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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Psalm 134 - Mutual Blessings

Verses 1 and 2 express the desires of the worshippers for the priests and others who served overnight in the temple. Twenty-four Levites, three priests and the captain of the guard were on duty each night. Verse 3 is the response of the priests to the worshippers given in the form of a benediction.

It is clear that what the worshippers want is that the priests and others in the temple should speak well of the Lord as they performed their tasks. Perhaps the worshippers realised the dangers connected to repetition of rituals. Or maybe they knew that slackness could have been a possibility at night because no one would be observing those working in the temple.

How does one speak well of the Lord? It means to announce to others the great things that God has done, and to do so clearly, passionately, regularly, and thankfully. The God of Israel had done great things for them as a nation. Similarly, we should desire our God-appointed church leaders to speak well of his gracious dealings with us in redemption from the bondage of sin, in restoration to his family as his children, in the renewing that occurs in sanctification, and in having the great prospect of heaven.

The priest and Levites on duty in the temple responded with the words of verse 3: ‘The Lord who made heaven and earth bless you from Zion!’ Immediately we have an example of speaking well of the Lord. In saying this benediction, the temple workers were giving assurance that they were remembering their God-given calling.

Even in such a short sentence there are many features of the greatness of God. One is that they worshipped the same God as the worshippers did. Of course, this is an obvious point, but one that we should always remember.

Secondly, they reminded the worshippers of God’s great abilities. He was the Maker and Upholder of all that exists (the universe) and would take care of them wherever they were. Although they would have to return home from Jerusalem, the Lord would still bless them from Zion. The conveyor belt of blessings would continue to provide the worshippers with spiritual blessings wherever they were. 

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