Arrangement of Israelite camp — God at the center.
- East side: Judah, Issachar, Zebulun
- South side: Reuben, Simeon, Gad
- West side: Ephraim, Manasseh, Benjamin
- North side: Dan, Asher, Napthtali
- The middle: The Levites with the tabernacle of God.
Truth illustrated: Israel was great when God was at the center.
David knew this. The sweet psalmist of Israel (2 Samuel 23:1) continually fought for God at the center of Israelite life. The disciple, the pilgrim, must do the same, for there is a constant creep away from this.
Theme: Today’s spiritual temperature can be regulated by the past and the future; ancient Israel did this by considering David — past, present, and future. Let’s go back to the Davidic heart.
- Look back: God was at the center.
- Look around: Is God at the center?
- Look forward: God will be at the center.
Look Back: God was at the center. (132:1-5)
1 Remember, O Lord, in David’s favor, all the hardships he endured, 2 how he swore to the Lord and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob, 3 “I will not enter my house or get into my bed, 4 I will not give sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids, 5 until I find a place for the Lord, a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”
David had many difficulties in life, but the hardships this psalm talks about aren’t the ones we normally think of, but the hardships of maintaining the worship of the LORD in Israel. For all his faults, David always stayed true to the Living God, which made him rare.
Key Verse: 1 Chronicles 13:3 (ESV)—3 “Then let us bring again the ark of our God to us, for we did not seek it in the days of Saul.”
David wanted God at the center of Israel again.
- At the start of his reign — moving the ark.
- During his reign — writing the prayer book.
- At the end of his reign — preparing for the temple.
There is much of David we cannot have. But there is one thing we can have. We won’t have the exploits and callings of David, but we can have his heart.
This is not about talents, abilities, or callings, but love. David heard — Deuteronomy 6:5 (ESV)—5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
Follow up questions:
- Do I sense myself trending towards — or away from — the Davidic heart?
- What — or whom — have I treasured?
- When I read the Psalms, do I sense a similar longing for God? Have a ruined my appetite for Him?
Cross Reference: Jeremiah 2:13 (ESV)—13 for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.
Look Around: Is God at the center? (132:6-12)
6 Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah; we found it in the fields of Jaar. 7 “Let us go to his dwelling place; let us worship at his footstool!”
The pilgrims allude sing of the time the ark was found. By Saul’s time it had become a lucky charm, a superstition, so God allowed its capture. When the Philistines returned it to Israel it was forgotten in Jaar (region of Kiriath-Jearim) for twenty years (1 Samuel 7:1-2). David (and the people) heard of it while they were in the area of Bethlehem (Ephrathah). So David went and got the ark.
1 Chronicles 13:3 (ESV)—3 “Then let us bring again the ark of our God to us.”
We need honesty and repentance and a bit of leadership to get out of that twenty year old rut.
8 Arise, O Lord, and go to your resting place, you and the ark of your might. 9 Let your priests be clothed with righteousness, and let your saints shout for joy. 10 For the sake of your servant David, do not turn away the face of your anointed one.
The first attempt at bringing the ark to Jerusalem had been colored by an unrighteous act of the priests. The second time they behaved biblically.
10 For the sake of your servant David: Our prayer — “For the sake of Christ…”
They were praying to experience their true identity — descendants of King David!
See the gap between identity and experience.
- We are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 6:15, Ephesians 2:10).
- We are born again (John 3:3).
- 2:5 Alive together with Christ.
- 2:10 Created in Christ.
- 2:13 In Christ…brought near.
- 3:6 Partakers of the promise in Christ.
- 1:3 Blessed us in Christ.
Colossians 3:2–3 (ESV)—2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
11 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. 12 If your sons keep my covenant and my testimonies that I shall teach them, their sons also forever shall sit on your throne.”
Blessing attached to obedience.
Look Ahead: God will be at the center. (132:13-18)
13 For the Lord has chosen Zion; he has desired it for his dwelling place: 14 “This is my resting place forever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it. 15 I will abundantly bless her provisions; I will satisfy her poor with bread. 16 Her priests I will clothe with salvation, and her saints will shout for joy. 17 There I will make a horn to sprout for David; I have prepared a lamp for my anointed. 18 His enemies I will clothe with shame, but on him his crown will shine.”
1K years with Christ: Revelation 20:6 (ESV)—6 Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.
But then forever: Revelation 21:10 (ESV)—10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, Look ahead: God will be at the center forever.
17 Horn: Jesus, the horn of David!
- This word for “horn” is connected to the word for “branch” — which serves as yet another picture of Jesus.
- Jeremiah 23:5 (ESV)—5 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.
Notice how often God says “I will” or “I shall” or “I have” in this passage (verse 12-18).
Look ahead: God is more devoted than David ever was.
Look ahead: Future Jerusalem should impact life today.
- Kingdom of priests.
Contrast: Then we will experience these things, whereas now we may experience these things.
Message: God was at the center. God will be at the center. So is God at the center?