For a few very hard years this word was my mantra.
The word means
-undismayed; not discouraged; not forced to abandon purpose or effort
-undiminished in courage or valor; not giving way to fear
But the truth is, I was often dismayed by everything that had taken place, and I did battle discouragement. I battled fear and doubts. I hurt and was angry, and sometimes "undaunted" sounded more like a mockery than a mantra, and I was determined to be real about all of it in these posts, thus the name, Undaunted Reality. More than that, though, I was determined to live undaunted, not because I'm so great or strong, but because my God is, and no matter what this world looks like, He is the only reality that matters.
I pray I live the reality of Him beautifully undaunted.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The All-Important Final Word

This morning in our faith gathering we had a wonderful worship time. Jay and Kari are our Sunday morning worship leaders, and every two weeks we do a different kind of worship. This morning we used drums and did a fascinating sing/chant response for both Isaiah 48 and Psalm 112. As Jay was introducing this morning's worship style, he explained that David--King, psalmist, man after God's own heart, worshipper--commanded us in Psalms to use a variety of instruments in worship, and he looked at our pastor and asked which chapter that was. Pastor Dave correctly said there are a lot of chapters that talk about it. I decisively answered, "Psalm 150." Some folks thought that was impressive. Well, the fact that I am knew it is not impressive, but for it to be Psalm 150...that is VERY impressive. In fact, it is very important.

Now, the way I know that is not because I'm some great Bible scholar. I am not eyeballs deep in Bible trivia. I don't know all of the addresses for all the key stories and major passages Christians throw around. I remember this because the revelation of it was so powerful to me.

Years ago I was reading through the Bible and came across the most glorious story. In 2 Chronicles 5:2-14, it says:

2Then Solomon summoned to Jerusalem the elders of Israel, all the heads of the tribes and the chiefs of the Israelite families, to bring up the ark of the Lord’s covenant from Zion, the City of David. And all the Israelites came together to the king at the time of the festival in the seventh month.
When all the elders of Israel had arrived, the Levites took up the ark, and they brought up the ark and the tent of meeting and all the sacred furnishings in it. The Levitical priests carried them up; and King Solomon and the entire assembly of Israel that had gathered about him were before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and cattle that they could not be recorded or counted.
The priests then brought the ark of the Lord’s covenant to its place in the inner sanctuary of the temple, the Most Holy Place, and put it beneath the wings of the cherubim. The cherubim spread their wings over the place of the ark and covered the ark and its carrying poles. These poles were so long that their ends, extending from the ark, could be seen from in front of the inner sanctuary, but not from outside the Holy Place; and they are still there today. 10 There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets that Moses had placed in it at Horeb, where the Lord made a covenant with the Israelites after they came out of Egypt.
11 The priests then withdrew from the Holy Place. All the priests who were there had consecrated themselves, regardless of their divisions. 12 All the Levites who were musicians—Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun and their sons and relatives—stood on the east side of the altar, dressed in fine linen and playing cymbals, harps and lyres. They were accompanied by 120 priests sounding trumpets. 13 The trumpeters and musicians joined in unison to give praise and thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang:
“He is good;
    his love endures forever.”
Then the temple of the Lord was filled with the cloud, 14 and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God.

The same story is in 1 Kings 8.

Imagine that.

Imagine going to church and God being so drawn in by what He hears that He cannot help but come and sit among the people there.

What did these people do to give Him such pleasure that He had to be part of it?
What did they do that made Him leave His throne and sit in their presence?
What did they do that broke through the barrier between earth and heaven and become such a pleasing aroma to Him that He had to saturate Himself with it?

I wanted to be that pleasing.
I wanted to be that aroma.
I wanted to be that irresistible to Him.

So I read it through and through. I studied. I looked up words looking for some idea of what they did, what order of worship, what kind of worship, what...method...did they use to entice the God of the universe to want their company?

The simplicity of it left my religious mindset undone.

They worshipped.

The trumpeters and musicians joined in unison to give praise and thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang...

That's all.

There was not some complicated order. There was on some perfected sequence or song or rhythm. There was simply the worship and gratitude of an imperfect people, and God said, "I can't pass that up."

David says in Psalm 22:3, "But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel."

He inhabits our praise. He saturates it. Soaks in it. Dwells in it. Makes Himself at home in it.

I wanted to create a place in my life that God could inhabit, where He always felt welcome and at home.

So, I started studying worship, thanksgiving, and praise. I started studying the biblical acts of worship, worship commanded by God, and ways He commanded to offer praise and thanksgiving, and in my search, I came to Psalm 150.

Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.
Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.
Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.
Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.
Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.

And I read through each line, highlighted, prayed, pondered, and then I suddenly saw it. The real answer.

Psalm 150. The very last Psalm. The last words of Psalm. The final word.

Psalms is full of agony and joy. They are filled with calls to holiness and prayers of vindication. They have confessions of weakness and pleas for strength. They hold great faith...and great doubt. They ring with life's answers...and its questions. And at the end of it all we are left with Psalm 150.

Praise the Lord.

Praise Him with music, with dance, with wind instruments, with percussion. Praise Him however, but praise Him.

The very last words of this amazing book of real life that takes us through ugly places and glorious places, prophetic truth and human questions, and the summary is simple:

Praise, ye the Lord.

Real life all summed up in three words. Our purpose all summed up in three words. The key to living a life pleasing enough for Him to inhabit.

Praise the Lord.

Yeah. THAT was worth remembering.

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