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Sunday, January 3, 2016 pm                                                    Psalms Index

 

STUDIES IN PSALMS
I WAS GLAD!
Psalm 122

     Psalm 122 is another psalm of ascents – psalms believed to have been sung as Jews traveled toward Jerusalem to observe various feasts.  It is a series of 15 psalms (120-134) which give hope.

      This particular psalm is attributed to David, though some question this.  It is a psalm about the city of Jerusalem.  As travelers are headed toward the various feasts there is a gleeful anticipation, an attitude that shows love for the LORD and all things about Him.  In this lesson we will make application to our attitude toward the church.

 I.                    I Was Glad (1-2)

a.        Joyful anticipation - 

                                                   i.      At times, there are events that we cannot wait to get started with – perhaps a long awaited vacation or something else you have been looking forward to.  There is great excitement as you plan the event.   
The events the psalmist speaks of shows a similar attitude in going to worship God.

                                                  ii.      The feasts of Israel were designed to be joyful occasions reminding them of how God had blessed them, protected them and delivered them.  They were times of intensified worship and meaningful ceremony.  They were an integral part of Israel’s faithfulness. 
Sadly, they were not always carried out with proper enthusiasm.   The prophets continually addressed corruption in their worship. Even after idolatry was finally removed from the land, Malachi addresses a wearisome and corrupt attitude toward worshipping God.  NO WONDER, they rejected Him! 

                                                iii.      What is our attitude toward assembling with the saints?  While we might not have the degree of anticipation for assembling with the saints as some special event, (especially on a weekly basis) it still ought to be something we DO anticipate, so much that we will make great efforts to be here.   Worshipping God ought to be special to us.  It MUST also be a priority to us. 
AND, then there are occasional intense efforts, such as gospel meetings, that we ought to be anticipating even more, knowing that such can revive our spirits.  But do we?

                                                iv.      Hebrews 10:24-25 calls for us to exhort one another and not forsake the assembling of ourselves together.
Everything we read about true worship implies that it is to be done with gladness. 
Psalm 100:1-2, “Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing.”
Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

                                                  v.      Some will allow the most meager of excuses to keep them from assembling with the saints.  Others just don’t see it as important.  As we have noted before: When one asks, “Do I have to attend Sunday night or Wednesday Bible studies” the issue goes much deeper than a single assembly.  One wonders whether such find real joy in worshipping and serving God.

b.       A desire to go to the house of the LORD – this is where anticipation begins.
Desire cannot be commanded.   It is developed as one appreciates whatever it is.  We ought to WANT to do those things pleasing to God!
To the Jews, Jerusalem was where they assembled to worship God.  It began with David as he brought the Ark of the Covenant into the city (2 Samuel 6).  Also Jerusalem would be where the Temple would be built by Solomon.  Jerusalem was indeed a special city.  Throughout the prophets it was referred to as Zion (2 Sam. 5:7, 1 Kings 8:1) (a term I attribute to “the place where God meets with His people”).
Today, the “house of the Lord” is His church – 1 Timothy 3:15 describes it as “the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of truth.  
1 Peter 2:4-5, we are described as living stones being built up a spiritual house and holy priesthood.
This is the church that Jesus built – Matthew 16:18, Ephesians 1:22-23
As we appreciate what the church, how great is our DESIRE to be in it.

c.        Feet standing within your gates – not only anticipation on the way, but also gladness when there.
Having anticipated the journey to the city, as they enter and wait for the feasts to begin, they are there and ready.
Similarly, as we gather to worship God there ought to be joy as we greet one another preparing to worship Him.  There ought to be that desire to actually worship Him.  John 4:24 – worshipping Him in spirit and in truth.  We have recently addressed the need to strive for excellence in our worship to Him.  That will come when we are ready to hear Him with a noble heart – Acts 10:33, 17:11 – receiving the word with readiness…

d.       NOTE: While this anticipation is about the church, it could ultimately also be about heaven.  Hebrews 12:22-23.

 II.                  Jerusalem is built (3-5)

a.        Jerusalem is the place where the tribes go up – where God is.
Reference is made “To the Testimony of Israel” – probably a reference to the 10 commandments that were placed in the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 16:34, 25:16, 21; 40:20, etc.)
They would assemble where the Law of the LORD was present and there give thanks to His name.

b.       When we assemble to worship God we are coming together as the church (1 Cor. 11:18, 14:23).
God has designated that we are to assemble “on the first day of the week” (Acts 20:7, 1 Cor. 16:1-2) and He gives us instructions as to HOW we are to worship Him. 

c.        A city compact together – the church is a body of brethren connected together.  Ephesians 4:16 describes us as “joined and knit together”  In Joh 15:5 as Jesus described Himself as the Vine and we are His branches, the implication is we are together joined to Him. 
Colossians 2:2 speaks of hearts being encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all the riches of the full assurance of understanding…    Col. 2:19 speaks of holding fast to the Head (Christ), “from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God. 
Worship ought to be something that unites us!  We demonstrate to the world our unity in our conduct.

 III.                Pray for her (6-9)

a.        Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  The psalmist is desirous that all be well for the city of God.  He prays for her and calls for others to pray for her as well.  Remember that Jerusalem was not only the city of God, but also the capital of Israel (and later Judah) – peace would involve not only peace with God, but peace from her enemies. 

b.       Do we pray for the church?  In our prayers, we need to include the church – both locally as and as a whole.
Paul continually emphasized prayer for the church – Romans 1:8-10, Ephesians 1:15-16, Phil. 1:9-11
1 Tim. 2:1-2 – praying for leaders of the country so we can worship and serve God freely
Praying for our leaders – elders and preachers continually need prayers for their work  and the furtherance of the gospel – Hebrews 13:7 speaks of remembering those ruling over us (includes our prayers); 2 Thess. 3:1-2 – Paul requests, “pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly…”
and that we be delivered form unreasonable and wicked men. 
1 Thess. 5:25, “Brethren, pray for us.”

c.        Pray for:

                                                   i.      May they prosper who love you – do we lift up the hands of the godly?  They need our prayers as much as those with problems, both physical and spiritual.

                                                  ii.      Peace within her walls – Phil. 4:6-7 – when we pray properly, peace is the result. 
God desires that we be at peace – 1 Thess. 5:13.  Mark 9:50 – Jesus also emphasized it!
John 17:20-21 – Jesus prayed that we may be united!  John 13:35 – by this all will know you are disciples – by your love.

                                                iii.      Prosperity – growth as God desires – not just numerically, but in faith, closer to God, one another, etc.  Pray that the word will spread – 2 Thess. 3:1;
3 John 2, John prayed “that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”

                                                iv.      For our brethren – “Pray for one another”  James 5:16; Acts 12:5, 12 – we pray for each other during the difficult times.

d.       Because it is the house of the Lord, “I will seek your good” the psalmist concludes by determining to live so as to seek the good of the house of the Lord.
Do we live to seek the best for the church? We are again reminded here of being a proper example.  You cannot separate it!
We need to defend the Lord’s church.  We need to reflect the Lord’s church in our lives.  We need to sacrifice for the Lord’s church.  We need to proudly seek others to join us.  In all these, we are seeking her good!

 

This is a very practical psalm describing one who REALLY wants to be here.  What about you?  Is that your desire?