we can feel our own spiritual poverty and still experience God’s mercy, grace, and love for us.
The two passages we looked at in this post use words such as servant, sparrow, and swallow. Servant is used instead of the word child of God. The psalmist uses two common birds who seek and find refuge in Him. Both passages use humble proximity to God to describe a relationship with Him. We have to be willing to do the same.
Christianity is not a works-based religion. There is nothing we can do to earn our way into heaven. We only receive this through our faith in Jesus Christ. Therefore, we have a great need for Him. God will never need anything from any of us. It is only through His great love that we are able to love Him. As basic as these statements may seem as you read, these facts have to be present in our minds anytime we are worshipping God. We are not doing God a favor. Instead, our worship is one of the ways He blesses us. Humbleness is needed to truly experience this blessing and love.
Dwelling in the House of God
“Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise.”
We read verses like Psalm 84:4 all throughout the Old Testament. They are why many people can’t wait to attend church every Sunday morning. But, here’s the thing too many of us fail to realize. The house of God is not a location. It’s not the building we congregate in every weekend. As Christians, we can dwell in the house of God simply by enjoying His presence.
Any time we are with God in Him, we are dwelling in the house of the Lord. This happens during praying, while we read our Bibles, and everything we do to spend time alone with Jesus. We don’t receive these blessings by being at a specific place at a particular time. Instead, God blesses us through His presence.
His presence is our safety and sanctuary. The psalmist’s soul wasn’t longing for architecture. He was fainting for the presence of God. We are also created to desire experiencing God. This is part of how we celebrate Jesus Christ!