Psalm 122: 1-9
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD.” And now here we are, standing inside your gates, O Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a well-built city; its seamless walls cannot be breached. All the tribes of Israel—the LORD’s people—make their pilgrimage here. They come to give thanks to the name of the LORD, as the law requires of Israel. Here stand the thrones where judgment is given, the thrones of the dynasty of David. Pray for peace in Jerusalem. May all who love this city prosper. O Jerusalem, may there be peace within your walls and prosperity in your palaces. For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “May you have peace.” For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek what is best for you, O Jerusalem.
Decisions direct our lives and the decision to worship doesn’t just direct it deepens our lives. The decision to respond to the invitation to worship means that:
David was invited to go and to spend time with God and he went. So why do some decide to stay instead of go. We’ve all met people that, when invited to worship, have all kinds of reasons for not going: “It’s my only day off to sleep in.” “I don’t have to go to worship God.” “I have to work.” “I’m spiritual, but I’m not religious.” “Those people are all hypocrites, there’s no way I would go there.” The list of reasons is endless. But maybe a better question would be to ask, why GO? As David says yes to the personal invitation of praise he discovers what worship can do.
David didn’t just respond to the invitation to go he went with gladness. So often our going is accompanied by a grudge instead of gladness. As His children we forget that we “get to” instead of “have to”, praise really is a privilege. How we respond to the invitation of praise often depends on whether we see it as important or an interruption. What is it that you do that is more important than praise? The sad reality is that for most of us our lives are interrupted by praise instead of our lives being intertwined by praise. Think about those moments when you abandoned yourself to praise, when your soul soaked in the Savior. This hurried world leaves our hearts hungry for more of those simple moments to step into the stillness with Him. David’s heart was glad to be invited, to leave the mundane for the majesty of God. The truth is that what we thirst for is found in time at His feet. You know a person’s priorities by what they gladly and willingly do not by what they are paid to. Will you responding to the invitation to praise and who will you invite to praise?
David discovers the strength in the structure of Jerusalem as he says that it is a well-built city, its seamless walls cannot be breached. This is because the architect of the city understood how all the pieces of stone and masonry were to fit together. There are no loose stones, no leftover pieces, and no awkward gaps in the walls. All the pieces fit together compactly and with harmony, each doing what it was made to do. Jerusalem was the center of Hebrew worship and reminded them of the foundational realities of their faith. It was the symbol and sign of God’s presence in their world and just like the structures of the city itself, they knew that only through God would all the various pieces of their lives fit together. It reminded them that ultimately their lives and their stories were shaped by God because He was with them. Worship reminds us that God is here with us and it is God who makes sense of our situations. It is His sacrifice that provides the structure to secure our lives. Just when nothing in life seems to make sense, when our week and our world feels like its crashing down, when we feel like a loose stone ready to fall out rather than one that fits perfectly in its place in the wall, we come to worship. Without worship, something is missing, we are incomplete and unfinished. We find direction and purpose for our journey when we come to the place of praise. It is there that we are reminded that God saves, that He heals and redeems. God fits the pieces together in ways we never could so that our lives are, “built well”, seamless because of His salvation.
- Give the Gift
David’s praise included praying for peace and prosperity not for himself but other people. Peace and prosperity is what the world seeks and what we who have come to praise have. We have the privilege to share the gift of God’s peace and prosperity, but if we don’t go we have nothing to give. The peace sought in these verses is much more than the mere absence of conflict, its completeness something the world can’t provide. The psalmist was not praying for his own peace and prosperity but interceding for others, praise should lead us to pray for other people. So who do you need to intercede for today, will you pray for their peace, prosperity, and protection? Because, for people to find peace of mind and peace with others, they must first find peace with God.