Psalm 132:15-18 (NIV)
15 I’ll shower blessings on the pilgrims who come here, and give supper to those who arrive hungry; 16 I’ll dress my priests in salvation clothes; the holy people will sing their hearts out! 17 Oh, I’ll make the place radiant for David! I’ll fill it with light for my anointed! 18 I’ll dress his enemies in dirty rags, but I’ll make his crown sparkle with splendor.
“If we define the nature of our lives by the mistake of the moment or the defeat of the hour or the boredom of the day, we will define it wrongly. We need roots in the past to give obedience ballast and breadth; we need a vision of the future to give obedience direction and goal. And they must be connected. There must be an organic unity between them.” [Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, p. 163]
In Psalm 132:15-18, each verse speaks of a future reality based on the history of God among his people. Answer the questions below to give “root” to our present obedience in the future hope of God’s promises.
Verse 15: What are some prominent examples of God’s provision from Israel’s history?
Verse 16: How does worship and sacrifice expand our vision of obedience?
Verse 17: What are ways that God’s light or glory acted for God’s people? How does this relate to our present-day obedience?
Verse 18: Let’s pray for God’s kingdom to come quickly in our lives and our communities.
Psalm 132:13-14 (MSG)
Yes—I, God, chose Zion, the place I wanted for my shrine; This will always be my home; this is what I want, and I’m here for good.
“But Psalm132 doesn’t just keep our feet on the ground, it also gets them off the ground. Not only is it a solid foundation for the past, it is a daring leap into the future. For obedience is not a stodgy plodding in the ruts of religion, it is a hopeful race toward God’s promises. The second half of the psalm has a propellant quality to it. The psalmist is not an antiquarian reveling in the past for its own sake but a traveler using what he knows of the past to get to where he is going – to God.” [Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, p. 161]
In 2 Samuel 7, the Lord reminds David that he would choose where lived, not David or anyone else. We often think obedience is something that we decide to do for the Lord, instead of responding to his leading. What’s the difference between true obedience versus something that we decide to do for the Lord?
In an amazing reversal, in 2 Samuel 7:11-16, the Lord promised to build a house for David and his offspring. Psalm 132:13-14 echoes the Lord’s promise to always dwell with his people. Are there specific steps of obedience in which you are to pursue God’s presence in your life?
Psalm 132:11-12 (MSG)
Up, God, enjoy your new place of quiet repose, you and your mighty covenant ark; Get your priests all dressed up in justice; prompt your worshipers to sing this prayer: “Honor your servant David; don’t disdain your anointed one.”God gave David his word, he won’t back out on this promise:“One of your sons I will set on your throne; If your sons stay true to my Covenant and learn to live the way I teach them, Their sons will continue the line—always a son to sit on your throne.
“A Christian with a defective memory has to start everything from scratch and spends far too much of his or her time backtracking, repairing, starting over. A Christian with a good memory avoids repeating old sins, knows the easiest way through complex situations and instead of starting over each day, continues what was begun in Adam.” [Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, p. 161]
“Déjà vu” is a French term describing the feeling that one has lived through the present situation before. Have you ever felt like you were going through déjà vu when you found yourself making the same mistakes over and over?
How do we become “a Christian with a good memory” so that we don’t always have to start over?
Today, as we remember God’s promises, let’s pray for breakthrough that leads to obedience, especially in areas where we have experience déjà vu in all the wrong ways.
Psalm 132:6-7 (MSG)
Remember how we got the news in Ephrathah, learned all about it at Jaar Meadows? We shouted, “Let’s go to the shrine dedication! Let’s worship at God’s own footstool!”
“As this old ark song is resung now by the people of God on pilgrimage, historical memories are revived and relived: there is a vast, rich reality of obedience beneath the feet of the disciples. They are not the first persons to ascend these slopes on their way of obedience to God, and they will not be the last. Up these same roads, along these same paths, the ark had been carried, accompanied by a determined and expectant people… Christians tramp well-worn paths: obedience has a history.” [Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, p. 160]
If we think of obedience as following in the “well-worn paths” of the people of God throughout history (and not just our own limited experiences), how does this change your perspective on obedience?
“Remember…” This Psalm calls us to remember what happened with the people of God. Read through 2 Samuel 6. What are some things that we are to remember from this passage (blessings, warnings, encouragements, etc.)?
“Let’s go! Let’s worship!” These are the cries of people on pilgrimage as they remember God’s faithfulness together. How do we remember God’s faithfulness as a community together?
Today, let’s close in prayer, asking God to revive this heart of worship in us, in our families and in our communities.
Psalm 132:1-5 (MSG)
O God, remember David, remember all his troubles! And remember how he promised God, made a vow to the Strong God of Jacob, “I’m not going home, and I’m not going to bed, I’m not going to sleep, not even take time to rest, Until I find a home for God, a house for the Strong God of Jacob.”
“We want a Christian faith that has stability but is not petrified, that has vision but is not hallucinatory… How do we get the adult maturity to keep our feet on the ground and retain the childlike innocence to make the leap of faith?” – [Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, p. 157]
Psalm 132 recounts the story of David bringing the ark of the Lord home in 2 Samuel chapters 6-7. In his excitement, David worshiped unashamed (in his wife’s words “half-naked”!), and he even promised to build God a house to live in. Yet, the Lord had other plans in mind for David (and for all Israel), but he honored David’s zeal to worship him.
Can you think of commitments you’ve made to God in the past?
How did God respond to your commitments to him?
How can these kinds of commitments keep us “stable, not petrified” in our walk of faith and obedience?
Spend some time closing in prayer, asking God for a renewed childlike faith that pursues to honor the Lord.