Living Out Who You Are!

Text: Psalm 134

Ravinia is a concert venue that takes place in one of the northern suburbs of Chicago every summer. Carol and I have had opportunities to attend some of the concerts over the years. Artists come from all over the world to present music from a variety of genres.

One of our most memorable evenings was a performance by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the nation of Israel. As we sat on our lawn chairs not far from the main stage, the musicians gave expression to the history and emotions of the Jewish nation. People around us danced, sang and wept. The finale was breathtaking. Everyone in attendance stood up, clapping and cheering the celebration of a glorious nation. And then we all went our separate ways.

I sometimes wonder if the ancient pilgrimages to Jerusalem were something like our evening at Ravinia. People sang and prayed, but eventually they returned to their homes. Some biblical scholars wonder if Psalm 134 was the type of “song” that closed each one of the Jewish festivals. We don’t know for sure, but we do know it focuses on who we are and what we are to do as the redeemed people of God.

Before you read Psalm 134 one more time, it would be wise to read two other texts: Exodus 19:6 and 1 Peter 2:9. Both passages identify who Israel and who Christ-followers are supposed to be.

We are believer-priests! Outside of Christ we were not a people, but now in Him we exist to proclaim His greatness to the ends of the earth. Take note of this!

Christ made us priests, so that we might live out our days as worshipers.

So what exactly do worshipers do?  

Read Psalm 134 again and notice three implications of our priesthood.

  1. Believer-priests worship continually. In verse 1 the psalmist moves from the general to the specific. He starts with Jewish people in general (“all you servants”), and then alludes to those “who stand in the Lord’s house at night.” The last phrase in verse 1 most likely refers to the Levites who stood guard in the temple, making sure that no one would bring harm to the holy objects within the Temple. Some of these Levites would do the same thing during the daylight hours. So the focus was upon continual service to God. And that’s what Christians are to do as well. The Apostle Paul reminds us, “Whatever we do in word or deed, we are to do in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him (COL 3:17).”
  2. Believer-priests worship reverently. In verse 2 the ancient Jewish pilgrims were called upon to lift up their hands in praise.  But notice that they were to do so “in the holy place.”  Obviously the psalmist was referring to the Temple and its surroundings.  But Christians are to realize that because they are always in Christ’s presence, they are always on holy ground. Therefore, we are to speak, act, and live in a manner that is fitting for a people who are always in God’s presence.  
  3. Believer-priests worship the Creator, not created things. It is interesting that Psalm 134 makes reference to the LORD, as the Maker of heaven and earth. As the Creator, God not only fashioned everything that exists, but He also “owns” everything that exists—including you and me.  Therefore, we must be on guard to be sure that we are not drawn away to make too much of created things. Created things exist for our benefit, but we exist to worship the Creator.  
May I encourage you to do something that may be out of character and a little strange at first?

When you awaken tomorrow, put your feet on the floor, raise your hands in the air and say, “Bless the Lord, O my soul.  And all that is within me, bless Your holy Name!” Get your mind in gear to live up to who your really are, a believer-priest called to proclaim the greatness of God’s name!

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