Sunday, April 05, 2020

Keeping Your Wits When Others Are Insane- Day 14

Thank you for reading along on the Lord's Day, April 5, 2020.  There are only 3 more Psalms left in this section known as the Psalms of Ascent.

Sorry for the disjointed verse today... but I had to interrupt Psalm 132 from the testimony in 2 Samuel and 1 Kings- this is one amazing story!

The One we climb to meet is a covenant keeping God who has a plan, a purpose, and a blessing for us.

One day, our climbing will be done, and gravity will finally have to power over us. All of the things that weigh us down and knock us off course will be done away with. And we will see every promise He made to us be fulfilled. Even though we are faithless, He keeps His Word, generation to generation!


Remember, O Lord, in David's favor, all the hardships he endured, 
how he swore to the Lord and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob, 

 (David's oath) Then David said to Nathan the prophet, “Look, I am living in a palace made of cedar wood, but the Ark of God is in a tent!” (2 Sam. 11)

 (David's hardship) David’s army had won the battle that day. But it became a very sad day for all the people, because they heard that the king was very sad for his son. 3 The people came into the city quietly that day. They were like an army that had been defeated in battle and had run away. 4 The king covered his face and cried loudly, “My son Absalom! Absalom, my son, my son!” (2 Sam. 19)

I will not enter my house or get into my bed
I will not give sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids
until I find a place for the Lord,
a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.” 

Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah (Bethlehem);
we found it in the fields of Jaar (land of the Philistines)

“Let us go to his dwelling place;
let us worship at his footstool!” 

Arise, O Lord, and go to your resting place,
you and the ark of your might. 

Let your priests be clothed with righteousness,
and let your saints shout for joy. 

For the sake of your servant David,
do not turn away the face of your anointed one

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. 

Since it was almost time for David to die, he gave his son Solomon his last commands. 2 David said, “My time to die is near. Be a good and strong leader. 3 Obey the Lord your God. Follow him by obeying his demands, his commands, his laws, and his rules that are written in the teachings of Moses. If you do these things, you will be successful in all you do and wherever you go. 4 And if you obey the Lord, he will keep the promise he made to me. ( I Kings 2)

If your sons keep my covenant
and my testimonies that I shall teach them,
their sons also forever
shall sit on your throne.” 

Then Solomon said, “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel. He has done what he promised to my father David. The Lord said, 16 ‘Since the time I brought my people Israel out of Egypt, I have not chosen a city in any tribe of Israel where a temple will be built for me. But I have chosen David to lead my people Israel.’

17 “My father David wanted to build a temple for the Lord, the God of Israel. 18 But the Lord said to my father David, ‘It was good that you wanted to build a temple for me. 19 But you are not the one to build it. Your son, who comes from your own body, is the one who will build my temple.’

 “Now the Lord has kept his promise. I am the king now in place of David my father. Now I rule Israel as the Lord promised, and I have built the Temple for the Lord, the God of Israel. 21 I have made a place there for the Ark, in which is the Agreement the Lord made with our ancestors when he brought them out of Egypt.” ( I Kings 8)

For the Lord has chosen Zion;
he has desired it for his dwelling place: 

“This is my resting place forever;
here I will dwell, for I have desired it. 

I will abundantly bless her provisions;
I will satisfy her poor with bread. 
Her priests I will clothe with salvation,
and her saints will shout for joy. 

These are the last words of David.....

“This is how God has cared for my family.
God made a lasting agreement with me,
right and sure in every way.
He will accomplish my salvation
and satisfy all my desires.
(2 Sam 23)

There I will make a horn to sprout for David;
I have prepared a lamp for my anointed. 

Then Solomon stood facing the Lord’s altar, and all the Israelites were standing behind him. He spread out his hands toward the sky  and said:

Lord, God of Israel, there is no god like you in heaven above or on earth below. You keep your agreement of love with your servants who truly follow you. 24 You have kept the promise you made to your servant David, my father. You spoke it with your own mouth and finished it with your hands today."

His enemies I will clothe with shame,
but on him his crown will shine.”

The pilgrims who made the journey to Jerusalem did it on more than one occasion every year. Some made it for every festival, thus creating a pattern of duty and delight. I liken it a little bit like those who travel on Saturdays in the fall to tailgate and keep going to basketball and baseball games as well (man, I am longing again for those days!). It is quite a commitment of time, energy, and finances for those types of fans.

At some point, it all becomes routine. You know the road, you know how to pack, you know the resting places- it is old and new at the same time.

The first time you do it, there is a level of anxiety. But after a while, you can do it in your sleep.

Be careful! The perplexity of normalization can be a trend toward monotony. When you were unsure and it was new- you were filled with the adrenaline of adventure. Now that you know the road, and the routine doesn't create the same excitement. What a tough predicament! You want to accomplish and experience, but doing the routine over and over creates ritualism, fatigue, and boredom. Sadly, this can happen in good marriages and in good pursuits!

This current crisis is no difference.... we are slowly entering a strange routine, though it is so different that even a few weeks ago!

This Psalm probes the solution to this quandary. How can I capture David's passion? What gave him the driving resolution to pursue the return of the Ark and the building of the Temple is such a way that the fire never died?

Here are a few important points of note:

Passion is not about activity- it is the power of personal relationships: Yes, we go on the same road- but the variety in the experience is the people we intimately share it with. Even if it is the same people, people are variations within themselves.

Go ahead and run with the routine, embrace day to day discipline: If we keep up the pace, we will run into what I call 'freshenings' and the slow addition of time builds stability and endurance. Most of the godly men in Scripture walked in obedience even though their face to face with encounter had ended 20 years previous. Some people chase the wind, others wait and know that it will come back to them if they are patient.

The power of the promise resides in God, not in men: This Psalm is Solomon's tribute to the ultimate fountain of blessing; David's passion meeting God's promise in providential perfection of space, time, and history. In the end, it was God who held the power to do as He had already promised. The Davidic Covenant was secure in God's promise- the beauty of it was that it shone brilliant in David's passionate response! God already knew it was going to be His Son who would pay the penalty of the broken covenant. He alone had taken on the terms of the contract (or bond in blood, sovereignly sealed as O. Palmer Robertson called it), He alone was to bear its penalty. Even David fell short in his ability to fulfill his promise. He broke God's law and was not allowed to build the temple.

Realize that it is never clean or easy: I think that idealists and perfectionists are always facing sad circumstances. A word that rises out of the page is 'resting place'- a longing that we have, but one that will never become an ultimate reality until the new Jerusalem is established.

But we can find rest in this realm if we are willing to see it and wait for it.

I love the parallel perspective:

No sleep for David- he had a life long passionate pursuit.
No rest for men- weighed down by the persistent patterns in life

Prayers/Desire in vs 9 Let your priests be clothed with righteousness,
and let your saints shout for joy.

Promise/Hope is vs 16 Her priests I will clothe with salvation,
and her saints will shout for joy.

Ultimately- This is ALL ABOUT THE PRESENCE OF GOD HIMSELF. That is WHO we worship on this grand day!

Yes, God is omni-present- but this Psalm is WHY the journey and WHY the ark and WHY the temple- it all represents a meeting of man and his Creator.

The Psalm is asking for God to GO to Jerusalem, a cry to "Meet us there in provision and peace" and so we climb because "Where He is, we want to be as well". It is the ultimate culmination of life itself.

In God there is the union of accomplishment AND relationship, passion and steady purpose, a hope that will never be in vain.

Until then, it is the tension of the NOW AND NOT YET. Faith and not sight.


Christ is always present in The Davidic Covenant:

vs. 6- Reference to Bethlehem (Ephrathah)
vs. 7- Footstool is reference to Christ as King
vs. 10- Anointed one in the line of David
vs. 12- a son of David will sit on the throne forever
vs. 17- the horn of David
vs. 18- the lamp for the Anointed One
vs. 19- enemies subdued by the King of Glory

We have been long enough on the journey to already be 'worn down'- but David never gave up his desire to build God's temple...even prevailing on the Lord Himself! Ask yourself these questions that David had no problem answering,

Can we stay on this journey without wearing down or wearing out or pulled into distractions?
Can we focus on the prize and not get lost in the journey?
Can we take time to enjoy the journey?
When the Son of Man returns, will He find faith on the earth?

Summing it up: This Psalm is a cry to God to continue His kingdom based on His covenant promise keeping in the past, the evidence of His blessing in the present, and His covenant promise and reward in the future.

"Psalm 132 develops a strong sense of continuity with the past and a surging sense of exploration into the future. It is the kind of thing we sing to stay normal without becoming dull, to walk upright in the middle of the road without getting stuck in a long rut of mediocrity. Its words prod us to reach into the future without losing touch with the daily reality. Its rhythms stimulate us to new adventures in the Spirit without making us lunatics. For Christian living demands that we keep our feet on the ground; it also asks us to make a leap of faith. A Christian who stays put is no better than a statue. A person who leaps about constantly is under suspicion of being not a man but a jumping jack. What we require is obedience—the strength to stand and the willingness to leap, and the sense to know when to do which. Which is exactly what we get when an accurate memory of Gods ways is combined with a lively hope in his promises."- Eugene Peterson
So, I keep asking the Lord- HELP! Don't let me lose my passion for you! Keep me walking on that steady climb with joy and endurance! Don't let me get bogged down in empty ritual or routine- keep blowing that wind of renewal and power to obey. And thank-you for the grace to recover when I fail.

"Lord, the feelings are not the same. I guess I'm older. I guess I've changed. And how I wish it had been explained, that as you're growing, you must remember- that nothing lasts, except the grace of God, by which I stand- and Jesus, my whole life would surely fall away- except the grace, by which I'm saved." Keith Green

We only have a few Psalms left in our climb... Have I even helped you?

If so... let me know!

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