King David loved God, and he loved God’s people. He was passionate about everyone getting as deeply connected with God as he was, so he wrote worship songs, setup worship teams, and organized the temple for worshippers.
The first song of ascent he wrote was one anticipating how good it was going to be when everyone got to the temple in Jerusalem to worship.
In fact, David was so excited about what he was expecting to happen in their worship together that he practically glowed with joy! Really! The word for rejoiced in his song means to be so cheerful and happy that you make others around you bright by your happiness. 😀
What was it that David thought was going to happen? First of all, we need to look at the name Jerusalem. Traditionally this means the City of Peace, but the two words that make up “Jerusalem” are much richer than that. Yes, -salem means “peace.” But the first part of the word (yara-) literally means water flowing through, or an arrow being shot out.
In other words, David anticipated that we are going to a peaceful place to be sent out full of peace, to take that peace to others who don’t have it, but desperately need it.
While we are in our “Jerusalem” (for us in the New Testament, this is our “church,” even if it’s just two or three people getting together), here are five blessings you should expect—
- Unity—with all the “tribes” joining together.
- Praise—joining together to tell God how great He is!
- Learning—we come together to learn God’s statutes.
- Judgment—what?! How is judgment a blessing? If you are nervous about being judged, just remember Who does the judging in God’s temple: the Holy Spirit. He judges us in a loving way, and in a way that allows us an opportunity to see our sin, repent from it, and experience unconditional forgiveness. That is exciting!
- Peace, security, prosperity—the word shalom is used multiple times in the closing verses of this song. The best definition of shalom is: nothing missing, nothing broken. In other words, when we gather together to worship we should expect that God will heal any dis-ease we have, that He will supply what has fallen short, that He will fill up what’s empty.
With those five blessings in mind, here’s the declaration all Christians can make—
Inside these walls…
we live in unity
we praise the Lord
we learn God’s laws
we judge ourselves by God’s standards
repenting, confessing, forgiving, and being forgiven
we fight for peace
we bless God and one another
We descend back to the valleys
to take this message to valley-dwellers
that they, too, may pilgrimage
with us to Jerusalem
It starts here in God’s family!
It starts with me!
Check out the full video of this message, where I explain each of these ideas more fully. And if you’re in the area, join us on Sunday as we continue our look at the Psalms of Ascent.