Often at the beginning of worship, the worship leader invites God’s presence into the gathered assembly. When have you reflected on the significance of this invitation? Frequently we equate God’s presence with a moving testimony or perhaps music that lifts our spirits toward heaven. We desire God’s presence among us because we believe it will enrich our spiritual experience.
But in the Bible, God’s presence does not always evoke warm, fuzzy feelings. As the psalmist here describes, this exalted Lord inspires overwhelming awe. People tremble, and the earth quakes because of the Lord’s power. Our response is praise that comes from a recognition of how mighty and how holy God is. But God does not bully or remain distant and aloof. God answers those who cry out for help. God loves justice and fairness and has shown this on many occasions to the people.
The psalmist then reminds us that Moses had experienced God’s presence in a tangible way. Recall the dark cloud that covered Mount Sinai while God met with Moses. God spoke out of this cloud, and yet the people could not come near the mountain lest God’s glory overwhelm them.
Here, however, the psalmist issues a striking invitation: Come to this very mountain to worship. The psalmist encourages us to approach and share in intimacy with God—this glorious and holy God is accessible to us. The same God who defended the Israelites and forgave their sins waits to meet with us, to defend us, to fight for justice, and to forgive our sins.
O Lord, we are grateful for your awesome power—a power far beyond our imagining—that is able to forgive our sins and to equip us for every good work. Amen.