My Ending Thoughts on the Songs of Ascent
Having concluded our study of the individual Songs of Ascent, is there anything that teaches us about approaching the presence of God? Are there clues that we can follow? Look at my diagram below:
The Lord’s Blessing! Unity of a Covenant People
The Lord, a Covenant Keeper
The Lord, Our Hope
The Lord is Forgiving
The Lord is Righteous
A Healthy Fear of the Lord
The Lord as Architect & Builder of the Home
Prophesying the Lord’s Future Deliverance
The Lord’s Goodness to His People, Even When Wicked Rule
The Lord’s Past Faithfulness
We Look to the Lord for Help
The Lord’s Presence is Our Desire
The Lord is Our Keeper on this Journey
Focus on Self and the Need for Deliverance
Interestingly, there are only two times where the focus is on man. The first is when we recognize we are caught in a lie and need to be delivered. The second time follows our coming into covenant with the Lord, which causes us to unite as a covenant people. Oneness with each other is paramount to God's blessing and entering His holy place. Everything else is a testimony and a heart cry for God's movement in our lives past, present, and future. As we ascend into God's presence, we are transformed, and our hearts are changed.
Unfortunately, in today’s church, worship is often about our experience rather than the Lord. However, if we are to ascend into the presence of God, He must be our focus. We must exchange our goosebumps for the reality of a holy God who calls us to worship Him in the beauty of holiness. Thus, cleansing our motives and actions, home, and lifestyle, as we approach Him is paramount. Fear of Him, understanding His righteous judgments, and recognizing that without Jesus, we cannot approach Him at all, are of utmost importance. To do so is only made possible because He is our Faithful Keeper who has prepared a place for us in His home. This is the nature of the ascent. With every step upward, I am decreasing that He might increase, and by doing so, able to link arms with my brothers and sisters in Christ so that together we reflect His nature and character to the world. HE is our song. HE is the melody and the harmony and the One who sets the rhythm and tone of our worship. HE is our testimony!
I must also point out another unique aspect of these songs. Psalm 127, the center of the Songs of Ascent, focuses on the home. I submit that any corporate worship needs to be centered around worship already taking place in the homes of God’s people. Again, the individual informs the corporate. What is transpiring in our everyday personal lives is going to affect what happens when we join collectively to worship God. God desires households who will worship Him!
It has been an exciting journey exploring these Songs of Ascent. I pray that you were challenged by the songs, as I was to dig a little deeper and worship God not as we like but in the manner He chooses. I pray that as you sing to the Lord, ascribing the glory due Him, worshipping His holy Name, that healing will come to your body, soul, and spirit. As Psalm 96 states,
Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD all the earth. Sing to the LORD, bless His Name; proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day. Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples. For great is the LORD and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before Him, strength and beauty are in His sanctuary. Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory of His Name; bring an offering and come into His courts. Worship the LORD in holy attire; tremble before Him, all the earth. Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns; indeed the world is firmly established it will not be moved; He will judge the peoples with equity.” Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all it contains; Let the field exult, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy before the LORD, for He is coming, For He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in His faithfulness.
This Thanksgiving, let's make a point of singing God's great faithfulness to us!