The picture above reminds me that there is a time to gather and a time to scatter. There is a time to feast and a time to fast. It was taken at our last Tuesday morning Bible study. Who could have guessed what was to come! Know this…We WILL gather again, my friends.
In these days, I feel my soul connecting to the Israelites who were in captivity in a strange land. They would ask God “How long?!” and “Why are you so far from our groanings?!” They would sit by the banks of the rivers of Babylon, where they were held against their will, and cry.
Psalm 137 tells it this way:
 By the waters of Babylon,
there we sat down and wept,
when we remembered Zion.
 On the willows there
we hung up our lyres.
 For there our captors
required of us songs,
and our tormentors, mirth, saying,
“Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
 How shall we sing the LORD’s song
in a foreign land?
 If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
let my right hand forget its skill!
 Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth,
if I do not remember you,
if I do not set Jerusalem
above my highest joy!
Don’t miss the fact that this Psalm was in the “Hymnal” of the Israelites. It was a song of worship. Worship is both more textured than we realize and it is more offensive than we realize.
What do I mean by that?
Worship is textured. You only have to read the Psalms to realize that worship is not all happy, clappy. We can also worship God with our sorrow and our longing. We can do as the Psalmist and cry out to Him and then remind ourselves of the Truth about Him. Many times, the Psalmist moans about his plight TO God and then says, “But YOU, O Lord are steadfast.” Go read Psalm 13 right now as an example of textured worship. In these strange days, I encourage you to worship with all that is within you. If you are struggling with what to say, worship with the Psalms.
Worship is offensive. I do NOT mean that worship is rude and obnoxious. I DO mean that worship is a weapon in battle. It is a way that we move FORWARD in battle instead of curling up in the fetal position until the battle is over. In Old Testament battles, God asked the Levites to go to the front lines of a battle and SING to the Lord. Are you kidding me? No, I am not! Go read 2 Chronicles 20 right now as an example of offensive worship. In the New Testament, Paul and Silas worshipped while in prison. They were wrongly imprisoned for preaching the Gospel, chained up in a nasty prison, and I imagine they looked at each other and with a knowing nod, they launched into their favorite worship song to a faithful God who could meet them in prison or in temple. My favorite part of this passage is when it says, “And the prisoners were watching them.” Go see Acts 16.
My friends, we will meet again. We will gather soon enough. Let’s not squander this scattering. If God is sovereign, and He is, then we can trust Him now in our own version of captivity. There is beauty and sanctification in this forced fast that we could never find in our times of feasting. Let’s worship, not because the “prisoners” are watching, though they are. Let’s worship because God is sufficient. He is sovereign. He is good.
Also, last week we began the reading plan called Names of God. Each day, you read 4-5 Scripture passages around the theme of one of God’s names and then are given great insights and questions to ponder. What a powerful encouragement is has been to be reminded of the surety of God’s character during this time. I hope you’ll jump in with us. It is free online or $1.99 on the She Reads Truth app on your smartphone. Email me HERE if you are needing prayer or to talk through things.