STUDY IN THE ASCENT PSALMS
Today is Study #13 of our insights into the “Ascent Psalms” – Psalms 120-134!
Each one is unique, an individual, one of a kind. A visual of a pilgrim’s journey – like YOURS! Since we have started this study, have you seen how your life is a journey, a sojourning into the seemingly unknown but also in the hands of the One Who knows your path?
OUR THEME VERSE
“Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage. (Psalm 84:5 NKJV). Have you learned our theme verse yet?
TODAY WE ARE IN PSALM 132
The Eternal Dwelling of God in Zion
A Song of Ascents.
1. Lord, remember David
And all his afflictions;
2. How he swore to the Lord,
And vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob:
3. “Surely I will not go into the chamber of my house,
Or go up to the comfort of my bed;
4. I will not give sleep to my eyes
Or slumber to my eyelids,
5. Until I find a place for the Lord,
A dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”
6. Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah;
We found it in the fields of the woods.
7. Let us go into His tabernacle;
Let us worship at His footstool.
8. Arise, O Lord, to Your resting place,
You and the ark of Your strength.
9. Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness,
And let Your saints shout for joy.
10. For Your servant David’s sake,
Do not turn away the face of Your Anointed.
11. The Lord has sworn in truth to David;
He will not turn from it:
“I will set upon your throne the fruit of your body.
12. If your sons will keep My covenant
And My testimony which I shall teach them,
Their sons also shall sit upon your throne forevermore.”
13. For the Lord has chosen Zion;
He has desired it for His dwelling place:
14. “This is My resting place forever;
Here I will dwell, for I have desired it.
15. I will abundantly bless her provision;
I will satisfy her poor with bread.
16. I will also clothe her priests with salvation,
And her saints shall shout aloud for joy.
17. There I will make the horn of David grow;
I will prepare a lamp for My Anointed.
18. His enemies I will clothe with shame,
But upon Himself His crown shall flourish.”
TITLE AND OUTLINE OF PSALM 132 (Dr. W. Graham Scroggie)
TITLE: “Prayer and Promise”
- The Prayer of the people (vs. 1-10)
A. That the King’s resolution may be remembered (vs. 1-5)
B. That the sanctuary in Zion may be accepted (vs. 6-10)
- The Promise of the Lord (vs. 11-18)
A. In respect of the King: the oath to David (vs. 11-12)
B. In respect of the Sanctuary: the choice of Zion (vs. 13-18)
SOME INTERESTING INSIGHTS
I was trying to remember what things I was told to remember. But I forget.
There were things that Mother told me to remember. And without getting remotely risqué, there was that reminder about wearing clean underwear, but I don’t remember why she told me to remember. [Was it an accident or something? I don’t remember!] And to remember that she had both the power and the authority to “send me into the middle of next week.” I’m so glad that she never remembered to do that.
But what happens when GOD HIMSELF is asked to remember something. Does God need to remember? Does God ever forget?
Well, actually He DOES forget, doesn’t He? Do you REMEMBER what He forgets? There are a good number of references, but the end of Jeremiah 31:34 will suffice: “I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will REMEMBER no more.” This is not only present for believers. In the context – as quoted in Romans 11:27 – it is a definite future promise to Israel.
Sometimes – respectfully speaking – I think the Lord has a sense of humour. Listen to the FIRST use of a form of “remember, in Genesis 8:1: “Then God REMEMBERED Noah…”. Had He forgotten about Noah and the ark? Hmm. After that pronouncement – marking 150 days that the rains and winds would subside and the earth would be dry – God makes a promise: “I will REMEMBER My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh…” (Genesis 9:15). No more would the world be completely covered/destroyed by rain [it WILL be by…fire – 2 Pet. 3:7 and elsewhere].
In an overwhelming 230 VERSES the Lord REMEMBERS the word REMEMBER! Isn’t that overwhelming?
And one day our Savior would both command and encourage the disciples in regards to the communion, “this do in REMEMBRANCE of Me.” Why would He need to use the word “REMEMBER” in that form and context? Because He knew, and He KNOWS, that His creation, well…FORGETS! In the busyness of our worlds, and in the struggles of life, we FORGET to REMEMBER that the heart of life is Jesus’ broken body and shed blood given for us at Calvary.
You ask, “WHAT does that have to do with our study in Psalm 132?” The word “remember” is the heart of this passage. Look with astonishment, awe, and wonder at verse 1, “Lord, REMEMBER David and all his afflictions.” Read that real slow, now: “Lord. Remember. David.”
Didn’t we just learn that the Lord Himself remembers in over 200 passages? Didn’t we just learn that the very first usage of “remember” was about Noah and a promise of no more world-wide destroying flood? Did we just learn that the Lord Jesus wants us to remember His sacrifice for our sins?
Isn’t that enough?
HERE’S THE HEART OF GOD: He loves us! And He loves us SO MUCH that He would include in His Word – and in particular an Ascent Psalm marking one’s direction toward the heart of God and His worship – an intimate moment between David and his amazing, faithful, loving God. DAVID! The same one who had an affair with old what’s her name! (Bathsheba, for those who forgot!). The same one who would one day flee Jerusalem because his kingdom was falling apart while under the rebellion of David’s son, Absalom. King David asks God to remember David. An intimate moment. A tender moment. David REMINDS God! He asks God to REMEMBER! Remember all I went through in my afflictions for You! Remember my heart and desire that You have a place to reside permanently in Jerusalem! Remember that I want your ark to have a permanent place of rest in a house – a temple – in the heart of the city which one day will be the center of the kingdom of the King of kings, even Your Son Whom you have promised us! Remember!
Thus the word “REMEMBER” is the heart and soul of this ascent psalm! Why is that important to us today? Why is that important to those of us who are struggling in our “ascent” to God and to His temple? Why is that such a vital word for us?
Because what do we want God to REMEMBER? His PROMISES! “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” “I will come again and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there you will be…forever!” “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” “Call unto Me and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things which you do not know!” What are YOUR favorite promises from God’s Word?
As a result, we have the freedom and JOY to ask God to REMEMBER! Remember ME! Enjoy that freedom and joy today!
There is one other phrase that the psalmist uses in this psalm. It is “clothed with”, as seen in verses 9, 16, and 18. The scriptures would encourage the student of God’s Word to be familiar with this term, one which is used at least thirty times in The Good Book! Note the 3 uses in this psalm. Verse 9 is a prayer that God’s priests be “clothed with righteousness”. The prayer is that the priests not only have a positional righteousness – because they belong to God that is what they have. But it also is a request that the priests have a living righteousness – because that is how they should behave! Further, in verse 16, the psalmist – while speaking from the mouth of God Himself – quotes the Lord as saying that He indeed WILL clothe His priests, with salvation! And as asked in verse 9 and answered in verse 16, that answer to prayer will result in His saints indeed shouting for joy!
Are you rejoicing that you who belong to Jesus by His blood shed at Calvary are clothed with righteousness – both personal and active?
Are you overwhelmed that you are clothed with salvation – both eternal and daily?
As we bring this study of Psalm 132 to a close, there is a third use of “clothed with” that should give us all an heartfelt warning. In verse 18, the psalmist gives a futuristic yet present-day promise, “His enemies I will CLOTHE WITH shame, but upon Himself His crown shall flourish.” The psalmist is an instrument of God’s promise that the enemies of His eternal plan will be clothed with shame. Perhaps the shame is realizing that, despite all the promises and hopes that the Lord Himself has offered to His creation for literally centuries – if not millennia – they have refused His offers of grace. They will eternally be labelled as “His enemies.”
But the psalmist is more personal than that. The question must be asked, “WHOSE enemies?”. Go back to verse 17, “There [in Jerusalem, upon the Throne of David]…I will prepare a lamp for My Anointed.” “My Anointed”. That is “God’s anointed One”. The Hebrew is appropriately translated…aw, you knew already…MESSIAH!.
The psalmist is giving a past declaration of a present day activity of a future promise! [HEY Dr. Becker, that was pretty profound, no?]. In the past – Psalm 132 – the psalmist is declaring that in his present day the Lord Himself is promising that one day – in the future kingdom – the Savior, the promised Son of David, even the Lord Jesus, will sit upon David’s Throne in Jerusalem where He will rule and reign for a 1000 years over the world, Israel will have its promised King and kingdom.
But that promise comes with shame for all those who did not believe the promise.
How about THIS promise, in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten [His One and only] Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Have YOU believed that promise? Do you know Jesus Christ as YOUR personal Savior? OR will you be one of those whom God looks upon with shame?
Which will it be? Clothed with righteousness and salvation?
OR clothed with shame?