Psalm 122 - Desire To Build God's Kingdom
Psalm 122:1-9 NIV
A Song of Ascent. Of David.
I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
Our feet are standing in your gates, Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is built like a city that is closely compacted together.
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.
There stand the thrones for judgment, the thrones of the house of David.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure.
May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.”
For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your prosperity.
In our translations of the Bible, “A Song of Ascent. Of David” appears as a sub-header. It gives us an impression that this Psalm was written by David but does not form an integral part of the psalm. However, in the original language in Hebrew, it is part of the scripture and thus should be the beginning verse. I also learned that in the Hebrew language, its emphasis is very different from English. For example, most languages emphasise ownership, like “I have a house”. But in Hebrew, it doesn’t emphasise ownership. Instead of “I have a house”; they would say, “there is to me a house”. So “A Song of Ascent. Of David” literally means, “to David there is this Psalm”. In essence, it’s given to David; it’s from God’s heart.
David said that he rejoices with those who say, “Let us go to the house of the Lord”. First of all, the Temple was not built by David but by his son, Solomon. Thus, David was expressing his joy of the thought of people going to the Temple, even though he wouldn’t get to see the Temple himself. I see a man, David, rejoicing on his deathbed for the day to come when the house of the Lord would be built.
2,000 years ago, Jesus came, died for our sins and brought to us the spiritual house of the Lord. It is for those who believed before, those who believed in him then and those who believe later. It was to Jesus’ joy to have us believe in Him and say, “lets worship our Holy God together”.
The understanding of God’s joy in seeing us in worship is important. It makes a whole world of difference if we know that God welcomes us in joy, when we gather together to worship Him. Our God is not a god who looks down and commands, “You, come here and worship me!” Our God is our Abba, our daddy. It means the world to my children when I come home hugging and loving them. God’s love is many times more than our love for our children.
“Jerusalem” is the spiritual kingdom that Jesus has built today, and “our feet are standing” in the gates of the Kingdom. How do we look at God’s Kingdom? Christianity is not just about us, nor to simply keep us away from sins to live a secluded life. No, Christianity is about God’s Kingdom. It is about us individually and collectively, having a relationship with God. It is like what’s described in our Church’s mission statement, “We gather here to know God and to make God known”.
The Kingdom should be “built like a city that is closely compacted together.” What connect us are love and the Spirit. There may be love in our heart, but without the Holy Spirit, God’s Kingdom will not be built. Likewise, we may have the Holy Spirit, but no love, and the Kingdom cannot be completed either.
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called... Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. (Ephesians 4:3-4,15-16 NIV)
God desires all men to “go up” to Heaven, He desires all men to be saved.
There is a “throne of judgement” before us. David prayed for the “peace of Jerusalem”. In the Hebrew text, it is closer to the word ‘demand’. The word ‘demand’ gives a better interpretation to this prayer as it conveys a strong desire. Do we have this strong desire in our prayer to build God’s Kingdom? The peace that David referred to is not that stress-free feeling many try to attain through meditation. This peace refers to the reconciliation between humanity and God. This is the peace made possible through the sacrifice of Jesus, because of his blood on the cross.
God desires that those who love Him find “peace” and “security” within His Kingdom. How much do we desire people around us to find peace within their hearts through a relationship with God? How much do we desire our brothers and sisters in Church to remain secure, and faithful to God? How much is our desire to love and make our Church compacted together, the way Jesus wants to build it? It is thus a calling for us to demand in prayer and to work earnestly for God’s people to be secured in His Kingdom.
God will prosper us collectively as a Church. It is in the heart of God to seek "prosperity" for His Church, not individuals. God seeks, and doesn’t just give. He seeks what’s good for us and gives to us. Together as God’s Church, we will see how God heals us, how He protects us and how He provides for our needs.
Andy is the head of compliance for an international bank and is happily married, with three daughters. He became a disciple of Christ three decades ago, and studies God's Word passionately. He desires to be constantly led by the Spirit.