Reading through the Bible together

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

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The beauty and glory of the city of God and Mt. Zion.

The psalmist prays that God will have compassion on him in his great necessity.

A Psalm of David to bring the past to remembrance.

This is a “Jerusalem poem” in which praising the place of worship means praising the God who dwells there. Was it an anthem sung by pilgrims toiling up the steep road to the Temple Mount, or did the “sons of Korah” encourage the travelers, singing to them as they came? People have turned their religious pilgrimages into holidays and welcomed vacations; however, this is not a song learned by pious travelers as part of their tour orientation, for these visitors have not come to Jerusalem  to take in the sights. Nor have they come as penance for sinful behaviors or in hope of earning merit. This is a journey in which sinners go where God is, to stand in His presence and worship Him. Here they hope to find refuge from the Enemy of their souls, for God Himself is their stronghold.

Perhaps the Psalm refers to God’s deliverance from a specific invader such as Sennacherib or hostile forces approaching by sea. The psalmist is confident that just as God has proven His power to save in the face of past threats, He will eternally remain their Protector.  The pilgrim is invited to join a procession to the Temple to worship God, and then to march around the Temple, recognizing in this place of worship the ultimate source of the nation’s safety.

Prayer: Father, I have witnessed Your goodness, Your loving-kindness, Your righteousness. But because, in my limited experience, I see only a small part of Your majesty, my voice is only a feeble piping in the great anthem surging around Your throne. And, yet, I add my witness to the song of praise. Amen.

Helen Pyke
Retired Professor
Southern Adventist University