I first started this Joyful Worship series in early 2007 when I was working for the Golf Course Rd Church in Midland. Broadway has asked me to pick it back up again. This article ran in this past Sunday’s church bulletin. I hope you enjoy…
For many years, I kept skimming over a passage in Acts that I didn’t understand. I’m sure you know what I mean. You see something that doesn’t quite make sense, so you keep reading. I was sitting in a class at a retreat a few years ago and found myself listening to a very learned man talking about the very scripture I had so often dismissed. It comes from Acts 15 where James stood up to address the crowd and quoted the prophet Amos.
“After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild,
and I will restore it.”
It was the “David’s fallen tent” reference that had eluded me. I had been raised hearing that David was known as the “man after God’s own heart.” He was the author of many of the Psalms and a man of great compassion. He was also an adulterer and murderer. I honestly had trouble reconciling those two profiles. Was it truly possible to be such a passionate follower of the Lord, called by His name and still make such mistakes?
I believe it was David’s tent that made the difference.
As we know from the book of 1 Samuel, the Ark of the Covenant went on tour throughout the land of the Philistines in 1088 B.C. God proceeded to make them very sorry that they had acquired it and it was sent back to the Israelites within a short period of time. The Ark made it to the border and stayed in the house of Abinadab in Kiriath-jearim for 92 years. At that point, 2 Chronicles 1:4 tells us that David brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem “for he had pitched a tent for it.”
This is interesting for two reasons. First, the Tabernacle of Moses was still in existence at the time. It was sitting in Gibeon, waiting for the return of the Ark. Gibeon was only 6 miles from Jerusalem, but that was apparently 6 miles too far for David.
Secondly, it appears that David had unfettered access to the Ark. The bible speaks of David wearing an ephod, or priestly garments, as the Ark was brought into Jerusalem and set up in the tent he had prepared.
David hired musicians to sing and worship 24-hours a day at the new Tabernacle. At any point, David could step out of his palace, into his courtyard, and enter the presence of the Lord Most High. He was surrounded by the praise of the people, which was centered on God Almighty, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It was David and God. No priest to go between them. No special day once a year to enter the Holy of Holies.
David lived in an intimate atmosphere of worship… and he did so for the next 40 years until his death.
And what does that mean for us? James tells us that David’s fallen tent has been restored. You and I live in the full presence of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. No priest must go between us. Christ Jesus is our High Priest. There is no special day that we must reserve for worship. Our life is our worship.
Worship is more than singing a few songs in a service. It’s more than snacking on a morsel of cracker, sipping some juice and slipping out the back door. Worship is life. Life is worship.
We live inside the resurrected tent of David. The presence of God is always before us.
Lord, give us an awareness of Your presence. May all that we do reflect Your glory and bring praise and honor to Your Holy Name. May our worship be truly joyful.