I sat for a moment as I meditated on the meaning behind this Psalm and I saw King David, inspired by the Holy Spirit, writing this song, then introducing it in the assembly before the people. You see, David was an accomplished musician and songwriter, with the gift of the spirit of prophecy.
God, through David the Psalmist, speaks to Israel:
8 “Listen to me, O my people, while I give you stern warnings. O Israel, if you would only listen! 9 You must never have a foreign god; you must not bow down before a false god. 10 For it was I, the LORD your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it with good things. 11 “But no, my people wouldn’t listen. Israel did not want me around. 12 So I let them follow their blind and stubborn way, living according to their own desires. 13 But oh, that my people would listen to me! Oh, that Israel would follow me, walking in my paths! 14 How quickly I would then subdue their enemies! How soon my hands would be upon their foes! 15 Those who hate the LORD would cringe before him; their desolation would last forever. 16 But I would feed you with the best of foods. I would satisfy you with wild honey from the rock.”
As I thought about this more, it occurred to me that David used music to excite and inspire people to what God was doing or saying that particular day. This is great encouragement to me, as a worship leader at my church! I sometimes get all wrapped around the axle, being very careful hear God about which songs to choose – so the music will inspire and guide, but not manipulate or exclude.
I like what Matthew Henry’s Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible says about this passage:
“When David, by the Spirit, introduced the singing of psalms into the temple-service this psalm was intended for that day, to excite and assist the proper devotions of it. All the psalms are profitable; but, if one psalm be more suitable than another to the day and observances of it, we should choose that. The two great intentions of our religious assemblies, and which we ought to have in our eye in our attendance on them, are answered in this psalm, which are, to give glory to God and to receive instruction from God, to ‘behold the beauty of the Lord and to enquire in his temple;’'”
“Two great intentions of our religious assemblies” really gave me a much needed lift.
As I pictured David leading the people that had gathered in the assembly to worship God, I was once again reassured that corporate gatherings, led by the Holy Spirit for the purposes of giving glory to God and receiving instruction from Him, are very much our heritage and proper for today.
Yes, we can (and need to) worship Him on our own – but the design we’ve been given includes corporate worship gatherings.