This song is about loving the worship assembly.
- G.C. Morgan — “It is not a song (about) material magnificence. It is rather the song of assembly…”
- Peterson — “A psalm of worship — a demonstration of what people of faith everywhere and always do: gather to an assigned place and worship their God.
Theme: The climb is helped by a love for the assembly, so we must have a vision for the local worship gathering.
A. Glad For The Worship Gathering (1-2)
1 I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” 2 Our feet have been standing within your gates, O Jerusalem!
Jerusalem: What Jerusalem was to the Israelite, the church is to the Christian. The pilgrim is glad at the word of the assembly.
His goal was God, not assembly, but the assembly was part of getting God.
Have a vision for the assembly.
Imagery of the church in the New Testament:
- The body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12).
- The bride of Christ (Ephesians 5).
- The family of Christ (Ephesians 2:19-21).
- The branches of Christ (John 15).
- The flock of Christ (John 10).
- We should not over-emphasize Sundays — it is not the totality of your walk with God.
- Nor should we under-emphasize Sundays — holiness, love, wisdom, and balance cannot be found while excluding the worship gathering from your life.
Be glad when believers gather! Say, “LET US GO TO THE HOUSE!”
B. Because The Worship Gathering Does So Much For Us (3-7)
1. To Sense Our Togetherness In God (3-4)
3 Jerusalem—built as a city that is bound firmly together, 4 to which the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, as was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord.
The pilgrim saw Jerusalem. It was different from the village or the country. Everything in Jerusalem was bound firmly together — city life! It was not a sprawling city, but a compact one — think New York more than Atlanta.
Jerusalem was a microcosm of the togetherness God had given to Israel. You get a better picture of Christ in the assembly.
- You get to see Christ in others.
- You get to receive from Christ through others.
- You get to learn of Christ from others.
The point of Hebrews 10:24–25 (ESV)—24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Ephesians 4:4–6 (ESV)—4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
2. To Be In Relationship With God (4)
4b to give thanks to the name of the Lord.
In the worship gathering we offer thanks to God.
- Thanksgiving magnifies God — Psalm 69:30 (ESV)—30 I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.
- Thanksgiving helps us live above feelings.
- Thanksgiving reminds us of our vital relationship with God.
3. To Hear From The Word Of God (5)
5 There thrones for judgment were set, the thrones of the house of David.
In the worship gathering we hear the judgments — the word — of God.
- The pillar and buttress of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15).
- 1 Timothy 4:13 (ESV)—13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.
- 1 Timothy 5:17 (ESV)—17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.
- 2 Timothy 3:16 (ESV)—16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
- 2 Timothy 4:2 (ESV)—2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. His style:
4. To Experience The Peace Of God (6-7)
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they be secure who love you! 7 Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!”
The pilgrim prays for the peace of Jerusalem.
Old Testament version of:
- Matthew 6:10 (ESV)—10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
- John 17:20–21 (ESV)—20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
- 1 Timothy 2:1–2 (ESV)—1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
The assembly was a small part of this pilgrim’s life. Just as collective worship is a small part of our lives today. But what we find there overflows into the rest of the week.
The pilgrim understands it is the most practical thing to go to worship.
- Their blade is sharpened.
- Their thirst is satisfied.
- Their nourishment is fulfilled.
Peace we get — identity, meaning / victory over sin / seeing exemplary people
C. So We Seek The Good Of The Worship Gathering (8-9)
8 For my brothers and companions’ sake I will say, “Peace be within you!” 9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.
Our pilgrim’s heart grows for the house of the Lord. When it is doing well, God’s people are doing well. Worship, prayer, sacrifice, sanctification…these would all find be fostered at the house of God. He wants these elements. So he prays for Jerusalem, wanting the house to do well. He loves God’s house and God’s people.
Our pilgrim is acting like David dancing as the ark came to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6). He had a vision for what Jerusalem would be. He wanted to build it up, along with a temple, but Solomon his son would do that work.
So this psalm is, in a sense, prophetic. Perhaps we must prophetically sing this regarding church.