As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? (Psalm 42:1-2 ESV)
If you read the Psalm above in its entirety along with Psalm 43 you understand that the psalmist is singing a lament for corporate worship that expresses his desire to worship in the sanctuary despite the pressure and ridicule he may be experiencing from others for doing so.
This psalm reminds me of the urgency and passion that is necessary when the faithful seek to worship God corporately. Our soul must be thirsty for God. Why? Because he is the LIVING God – we do not serve a God that is not alive – that does not seek to meet us in the sanctuary and fill us with presence!
Why is this important? Why is corporate worship necessary? Because it is through the gathering together, the sharing in hymns and spiritual songs, the encouraging and edifying together that we receive strength and vitality to continue on the race. Therefore, it behooves us not to approach the sanctuary of God as if we are engaging in a chore or duty – but rather through devotion and joy to come together to worship at his feet. We cannot bring bitterness, envy and strife into God’s presence. We cannot consume ourselves with personalities and egos when we enter into God’s presence. Attendance at church is not about outfits and choirs, who has the best oratory skills or who has the best ministry plan. Corporate worship is about panting for the spring of life that flows from God’s Spirit into our corporate and individual souls. Take that urgency with you the next time you enter into his sanctuary – appear before him open and ripe to receive the many blessings he has there waiting just for you!