(Today’s post by Joshua Jones)
“A Song of Ascent”
As the Psalm 120-134 are all labeled as “Songs of Ascent”. These Psalms were literally songs that the nation of Israel would sing on their pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the yearly feasts. As these pilgrims traveled, they would sing these words, remembering what God had already done for them, as well as looking ahead to what he had promised.Today, believers do not need to travel to holy places in order to worship God, as the Lord does not dwell in man-made buildings. In these two Psalms, we can discern the kind of heart that believers need if we are to please God with our worship.
A Heart for God- In the first verses of Psalm 122, we see David rejoicing at the opportunity to worship God. He was “glad” when given the opportunity to go to the house of the Lord. In this time, the pilgrim, even though he traveled a great distance, would not complain about the journey, because his heart was set on the Lord. How many times do we take for granted out Sunday morning experiences? Are we glad to be there, or is it just one of those things that we have to do? God looks at the heart, not at outward actions. If we are going to church to get it checked off the week’s to-do list, or out of obligation, God is not impressed. It is through the heart that we can honor God.
A Heart for Praise- Jerusalem had been built to serve as a center of God’s nation. The pilgrims would have looked at Jerusalem, and would have been reminded that it was not the security of the city that was most important, but they were there to worship God. The whole reason behind the pilgrimage to Jerusalem was to give praise to the Lord. As you look at your life, do you have built in times that you can freely praise God for what he is doing in and through you? Consider setting aside time each day to reflect on what God is doing, and how he is worthy of praise in your life.
A Heart for Prayer- The last three verses of Psalm 122 reminds us to keep praying for the culmination of God’s kingdom. Jerusalem means “foundation of peace”, but the city has been in the middle of conflict for centuries. However, we can know through study of biblical prophecy, that Jerusalem will not have peace until the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, takes His rightful place on the throne of David. In verse 6, we are reminded to pray for Jerusalem, which is basically us praying “thy Kingdom come” as Jesus prayed in Matthew 6. Many of us pray for totally wrong things, but with good intentions; we pray for personal wealth, for a better job, for personal prosperity, and many other things, but David is writing these lyrics to remind God’s people to pray for the fulfillment of his promises. I’m not saying that it is wrong to pray for God’s blessings, but we have to make sure that we are praying for God’s will, not our own. As we pray, let’s pray for God’s will to be done in our lives, and for His Kingdom to be fulfilled even more on this earth.
In this “song of ascent”, we learn what it means to please God with our worship. Our worship is based on our heart, and with a heart for God, a heart for Praise, and a heart for Prayer, we can come into God’s presence in our daily walks. You don’t even have to travel anywhere to do that, you can start right now, asking God to give you a heart for him.