Reading: Psalm 42, 43
It is remarkable when we read the New Testament, that when it speaks about showing our thankfulness, that often the congregation of Christ takes an important place in that.
In the Old Testament, the people showed their thankfulness by bringing their tithes, to Jerusalem, and from time to time also to the gates of their towns, so that others could share in their blessings. And their sacrifices of thankfulness were brought to the place where God chose to meet with His people, in the temple. Showing thankfulness was something that also had an important element of communion in it. If we look at Romans 12, for instance, there Paul writes in verse 1:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
And then in the following verses, he speaks about the communion of saints, in which everyone uses his talents and gifts as part of the body. Verse 3 starts with the word ‘FOR’ That means that there is a connection. What follows flows from the first two verses. So when Paul speaks about bringing your sacrifices in a way that pleases God, then he had in mind the communion of the body of Christ, in verse 3 and following.
That is the Word of God that comes to us also in Psalm 42.
Verse 2: When shall I come and appear before God?
Verse 4: When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God.
And again in Psalm 43: verse 3: Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your tabernacle. Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and on the harp I will praise you, o God, my God.
It is this praising God, in His dwelling place, to which the author refers when he speaks about ‘for I shall yet praise Him’ in verse 5 and 11. It is not about his daily life with God. About that he speaks in verse 8: The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, a prayer to the God of my life.
Every day he meditates on God’s love and every night he sings to God and prays. Just like we have to do that every day, and that is important. Not only on Sundays. Also now, in his misery, he knows that God is there and shows His love. But it is his highest desire to come together with God’s people to praise God, Who is his salvation and HIS God. He knows that he has salvation, because he belongs to God’s people. And because he belongs to God’s people, it is his desire to be with God’s people and praise God. There, in the midst of God’s people, there is where God meets with His people, there it is where Christ is proclaimed, our Rock and our Salvation. There it is where we drink from the Spiritual Rock, which is Christ (1 Corinthians 10:4). It is through Christ that we pass through the waters of God’s wrath, as the people of Israel went through the Red Sea, on dry ground, while Pharaoh and all his host drowned in the Red Sea. It is there where we seek comfort and are strengthened in our faith, every time again. It is also there, where we with God’s people will praise God and bring our sacrifices of thankfulness, in our offerings, in our songs of praise, in our prayers, in our profession of faith. Because there it is where God lifts us up, our of the everyday misery and hopelessness in which this world lives, and puts us on a rock, on the Rock Jesus Christ.