1 A song of ascents. Of David.
I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD.” 2 Our feet are standing in your gates, O Jerusalem.
3 Jerusalem is built like a city that is closely compacted together. 4 That is where the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, to praise the name of the LORD according to the statute given to Israel. 5 There the thrones for judgment stand, the thrones of the house of David.
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure. 7 May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.” 8 For the sake of my brothers and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.” 9 For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your prosperity.
Psalm 122 – Unimaginable glory!
(Verses 1-2) This short psalm is set against the background of worship. It is another ‘song of ascents’ that is sung by the Israelites as the pilgrims ascend Mount Zion, Jerusalem on their way to worship God in the temple there. Although each person who knows God is to praise and worship Him individually and personally, worship also includes worshipping God together with others. So, the psalmist, David, says to his Jewish brothers, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD.’ He does not just say ‘I am going to worship’: he wants others to join together to do it.
It is just the same today for those who know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour. They have come to Christ one by one to receive God’s forgiveness and eternal life. As each one has realised that Jesus died on the cross for them, to bear their sins and take God’s wrath and punishment for them, and as each one has asked the risen Lord Jesus to enter their hearts by the Holy Spirit, they have been individually ‘born again’ (John 3:3, 7). Just as babies are born one by one, so are people born again one by one by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. However, the Bible tells us to meet with others to worship God, for fellowship, and to praise Him. Each of us also needs to read our Bibles each day and pray daily on our own with the Lord. The temple at Jerusalem was regarded as where God was present. The Bible says the Lord is present in the heart of each person who trusts in Jesus, and, also when two or three (or more) believers meet together in His name. That is what a church is. It is not a building but a group of people who know, worship, serve and follow Jesus. When those of us who have received Jesus as Saviour get to Heaven that time forever with the Lord will be perfect!
(Verses 3-5) As the pilgrims travel to Jerusalem, they sing these ‘songs of ascent’. They must have great delight at the prospect that, like the tribes of Israel, they go ‘to praise the name of the LORD’. We aim to praise Him, too. Do you recall again that the two names ‘Jesus’ and ‘Immanuel’, which are given to our Saviour in Matthew 1:21 and 1:23, mean ‘God saves’ (or ‘Saviour’) and ‘God with us’. Those trusting Christ are so grateful that Jesus has saved us from sin, death, and Hell, and that He is with us 24/7 as our ever-present God. That is why God regards each of our bodies as a temple of the Holy Spirit. We must make Him Lord of our bodies, in practice, and seek to honour worship and serve Him as we daily present our bodies fully to Him (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Romans 12:1-2).
(Verses 6-9) It is because Jerusalem is so linked with the temple and worship of God that David asks people to pray for peace in Jerusalem. He wants it to be peaceful and secure for the people of God to worship. He asks this for ‘brothers and friends.’ He also seeks Jerusalem’s ‘prosperity’ for the sake of ‘the house of the LORD our God’. Today’s application for us is to pray that people will come to have peace with God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and so worship the LORD with the inner peace Christ gives. Every converted sinner has eternal security in Christ because he will be with Jesus forever in Heaven. As we pray for peace in physical Jerusalem today, look too at the wonderful long-term scenario where Heaven prospers unimaginably as the New Jerusalem pictured in Revelation 21. The ‘dwelling of God is with men’ there. The ‘men’ it refers to are those of us, men and women, who have received Christ and so are accepted by our forgiving God of love. Revelation 21:27 says that every single sin will be kept out, and ‘only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life’ will be there. So, how can anyone get into Heaven as we are all sinners? The answer is that for all of us who repent and trust in Christ, ‘the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, purifies us from all sin’ (1 John 1:7). Heaven, as the New Jerusalem, is described in Revelation 21 in dazzling detail. Read it all to see what blessing awaits true Christians there, by God’s grace. But here is a sample to think about: ‘He [God] will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away… The glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.’