Come Bless the Lord

Come, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord,
    who stand by night in the house of the Lord! Psalm 134:1

What can I say about today’s monthly outdoor worship at Sunshine Christian Retirement Village? It was cold (by Florida standards) and we were old! The breezy not quite 60 degree weather had us shivering between hymns – but God showed up! We sang, heard each other’s prayer requests and heard from the word. At the beginning of this New Year it seemed wholly appropriate to begin by singing A Mighty Fortress is Our God. Between chattering teeth, Luther’s classic hymn reminded us that opposition to the church is not unusual, in fact it has been standard operating procedure throughout the centuries.

Then we began the praise chorus from Psalm 134, “Come Bless the Lord.” In order to understand what the Psalmist wrote it is important to know that these servants were specifically chosen from the family of Asaph and their duty was both to guard and to give praise to the Lord in the temple both day and night. In this Psalm these musicians and guards had their duties at night, so maybe you could think of them as third shift worshipers!

Are you going through a dark third shift night in your life? Maybe during this time, God is giving you the opportunity to be one of his special servants who stand by night. Maybe your praise in the nighttime seasons gives God the opportunity to show others His grace and glory in a world that so desperately needs the light of the love of Jesus Christ. If you have not heard this little chorus I have posted a fun link to listen to. It is one of my favorites. God bless you and have a blessed Lord’s day as you stand both day and night in the house of the Lord!

Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the Lord! May the Lord bless you from Zion, he who made heaven and earth! Psalm 134: 2-3

The Whole Armor of God

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. Ephesians 6:10-11

Some of us have memories of our Sunday-school teacher illustrating this verse by showing the class a brightly colored plastic sword and shield. The scene may bring a nostalgic smile to our face, but to the people of the Apostle Paul’s day, armor was no laughing matter. Every part of a Roman soldier’s armor was as essential to staying alive as a bullet proof vest is to any soldier on a 21st century battlefield.

Paul lists 6 pieces of armor: the belt of truth, the footwear of being prepared by the gospel, the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation, the shield of faith, the sword of the spirit and last a communications device called prayer. But in the middle of a conflict it is easy to just grab on to on one or two pieces and run into battle half dressed. We think that we will be okay because we have spent plenty of time reading the Bible so even if our faith is a bit weak or we haven’t taken time to pray we hope we’ll get by.

Unfortunately our spiritual enemy doesn’t think the way that we do. He is not planning to attack our areas of strength but at our weakest point. He doesn’t fight by the rules and stays focused on our spiritual destruction. But we don’t need to panic because we aren’t dependent on our own resources. Today we can rejoice because we know two things for certain: God is the manufacturer of the best armor on earth and He has promised to never abandon us in battle!

I really enjoyed this rendition by David Wesley of the song that best tells us how this great spiritual battle will be won. May God bless you as you stand on your own field of conflict next to the mightiest of all warriors – the Son of God!