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  • Writer's picturePastor Mike

January 30 2024

Tuesday January 30

A Heart for Worship


Psalm 122:1-9   A Song of Ascents. Of David.

1 I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go into the house of the LORD."

2 Our feet have been standing Within your gates, O Jerusalem!

3 Jerusalem is built As a city that is compact together,

4 Where the tribes go up, The tribes of the LORD, To the Testimony of Israel, To give thanks to the name of the LORD.

5 For thrones are set there for judgment, The thrones of the house of David.

6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: "May they prosper who love you.

7 Peace be within your walls, Prosperity within your palaces."

8 For the sake of my brethren and companions, I will now say, "Peace be within you."

9 Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek your good.


Psalm 122 is one of the fifteen “Ascent Psalms”, also called the “Pilgrim Psalms”. From the title we know that this one was written by David along with three others. One was written by Solomon and the other ten have anonymous writers. There are many commentators that believe King Hezekiah is the person that compiled these particular psalms together to encourage the Jewish pilgrims in their worship as they came to the City of Jerusalem three times a year for the feasts of Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles.


Believers today need not make long pilgrimages to "holy places" in order to worship God, for the Lord does not dwell in manmade buildings (Acts 7:48-50). Nor do we need the kind of "religious entertainment" that draws people to some meetings. The key thing is the heart. From David's words in this psalm, we can easily discern the kind of heart believers need if we are to please God in our worship.


First in verses 1-2, we see that true worship comes from having a heart for God Himself (John 4:23-24). "Let us go" sounds tame, like an invitation to a tea. "We will go" is the better translation. Whether this was an invitation to someone living far from Jerusalem, or to David living in Jerusalem, the statement expressed determination and dedication. After the tent had been set up and the ark placed in it, no doubt David frequently went there to worship God, for David's love for God's house was well-known (27:4; 65:4; 2 Sam. 7:1-3). He rejoiced at an opportunity to go with other worshipers to praise the Lord. Though he lived in the holy city, David did not take this privilege for granted, for he had a heart for God and for God's house. David was a man after God's own heart (1 Sam. 13:14). The pilgrim coming from a distance would not complain about the journey, for his heart was set on the Lord. Love makes burdens lighter and distances shorter.


Next in verses 3-5, we need a heart for thanks and praise. The Lord had told His people that one day there would be a central place where they would worship (Ex. 23:14-19; Deut. 12:5-7, 11-14, 17-19; 14:23; 16:2, 16), and that place was Jerusalem. The Lord instructed David that the place on Mount Moriah where he had built the altar was to be the site for the temple (1 Chron. 21-22). When the psalmist looked at the city, he thought of unity and security. Just as the stones of the walls and houses were "bound firmly together," so the people were bound together in their worship of the Lord and their respect for the throne. The twelve separate tribes, plus the tribe of Levi, shared the same ancestors and history, participated in the same worship in the same holy city, and were governed by the same divine laws. But it was the praise of Jehovah that was central (v. 4). God had commanded that His people go to Jerusalem for the feasts of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles (Ex. 23:14-19; John 4:20-21), and the people went as worshipers and not sightseers.


In verses 6-9, we find that we need a heart for prayer. The name "Jerusalem" means "foundation of peace," and yet the city has been a center of conflict for centuries. If we understand biblical prophecy correctly, there can be no peace in Jerusalem or on earth until the Prince of Peace reigns on David's throne (Isa. 9:6-7; Luke 1:26-33). So, when we pray for the peace of Jerusalem, we are actually praying, "Thy kingdom come" (Matt. 6:10) and "Even so, come, Lord Jesus" (Rev. 22:20). Jesus wept over the city because they were ignorant of the peace God had for them (Luke 19:41-48) and had rejected their own Messiah (John 11:47-48).


Our prayers must come from our heart because we love God and love His people. The "prosperity" mentioned in verse 6 does not refer to material wealth but primarily to the spiritual enrichment that comes to those who love God, His Son (born a Jew), His Word (a Jewish book), and His chosen people. "Salvation is of the Jews" (John 4:22). Christian believers have a debt to Israel for the untold spiritual wealth they have given us (Rom. 15:25-27). The emphasis here is on the city of God, the chosen people of God (vv. 6-8), and the house of God (v. 9).


Today, because we are God's people, citizens of the heavenly country, we must pray for one another and for the ministry of the churches. We belong to each other, we need each other, and we must help each other. We must pray for peace within and among the churches. We must pray for the needs of "our brothers and friends," and surely, we must pray for the lost. A heart for God will surely be a heart filled with praise and prayer.


God bless!

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