Standing in the house of the Lord, Psalm 134

Psalm 134 seems especially appropriate for Sunday. It is the last “Song of Ascents” and reads like a call to worship.

The psalm specifically addresses the Levites who stood at night in the temple, but may include others who joined their vigil and definitely is a call for all of us to praise and pray day and night. God calls us to redeem our idle moments by viewing them as opportunities for praise and prayer. We are imperatively called to bless God, which we do by praising him, recalling his goodness, and speaking of his glory (Psalm 134:1, ESV):

Come, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD,
who stand by night in the house of the LORD!

In addition to blessing the Lord, this worship includes the lifting of hands (2, ESV):

Lift up your hands to the holy place
and bless the LORD!

The lifting of hands during prayer is not merely form or formality. This physical posture generates reverent praise. As the hands are lifted, the mind is elevated to things above and the heart is raised toward God.

The last verse records the blessing the priests were to give to the people (3, ESV):

May the LORD bless you from Zion,
he who made heaven and earth!

The priests were to bless God and then they were to bless the people. The same is true of church leaders today. Their first duty is to bless God; their second duty is to bless the people under their care. They are representatives of Christ, and God calls them as his undershepherds to demonstrate the love of the Good Shepherd.

The psalm concludes with references to the church and to the Creator. The Creator God who made heaven and earth owns all things and has every blessing at his fingertips. And this powerful Creator blesses his church as a loving heavenly Father. The blessings that flow from Zion are the blessings of covenant and communion.

As we seek his blessing for ourselves, we also ought to seek his blessing for others. There can be no end to God’s abundant gifts; we shouldn’t seek to hoard them but pray for God to pour them out on others as well. We are especially called to pray for those who minister to us within the organized church.

What a wonderful reminder on the Lord’s Day! We are privileged to draw near the Creator of the universe in corporate worship. As we praise him, we may freely seek his blessing for us and other believers. Come, let us stand together in the house of the Lord!

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