|“Open for me the gates of righteousness; |
I will enter and give thanks to the Lord.
This is the gate of the Lord through
which the righteous may enter. I will
give you thanks, for you answered me.”
When you come upon a creaky gate, what adjective comes first to mind? To me, I think “neglect.” If a gate makes a sound, it obviously has not been used often and needs lubrication. Or, it needs a new coat of paint and a couple of new hinges.
What if the gates of the Lord’s house make a squeaky sound, are stuck, or are hard to open? Would not a few swings of the gate help? Perhaps the gates need some children running in and out? Or, perhaps the gates need a squirt or two of oil on the hinges?
I really don’t think the mention in Scripture of the gates of the Lord’s house really refers to the gates themselves. Rather, I believe these references refer to the practices and use of God’s house by His people.
If we belong to God through Christ, Scripture found in 1 Peter 2:9 declares that we are a royal priesthood. Surely, priests need to frequent the Lord’s house.
The Scripture passage from Psalm 118 at the beginning of this blog post seems to indicate that thanksgiving lubricates those gates. When Christians come together, they should enter God’s house full of thanksgiving and joy. Certainly a robust congregation will demonstrate this gratitude. Psalm 100:4 tells us to:
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise…
Hebrews 10:25 gives us a strong admonition:
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Obviously the author of this passage of Scripture saw the importance of keeping those gates swinging with our usage.
If the “gates” of your place of worship depended on you for their usage, would they swing easily on their hinges, or creak and fall off? Is it your “habit” to neglect the meeting together of the church? Even those of us who make well-worn tracks into and out of the church building can do so without the joy and purposefulness God requires.
When Sunday rolls around this week, why not make it your glad intention to enter the gates of the Lord’s house with joy, with thanksgiving, and with encouragement for your brothers and sisters in Christ? Say with Nehemiah, as found in Nehemiah 10:39:
We will not neglect the house of our God!