Psalm 134 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
A song of ascents.
- Now praise the LORD all you servants of the LORD who stand in the Lord’s house at night!
- Lift up your hands in the holy place, and praise the Lord!
- May the LORD, Maker of heaven and earth, bless you from Zion.
And so I come to the end of my journey through the Psalms of Ascent with an exhortation to give praise to God, the Keeper and Covenant Maker. What a great place to end!
Beth says that Psalm 134 is a call to bless our covenant God and to be blessed by Him. She quotes Eugene Peterson:
The sentence (‘Come, bless Yahweh’) is an invitation; it is also a command. Having arrived at the place of worship, will we now sit around and tell stories about the trip? Having gotten to the big city, will we spend our time here as tourists, visiting the bazaars, window shopping and trading? Having gotten Jerusalem checked off our list of things to do, will we immediately begin looking for another challenge, another holy place to visit? Will the temple be a place to socialize, receive congratulations from others on our achievement, a place to share gossip and trade stories, a place to make business contacts that will improve our prospects back home? But that is not why you made the trip: bless God. You are here because God blessed you. Now you bless God.
Ouch. Doesn’t that accurately describe the way we sometimes approach worship and church today? My pastor has talked several times about people who just come to church and sit in rows like boxes on a shelf and never actually DO anything for God. They are there to receive, not GIVE. Worship is not about us receiving anything. It is about us GIVING to God. God needs to be the focus of our lives. If that is the case, EVERYTHING will be different. As Beth states:
To take the next step in authentic praise and worship is to take the next step in multiple areas of our lives. If we are truer worshipers today than six weeks ago, we are truer lovers. Truer servers. Truer seekers. Truer confessors.
I AM a truer worshipper today than I was six weeks ago. The transformation has been exhilarating and the results, absolutely mind-boggling. I have discovered things in scripture I had never seen before in all my years in church. I have seen God work to open doors in my life and present opportunities I had never even imagined. Does that mean my life is now perfect and devoid of problems? No. I have also experienced incredible stress at work, a minor fender bender, and a husband upset that his motorcycle isn’t working right a week before he leaves for Bike Week in Daytona with his dad. I have had moments of celebration as well as moments of frustration.
The difference is in how those moments of frustration affect me now versus how they affected me before. Though I may still have occasional “woe is me” moments, I am confident that God is on my side, that He is for me, and that He always wants what is best for me. Therefore, I can still worship Him with confidence. And that makes Satan furious. As Beth states:
To stand in the presence of the Lord when you’d rather go to bed and never get up, and to praise Him in the night when taunting voices tell you to curse Him – these things are nothing less than a battle cry of victory.
Beloved, worship . . . is also warfare.
Don’t wait! Praise God the second you don’t feel like it! The second you feel defeated! . . . Your tempter tempts you to praise God the least when you need to praise the most. A true psalmist praises his way to victory, knowing it will come because the praise itself renders the first blow to his enemy’s brow.
At the beginning of this study, I vowed to go face down before God every day. This made me humble myself before Him like I had never done before. I think more often about the journey I am on and the fact that this life, with all its disappointments and struggles, is temporary. I have learned to look for God’s leading. I have realized that God wants me to truly become a disciple of Christ by sowing His seed. It is time for me to finally take a leap of faith and wholly trust in Him to work it out. My primary fear now that this study has come to an end is that I will lose momentum and stop seeking after God like I have been. That I will go back to the same old, same old.
Instead of closing by having us rewrite the psalm as a prayer, Beth asked us to rewrite it as a blessing upon others in our class. It is also my blessing for anyone who happened to stumbled onto this blog.
May you keep journeying onward and upward in pursuit of God. Remember that He surrounds you and defends you and is always with you.
P.S. On Wednesday we will be starting a new Bible study on the life of David! Yay! It is called Anointed,Transformed, Redeemed and is 6 weeks with 2 weeks by Priscilla Shier, 2 weeks by Beth Moore, and 2 weeks by Kay Arthur. Guess I will be blogging about that, too!