Corporate Worship is a Good Thing! – Psalms 81

Corporate Worship is a Good Thing - Psalms 81How I would love to have the opportunity to sit under the leadership of King David. As a worship leader and songwriter, this Psalm stirred something within me.

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.

Praise God…together.


  1. #1 by Carey on September 6, 2007 - 7:51 am

    I love your thoughts on this. Jonathan Edwards, in giving points to preachers onces said, (paraphrased), “Don’t be afraid to stir up holy affections in your hearers.” In my understanding he’s saying, “Don’t be afraid to engage people’s emotion in the process of teaching.” That’s not manipulation, it’s consideration for people as “whole” beings. God has given emotion as a warning system, and as a blessing to motivate us to right action (that’s the “holy” part of Edward’s affections). When we allow our emotions to take us to a deeper place with God where we actually begin to make efforts toward change (not just emotionalism), our emotions have done what they are supposed to do.

  2. #2 by Jaqua (Jāy 'Quāy) on September 6, 2007 - 9:08 am

    Thanks for the comment, Carey. I needed the encouragement! Great thoughts on emotions – they are, after all, given to us by God. Must be a reason, no?

  3. #3 by Kevin Rollins on May 4, 2010 - 5:22 pm


    I have been recently studying and praying to get a better understanding of the church today compared to the early church, and what differences are good, bad, or irrelevant. Maybe you can help me with the topic of corporate worship. I realize this post is years old.

    I’ve recently finished reading “From the Ground Up: New Testament Foundations for the 21st-Century Church” by J. Scott Horrell. It’s a really good book and addresses a lot of my concerns/complaints with most modern western evangelical churches. One thing he doesn’t address is corporate worship, probably because he sees it as a topic with great flexibility. My question is…from where do we get the idea of corporate worship? Why do practically all churches have a “service” that includes singing together. I know Israel did this as you mention in the blog, but what about New Testament references.

    I should clarify that I have no problem with singing, and even as a group can be nice. My concern is that we have come to where we place so much focus on a formal service, that it feeds the idea that church-goers go once a week to get their church in. Church to most people has become the Sunday service, instead of being a member of the daily living body of Christ.

    I would love to hear anything you have to say about it.

    Thanks and God bless…

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