“I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem. Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together: Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord. For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee. Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek thy good.”
Seriously! I have a confession. I am a church-aholic. I love going to church. I love visiting with the church. I love doing the work of the church and I love being the church. There is really no place I’d rather be than with fellow believers. It is like heaven to me. Being amongst the people of God is a refuge. It is there that I find rest but it also a place where my faith grows. Yes, we are saved by grace through faith and that alone is the work of God. But when we are saved were are born into a family and so we need the church because it is God’s choice to channel His Spirit through the church to us.
David seemed to have the same sentiments about the temple, his place of worship in his day. It was under David’s reign that Jerusalem was made the capitol of Israel. It was about home but it was also about praise to God in His city. This psalm was probably written by David to be song as the people entered Jerusalem for one of the religious feasts. It is very easy to see that this psalm, “Expresses the joy of the pilgrim who had just arrived in Jerusalem” (Dilday, 1972, p. 344). We also see here another reference that Jerusalem was the highest point in elevation in the Jewish mind. Even more, the temple was higher as David calls the tribes to “go up” to the testimony of Israel (the ark of the covenant) to give thanks to God.
This psalm is an incredibly beautiful piece of admiration for City of God and it’s temple. It is also a beautiful prayer for its protection, continuance, and blessing. It makes us think about our love for the church. Not just the place of worship but people in your local congregation (though the building does help cement some of the dynamics of a congregation). Do you love them? Does it tear your soul apart when you are unable to worship, fellowship and minister with them? Do you love the body of Christ where you are planted at? Is there commitment of your focus, your energies, your talents, and your finances there? We would do well to develop love for the people we worship with and places where we gather.
Dilday, R. H., Jr., & Kennedy, J. H. (1972). Psalms. In H. F. Paschall & H. H. Hobbs (Eds.), The teacher’s Bible commentary (p. 344). Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers.