“Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the LORD had descended on it in fire.” – Exodus 19:17-18
Scripture reading: Psalm 87
‘The Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob.’ The Lord loves it when believers spend time with Him in private or when families gather in their homes to read His Word, sing His praise and seek His face in prayer. But the Lord especially loves it when His people gather together as the assembled saints to worship Him.
We know this from Psalm 87:1 and also from the great deliverance of God’s people from the bondage of Egypt. If He desired only private or family worship, Israel could have stayed in Egypt. But He delivered them so that they could, as an assembled people, publicly declare His glory. He met with them as they gathered in His presence. In fact, this day at Mount Sinai came to be known as ‘the day of the assembly’ (Deuteronomy 9:10). And from the Hebrew word for assembly we get the English words church and congregation.
This is why the Church has, throughout the ages, gone through great pains to gather for worship. Sometimes they gather in freedom with the protection of the State. But often they have had to worship publicly despite government objection. Just think of China and the house churches and the Covenanters and their gathering on the moors of Scotland.
God loves public worship. And since God loves it, so should we. We should spare no effort to assemble with the saints for the declaration of God’s glory. What’s more, this is the clearest foretaste of our eternal occupation.
Suggestions for prayer
Remember those saints who assemble for worship in the face of opposition. Ask that God would enable us to ‘extol Him in the congregation of the people, and praise Him in the assembly of the elders’ (Psalm 107:32).
Reverend John van Eyk has served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta since 2017.