1 Sing praises to God, our strength.
Sing to the God of Jacob.
2 Sing! Beat the tambourine.
Play the sweet lyre and the harp.
3 Blow the ram’s horn at new moon,
and again at full moon to call a festival!
4 For this is required by the decrees of Israel;
it is a regulation of the God of Jacob.
5 He made it a law for Israel when
he attacked Egypt to set us free.
I wish I had memorized Psalm 81 years ago. In 2012, I had a friend in ministry who was a church planter; we would often disagree about the role and importance of corporate worship with regard to the Christian faith. David, my friend, had a unique way of beginning a new church. The standard method when launching a new church at that time was just to begin with a weekly worship service, and operate under the assumption that as people came to worship, the church would naturally grow over time.
David's approach was to instead begin with building relationships with people and doing one-on-one discipleship with them. Then those individuals would form small groups, which would eventually lead to a weekly worship service. When we would discuss this, he would challenge me to ground my arrangement for worship from the teaching of scripture. I would always struggle because I had never had to defend why public worship was essential for the church biblically.
Here the Psalmist makes the argument quite well. He connects the practice of singing and blowing the trumpet to God's law. The motivation for these worshipful acts grew out of God's work of salvation, particularly in the exodus from Egypt. In the same way, we should be inspired because God has also saved us. May we be spiritually stirred up to come into worship singing and praising God for his goodness in delivering us from our sins.
Have you gotten out of the practice of attending worship weekly? What is something you can do to begin this practice again this week?