Promises, promises, Psalm 132

Psalm 132 pulses with God’s promises to King David, but it also assures today’s believers of God’s faithfulness to his promises for the church in all ages. It’s a beautiful reminder that God fulfills his promises. He sometimes does that in ways we did not expect, but they are often far better than our wildest imaginings.

The psalmist first prays a litany that recalls God’s promises to David and describes David’s believing response.

Remember, O LORD, in David’s favor,
   all the hardships he endured,
how he swore to the LORD
   and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob,
“I will not enter my house
   or get into my bed,
I will not give sleep to my eyes
   or slumber to my eyelids,
until I find a place for the LORD,
   a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob” (1-5, ESV).

Believing people in far-flung places hear of God’s goodness and David’s response. The people of God then respond in unified thought and worship (6-7, ESV):

Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah;
   we found it in the fields of Jaar.
“Let us go to his dwelling place;
   let us worship at his footstool!”

The corporate prayer of believers asks God to be with his church. 

 Arise, O LORD, and go to your resting place,
   you and the ark of your might.
Let your priests be clothed with righteousness,
   and let your saints shout for joy.
For the sake of your servant David,
    do not turn away the face of your anointed one (8-10, ESV).

The presence of God within the local congregation will result in “priests clothed with righteousness” and “saints” who “shout for joy.” God promised not to turn away from his anointed servant David. Because God briefly turned from the face of his anointed Son, Jesus Christ, when he paid for our sins on the cross, he will never turn his face from any of his children. Even when we bear the most horrific trauma, God will not turn his face from us.

God promised David that one of his sons would always sit on his throne.

The LORD swore to David a sure oath
    from which he will not turn back:
“One of the sons of your body
   I will set on your throne.
If your sons keep my covenant
   and my testimonies that I shall teach them,
their sons also forever
   shall sit on your throne” (11-12, ESV).

The son of David who would reign forever on Israel’s throne is Jesus Christ, the Messiah who rules over an Israel that Old Testament believers couldn’t totally comprehend. Christ’s church supersedes that ancient nation to encompass all nations of all times and in all places. We believers, who live in these end times and benefit from the complete and special revelation of his word, sometimes fail to grasp the vast scope of Christ’s church. We get hung up on petty grievances over church music or floral decorations. We become frustrated with lack of love and look for it in another congregation. But rather than exchange one set of problems for a new one, we need to stick with our congregation as long as it remains faithful.

We need to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (see my reflections on Psalm 122) and work toward peace within the walls of our local congregation. We need to pray that God’s Spirit will be present within us and fellow believers in a mighty way. While we pray, we must remember that it is not “our” church, it is Christ’s. God will never desert his church.

For the LORD has chosen Zion;
   he has desired it for his dwelling place:
“This is my resting place forever;
   here I will dwell, for I have desired it (13-14, ESV).

God will bless believers with material and spiritual gifts.

I will abundantly bless her provisions;
   I will satisfy her poor with bread.
Her priests I will clothe with salvation,
   and her saints will shout for joy (15-16, ESV).

The poor will have bread. The priests will be clothed with salvation. And the saints will shout for joy. This is a wonderful picture of a unified congregation in which the deacons care for the needy, the elders minister with the love of the Savior, and the people rejoice together in the Lord.

There I will make a horn to sprout for David;
   I have prepared a lamp for my anointed.
His enemies I will clothe with shame,
   but on him his crown will shine” (17-18, ESV).

The horn indicates power in the Bible. God will raise up a horn of power for David and for Christ. God will light the way for his anointed. Christ came as a light in the darkness for believers in biblical times and he will come again in a flash of light and glory that will circle the globe.

Christ will come. God will clothe our enemies and his with shame, but Christ’s crown will shine forever.

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