God gives his people a joyous desire to meet together. We see this expressed in David’s words from Psalm 122:
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” -Psalm 122:1
The words that follow in the psalm paint a picture of God’s people from across the different tribes of Israel coming to Jerusalem to go to the temple together. It was at the temple they could be united as one people, sharing one voice, and with one purpose: “To give thanks to the name of the Lord” (122:4). There was something sweet about such gathering that David looked forward to.
Old Testament and New, we see God dealing with individuals to create a people. Paul wrote about this in Titus 2:14 where he tells us that Jesus “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”
The redemption was of each individual turning from sin to Jesus. The result was a people zealous to do God’s will, namely: good works in this world.
A key factor of our encouragement in doing good works is our gathering together. In the Old Testament, the temple in Jerusalem was unique because it was where God’s glory and Spirit most fully manifested. After Jesus’ work on the cross, he made his people the new temple—we reflect God’s glory as we receive God’s Spirit. Peter described us as individual bricks being built together as a spiritual house (1 Peter 2). So, wherever Christians gather as a church, there is found a present “house of the Lord.”
The earliest Christians in Jerusalem would still go to the temple until it was destroyed but they also gathered daily “house to house”—smaller gatherings, yet each representing God’s glory. They gathered for time with God’s word, devotion to prayer, sharing of communion, and sharing of lives as they praised God together (Acts 2:42-47).
These were joyful occasions fueling them to do good in a world that didn’t always understand their religious devotion.
And so it is for us. Different things attempt to pull us away from gathering with other Christians: jobs, sports, family functions, desire for extra sleep, etc. Therefore, we must prioritize and persist. This just as the author of Hebrews wrote:
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. ~Hebrews 10:24-25
Let us, then, be glad to go to the house of the Lord. Let us meet together, praise God together, and find encouragement to live daily strong in our faith in Jesus, loving others and doing good in this world.
This post is part of our ongoing journey through the Bible as a church.
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