PSALM 134 TALK   BLESS THE LORD DAY AND NIGHT

PSALM 134 TALK   BLESS THE LORD DAY AND NIGHT

(GETTING TO THE FINAL DESTINATION OF THE JOURNEY OF FAITH AND THE CONCLUSION IS THAT WE MUST SEEK TO BLESS OR PRAISE THE LORD ALWAYS)

 (The thirteenth Psalm of the 15 Psalm series in the book of Psalms called “Songs of Ascent” which deals with the ultimate attitude and all -embracing activity we must always be involved in, namely seeking to bless or praise or worship the Lord and he promise is to bless us always).

(THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide”.

 GENERAL INTRODUCTION

 For an introduction to the Songs of Ascent see Psalm talk for Psalm 120

PART 3.   PSALMS 130 – 134 – PERFECTING THE JOURNEY

INTRODUCTON TO PSALM 134

 I was very interested to learn in my study of this Song of Ascent Psalm, Psalm 134 that the NIV translation of the opening words, “Praise the Lord” is better translated as, “Bless the Lord”. This is because the actual Hebrew word used is, “Barakhi” which means literally “Bless the Lord”. This led me to study what it means to, “Bless the Lord”.

Some might say why does God want us to say to him “Bless You” when he is as the Psalm ends with, “The maker of heaven and earth”. Yet, particularly in the book of Psalms the concept of us saying, “Bless the Lord” is found in many places and the most famous of these is of course Psalm 103 verse 1,

“Bless the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, bless (or praise) his holy name”

 This verse was the inspiration for the modern worship song “10,000 Reasons” which commences with the words,

“Bless the Lord Oh my soul

Oh, my soul

Worship His Holy name

Sing like never before

Oh, my soul

I’ll worship Your Holy name”

 In my search for what it means to “Bless the Lord” I came across a YouTube clip by a famous Jewish Rabbi called Rabbi Mardeshai Becker who spoke of the close association of the Hebrew word, “Barakhi” with another Hebrew word, “Bereicho”which means “Pool” or the bubbling source of a pool or stream of water. Mardeshai argues that this is not a coincidence and that when we bless God there is a flow of activity between the Lord and us which is seen in Psalm 134 because the first two verses are us blessing or praising God and the last verse is Lord blessing us.

Other Hebrew scholars also point out that the Hebrew word “Barakhi” or “Bless” is related to another Hebrew word that means “Knee” or “Kneel”, which relates to worship although in Psalm 134 the instruction is for worship to be done by lifting our hands which I will explain the meaning of more fully later in this Psalm talk.

So why does my NIV bible translates “Bless the Lord” to “Praise the Lord”?

The answer seems in the widely accepted meaning for “Bless the Lord” which I found was expressed ver well by another “YouTube” clip by John Piper who says that “Bless the Lord’ is,

“Synonymous with praising the Lord” and he offers Psalm 34 verse 1 to show this connection,

“I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips”.

 Piper goes on to give us a very clear definition of what “Bless the Lord” actually means,

“It is speaking well of the Lords greatness and goodness”.

 So, this final Song of Ascent brings to a close the journey of the ancient Jews to Jerusalem. In this Psalm, they are now at the final destination, Jerusalem and the Temple or Sanctuary as it was called in David’s time.

So, what should they do once they have arrived at their final destination?

The answer is simple, “Bless or praise the Lord” and once they did that they would receive God’s promised blessing who is the maker of heaven and earth.

What does this mean for us as Christians on our journey of faith to heaven?

I will advocate that whether we are in heaven or still on our way our supreme duty and desire should be to seek to, bless or praise the Lord. With this in mind I will now seek to open up this wonderful last song of ascent Psalm, Psalm 134.

My outline for this Psalm talk reflects the idea of us blessing or praising the Lord and the Lord blessing us.

  1. (1 – 2)BLESS THE LORD
  1. (vs. 1)Bless the Lord you servants of the Lord
  2. (vs. 2)Lift up your hands in praise

2   (vs. 3)   THE LORD WILL BLESS YOU

  1. (vs. 3a) The Lord will bless you
  2. (vs. 3b) The Lord the maker of heaven and earth

 Let’s then have a close look at this Psalm with these headings:

  1. (1 – 2)BLESS THE LORD

 So, as I said in the introduction my NIV bible does not fully represents the literal meaning of the original Hebrew which should read,

“Bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord who minister by night in the house of the Lord”.

There are four things I want to make comments about in this first verse of this Psalm and they are:

  1. Bless the Lord
  2. All you servants of the Lord
  3. Who minister by night
  4. In the house of the Lord

Let me now comment on each of these four things in this verse;

  1. Bless the Lord

As I said in my introduction the NIV translation along with many other translates the Hebrew word for bless, “Barakhi” is translated “Praise the Lord”. It seems that “Bless the Lord” is a concept that non – Hebrew speaking people would have problems with but as Rabbi Mardeshai Becker aptly pointed out in his “YouTube” clip blessing God and saying blessings is a natural well understood thing for a Hebrew speaking Jew.

He speaks of the English tradition of saying “Bless You” when someone sneezes and says we want our sneezing person to not be sick even though they are sneezing. In fact, this tradition started, it is believed in England during the times of terrible plague when sneezing was an early sign of you coming down with the plague.

So, we can understand why we can say “Bless You” to another human being but why would we want to say to God “Bless You”?

It seems that the connection of the Hebrew word for “Bless” to another meaning “Kneel” is the key to how we are to bless God, “GotQuestions.org” says,

“The Hebrew word translated “bless” or “praise” means literally ‘to kneel”, the implication being to kneel in worship”.

 The ancient Hebrews have had a hard and long journey to Jerusalem and the Temple there so what will they do when they finally get there?

The answer is “Bless the Lord” or “Praise the Lord” or better still worship the Lord as they kneel at his feet. I have mentioned in many of my earlier Psalm talks the Westminster Confessions shorter catechism first question and answer that goes like this,

  1. 1.What is the chief end of man?

And the answer is:

“Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever”.

 When we seek to bless or praise God we are truly worshipping him and that means if we are doing it from our hearts we are glorifying our God. We do this because of what he has done for us in The Lord Jesus Christ through his act of mercy or undeserved love in dying for our sins on the cross.

This is what Paul tells us true worship is all about in Romans 12: 1,

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship”.

 Or as the writer the Hebrews says in Hebrew 13: 15,

“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name”.

 Note the writer to the Hebrews speaks of this praise or worship offered to God is a,

“Fruit of our Lips”

 Interestingly, I found John Pipers comments on David’s words in Psalm 34 verse one,

“I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips”.

Emphasised the words, “on my lips” or in the translation he quoted “from my mouth”

 Piper says,

“It is though David is eager for his soul to get to work”.

 He explains that David is saying something like, lord my mouth is praising you come on soul get on board and praise or bless you as well.

Praising God and enjoying in him forever is what we are called upon to do now on our journey to God in heaven and it is what we will be doing forever in heaven. As we see from many references of what goes on in heaven from the book of revelations like Revelation 19: 5 – 7,

Then a voice came from the throne, saying:“Praise our God, all you his servants,you who fear him, both great and small!”Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:“Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns.Let us rejoice and be gladand give him glory!For the wedding of the Lamb has come,and his bride has made herself ready”.

When those ancient Jews got to Jerusalem after their long difficult journey to that place their joy or pleasure was wrapped up in worshipping the Lord for that was the goal of the pilgrimage. We don’t want to go to heaven like a mountaineer wants to climb a mountain, because it is there. We want to go to heaven to join other fellow believers in praise and worship of the Lord.

In fact, why do you want to go to church?

My reason for wanting to go to church on a regular basis is to join with other fellow believers to worship the Lord together and serve one another and in turn be blessed by the whole wonderful experience.

As the writer to the Hebrews says Hebrews 10: 22 – 25,

“let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching”.

2.    All you servants of the Lord

This call to bless the Lord or praise the Lord is addressed to special individuals in the Temple or Sanctuary in Jerusalem who are called,

“Servants of the Lord”

Who then are these servants of the Lord?

The general view of most commentators is that these “servant of the Lord” are in the priests and Levites who continually worked on worship practices in the Temple and we will see soon they performed both day and night.

In the Old Testament, the whole Temple operations had priests and Levites that performed duties from offering up sacrifices, leading the people in prayer, maintaining the temple area and even guarding the Temple day and night.

This special ministry was in the Old Testament given to the descendants of Levi and Aaron as we see in a reference like Numbers 3: 5 – 10,

“The Lord said to Moses, “Bring the tribe of Levi and present them to Aaron the priest to assist him. They are to perform duties for him and for the whole community at the tent of meeting by doing the work of the tabernacle. They are to take care of all the furnishings of the tent of meeting, fulfilling the obligations of the Israelites by doing the work of the tabernacle.Give the Levites to Aaron and his sons; they are the Israelites who are to be given wholly to him. 10 Appoint Aaron and his sons to serve as priests; anyone else who approaches the sanctuary is to be put to death.”

 The coming of Jesus and the establishment of the New Covenant through his sacrifice on the cross for our sins changed all this as the writer to the Hebrews tells us in Hebrews 8: 1 – 6,

“Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being.

 Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already priests who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises”.

 Then in Hebrews 9: 11 – 15, the writer to the Hebrews sets down how Jesus changed forever the way God wants us to worship him,

“But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here,he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. 13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 

14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death,so that we may serve the living God!

 15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant”.

 So, who now are the servants of the Lord?

The answer to this is a wonderful revelation and it is found in a key reference in the New Testament 1 Peter 2: 4 – 5,

“As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual houseto be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”.

 To make this even more clearer Peter tells us this in 1 Peter 2: 9 – 10,

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy”.

 From these two references came a radical teaching even in the Christian church in the great reformation in the 16thcentury called “The Priesthood of all believer”. The fact is even the Christian church somehow forgot how God wanted them to conduct worship now that he had sent his son and through his death made a way back to him.

We don’t need “Priests” offering sacrifices like the Old Testament we are all priests offering as the writer to the Hebrews said in Hebrews 15: 13,

 “A sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name”.

        3.   Who minister by night

This final Song of Ascent then throws up a very curious phase,

“Who minister by night”

 So, the previous phrase, “servants of the Lord” refers to the Priests and Levites who serve in the Temple but now it is picking out the priests and Levites who do their service at night.

What does it mean then, “who minister by night”?

 On this point, the commentators went all over the place suggesting up two three possibilities,

  1. The Pilgrims often arrived at night time
  2. The Pilgrims often left early in the morning to return thus still night time
  3. The quietness of the night favoured a good time to catch the ear of God

I did not find any of these suggestions convincing to me so here is my theory or idea for you to consider.

First of all, it is clear that Temple activities by Levites and Priest did not stop at night as we see form a reference like Exodus 27: 21,

“In the tent of meeting, outside the curtain that shields the ark of the covenant law, Aaron and his sons are to keep the lamps burning before the Lord from evening till morning. This is to be a lasting ordinance among the Israelites for the generations to come”.

 Or Leviticus 6: 9,

“Give Aaron and his sons this command: ‘These are the regulations for the burnt offering: The burnt offering is to remain on the altar hearth throughout the night, till morning, and the fire must be kept burning on the altar.

 So, Levites and Priest would have had to work what we would call today, the night shift to keep those sacrificial fires burning and even the more mundane aspects of Temple maintaining went on at night as we see from 1 Chronicles 9: 26 – 27,

“But the four principal gatekeepers, who were Levites, were entrusted with the responsibility for the rooms and treasuries in the house of God. 27 They would spend the night stationed around the house of God, because they had to guard it; and they had charge of the key for opening it each morning”.

 So, worship of some sorts even took place at night suggesting to me that worship of the God of heaven and earth is not just a part time affair, only during the day but is a day and night activity God wants us to be committed to.

Maybe the writer of Psalm 134 by picking out the servants of the Lord who minister by night to Bless or praise the Lord is saying lets always be in an attitude of praise and worship. Paul makes this point to the Thessalonians in his first letter to them in 1 Thessalonians 5: 16 – 18,

“Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”.

 In all circumstances includes good times and bad or day representing and good time in life and night representing a bad, difficult or dark times in life. The test of our real faith is if we are able to give thanks or worship God in the difficult or dark times in life.

 I’m not advocating physical worship day and night but a life lived in an attitude of praise, thanks and worship like I referred to in Pauls words in Romans 12: 1,

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship”.

4.   In the house of the Lord

We have seen all through the Songs of Ascent that the ultimate destination of the Jewish pilgrim travellers was Jerusalem and the Temple there. The Temple was to these ancient Jews, “The house of God” or to be exact, a house or dwelling place for the Ark of the Covenant which was God’s ordained symbol for his covenant agreement to dwell with his people Israel as indicated by Exodus 25: 22,

“There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the covenant law, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites”.

 This is why the Tabernacle became known as the tent of Meeting and therefore the Temple became God’s house where God and his people met through his covenant of love.

It is clear that God did not really want David to build him a house as he said this to David through the prophet Nathan in 2 Samuel 7: 5 – 7,

“Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling.

Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’

 Isaiah makes it clear why God in principle maybe did not want an earthly house as all the nations around Israel would have had called Temples as Isaiah says this in Isaiah 66: 1,

“This is what the Lord says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool.
Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be?Has not my hand made all these things”.

 Stephen in the New Testament in his final speech to the Jewish leaders before he was stoned to death took up Isaiah’s words to say this in Acts 7: 48,

“However, the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands”.

 So why did God allow Solomon to build him an earthly house or Temple?

The answer to this question lies in the very words of Solomon at the start of his dedication to the nearly built Temple prayer in 2 Chronicles 6: 18 – 21,

“But will God really dwell on earth with humans? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! 19 Yet, Lord my God, give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence. 20 May your eyes be open toward this temple day and night, this place of which you said you would put your Name there. May you hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. 21 Hear the supplications of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place; and when you hear, forgive”.

 Note what Solomon sees the Temple as, not God’s dwelling place or house but a house or Temple of prayer an intermediary place between God as his people and this is what Jesus saw as being so wrong with what the Temple in Jerusalem had become in his day with the money changes and fowl smelling and noisy animals for sale for sacrifice in the Temple.

Jesus says this as he with righteous anger clears the Temple in Matthew 21: 13,

“It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer, ’but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.”

 What is the house of the Lord for us as Christians?

My answer to this might surprise you but I base my answer on what the New Testament says about this.

First of all, Jesus made it clear that his coming and particularly his death and resurrection would do away with the Temple as we see from his words in Luke 21: 5 – 6,

“And while some were speaking of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he said, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”

 Jesus knew that in the very near future the physical Temple in Jerusalem would be destroyed as it was by the Romans in AD 70.

Jesus also predicted that his death and resurrection would establish a new intermediary place or way between God and man as we see from two New Testament reference, John 2: 20 – 22,

“The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple,and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken”.

And 1 Timothy 2: 5,

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus”.

So, without the physical Temple as a house of prayer how do we go to God in prayer as Christians?

The answer to this is given so well by the writer to the Hebrews who says this in Hebrews 7: 23 – 25, using past Old Testament context to how we should now pray because of what Christ has done for us,

  “Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completelythose who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them”.

 Why do we as Christians always end our prayers in the name of Jesus?

It is because we go to God in prayer only through the Lord Jesus Christ and not through anyone else as Roman Catholics might teach.

Finally, what does the New Testament say about what is the Temple?

Paul made my most radical aspect to my answer to what is the house of the Lord on earth is when he writes in 1 Corinthians 6: 19 – 20,

 “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore. honour God with your bodies”.

 It seems up to the coming of Christ the house of prayer was limited to one place, The Temple in Jerusalem but through Jesus death and resurrection and the giving of his Spirit to all who have put their faith and trust in him God can now go into all the world through living Temples. We are therefore dwelling places of God on earth who take his message of Salvation to the world and act as his ministers of love.

When we travel to Heaven by faith in the Lord Jesus we are God’s special servants or ministers who offer God our blessing or praise.

  1. (vs. 2)   Lift up your hands in praise

The second verse of Psalm 134 speaks further about what we as God’s servants or ministers must do as we seek to worship him, that verse says,

“Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord”

 Again, the word for praise here is “Barakhi” or bless the Lord but it is a form of praise telling the Lord of the mighty and wonderful things he has done for us.

So as the Priests and Levites did this they were to “Lift up their hands” and Tremper Longman 111 points out that lifting your hands was,

“A common gesture of prayer in ancient Israel”

 It was an outward expression of what we should be doing inwardly when we bless or praise the Lord as David seems to indicate in his use of this expression in Psalm 28: 2,

“Here my cry for mercy as I call to you for help as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place”.

 The Most Holy Place David is speaking about here was in his day called, “The Sanctuary” as verse 2 of Psalm 134 calls it. This could mean that this Psalm was written in David’s time as the term Sanctuary seems to have changed to Temple once David’s son Solomon built the Temple in Jerusalem.

I am not one who uses the raising of hands in prayer myself but that does not mean I think it is wrong to do but what is more important is what this lifting of hands means here in this Psalm which I found C.H. Spurgeon expressed for me the best when he writes,

“Hands, heart, and every other part of their manhood must be upraised, elevated, and consecrated to the adoring service of the Lord. As the angel’s praise God day without night, so must the angels of the church be instant in season and out of season. And bless the Lord”.

 Paul tells Timothy this in 1 Timothy 2: 8,

“Therefore, I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing”.

 Maybe I should consider adopting this practice of lifting my hands in prayer and particularly praise when I worship the Lord day or night.

2   (vs. 3)   THE LORD WILL BLESS YOU

  1. (vs. 3a) The Lord will bless you

As I said earlier this little final Song of Ascent has two distinct parts, us blessing God and God blessing us. Just like Rabbi Mardehai Becker theory of the Hebrew word for bless being very similar to the Hebrew word for the flowing or bubbling source of a pool or stream there is a flow between God and man when we come to him in prayer in the proper way and since the coming of Christ that is through faith in him.

So, the first part of verse 3 says,

“May the Lord bless you from Zion”.

 These words seem to be a blessing from the Priests who we were read about in verses 1 and 2 and for them to bless people from Zion means they are pronouncing this blessing form God’s special place on earth called Zion or the place where his house or temple sat.

This could mean that the last thing the Pilgrims to Jerusalem and the Temple there received from God before they left to return home was his blessing given by the Priests who served him in that place.

The priestly blessing God gave to Aaron and his sons to give the people which was also given through their descendants is in Numbers 6: 24 – 26,

“The Lord bless you and keep you;25 the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;26 the Lord turn his face toward youand give you peace.”’

 The Lord blessing from Zion is the Lord blessing his people from his dwelling place and as we have seen from references like Isaiah 66: 1 that is the Lord blessing his people from heaven where he actually dwells.

Zion in the New Testament is a loaded name place and represents heaven, the church and even Jesus the mediator of a new covenant as Hebrews 12: 22 – 24 expresses so clearly,

“But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel”.

 So, what is God’s blessing on us as New Testament believers?

The answer to this is mind blowing and it is found in the writings of St Paul in Ephesians 1: 3,

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ”.

 I have mentioned before my experience many years ago when two Mormon Missionaries came to my door and asked if they could enter my home to give me and my home a blessing. I said no and quoted Ephesians 1: 3 but they said to me, ‘but don’t you want our blessing”.

I replied I simply don’t need it as Christ has blessed me with every spiritual blessing from the heavenly realms. They then left muttering something like, ‘and he doesn’t want our blessing”.

Paul goes on in Ephesians one to give us a bit of a rundown of what all the blessing in the heavenly realm might entail in verses 4 – 9,

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonshipthrough Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 

 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ”.

 So, as we continue on our journey of faith that leads to God in heaven we are blessed by God through Christ and this blessing comes from him in the heavenly Zion and is what saves us, equips us and gives us hope and constant inspiration throughout this life so why would I want any more blessing than that.

  1. (vs. 3b) The Lord the maker of heaven and earth

 We have read the final words of Psalm 134 before in Psalm 121 verse 2 that simply says,

“He who is the Maker of heaven and earth”.

 In Psalm 121 we looked to our destination heaven pictured in the Old Testament as being in the Mountains or the Hills. We also learnt that when we face the difficulties in this life, the Mountains or Hills, then we have the help of the Lord who is the maker of heaven and earth.

Here in Psalm 134: 3 we are blessed by the same Lord who is the maker of heaven and earth. This gives the blessing he gives power and authority. David Guzik quotes a commentator name F.B Meyer who writes,

“Is it possible for him to have made heaven and earth, and not be able to bless the soul whom he has not created only, but redeemed! He cannot fail to bless those that bless”.

 So, we have this flow of blessing, we seek to bless God in Zion and from Zion God seeks to bless us. Jesus is that maker of heaven and earth as John spells out in the opening of his Gospel calling the pre- incarnate Jesus Christ as The Word, John 1: 1 – 5,

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it”.

 We learnt from Ephesians 1 that God blesses us from heaven through his Son, Jesus Christ who John speaks of coming to this world in John 1: 14,

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth”.

 We then who have received Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour have received from God his grace and truth guaranteed by the fact that Jesus is the Maker of Heaven and earth and made our salvation possible by his death and resurrection.

We walk the way of faith to God in heaven because Jesus made for us that way to walk as we see from two final verses:

  1. John 14: 6,

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”. 

  1. Hebrews 12: 1 – 2,

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God”.

 CONCLUSION

 We have moved through the past 15 Psalms all with the title “Songs of Ascent”. 15 Psalms that we believe were sung by ancient Jews when they made up to three long and dangerous journeys a year up to Jerusalem and the Temple there.

We have learnt from these 15 Psalms about how that at every stage the Lord Jesus Christ is our helper and guide. We have learnt in this final Song of ascent that God wants us to bless or praise him and he promises that he will in turn bless us drawing on all his vast resources as the maker of heaven and earth to do so.

May we all come to the starting line of this great journey to heaven through faith in Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. May we continue this great journey to heaven through trust in The Lord Jesus Christ who promises to be with us even to the end of the age or the world. May we seek to bless him for all he has done for us and in turn receive his blessing that is so vast and wonderful and is more than we need to reach the shores of heaven itself where we will join with many other believers and the Angels in endless praise and blessing.

I close as usual with my original poem / song and a final word of prayer.

I’M HEAVEN BOUND

(Based on Psalm 134 and the tune of “I’m pressing on the upward way”)

 Oh, Praise the Lord you servants now

Yes, praise his love and mighty power

For he will bring us to his home

And no more will we have to roam.

 

Refrain:

 

Oh, praise him now day and night

Praise his power and his might

For through his Son salvation found

And through his death I’m heaven bound.

 

May all who minster for God

Be helped by him to upward trod.

For we must praise him day and night

And he will bring us into his light.

 

Refrain:

 

Oh, praise him now day and night

Praise his power and his might

For through his Son salvation found

And through his death I’m heaven bound.

 

Lift up your hands in joyful praise

For all the Lord’s great, loving ways

Look up to God in heaven above

And thank him for his wondrous love

 

Refrain:

 

Oh, praise him now day and night

Praise his power and his might

For through his Son salvation found

And through his death I’m heaven bound.

 

The lord will bless you every day

As you come to him and pray

He will bless you through his Son

Who made this world and every one.

 

Refrain:

 

Oh, praise him now day and night

Praise his power and his might

For through his Son salvation found

And through his death I’m heaven bound.

 

By: Jim Wenman

 

PRAYER:

 Lord help us to look always to you in heaven above with praise seeking to thank you day and night for all you have done for us. We lift our hands in praise Lord for how you sent down to earth your Son to become a man and die for our sins on the cross. We thank you Lord for how you promise to bless us in Christ and we look forward to the day when because of what your Son has done for us we will live with you in your eternal home ever praising you as you bless us with eternal life. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

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