Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bless the Lord / Be Blessed By Him - Psalm 134

"Behold, bless the LORD,
all servants of the LORD,
who serve by night in the house of the LORD!
Lift up your hands to the sanctuary,
and bless the LORD.
May the LORD bless you from Zion,
He who made heaven and earth."
(Psalm 134)

This morning I come to the final Psalm of ascent. I'll miss these. This last one is a short one, but it says plenty. It speaks of blessing God and being blessed by Him. Glance with me at these 3 short verses and at the three points I have derived from them.

1. The ascenting psalmist begins with a call for ALL of the servants of the Lord to bless the Lord.

"Behold, bless the LORD, all servants of the LORD,
who serve by night in the house of the LORD!"

In the cultural context it is a call to the Levitical priests who served during the night watches of temple time to bless the name of Jehovah. It encourages them to speak well of their God - is He deserving of any other type of speech?

It is a call for them - it is also a call for us. We have been declared, by God, to be "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of God's own possession that we may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9)".

So, my fellow priests, are we blessing the Lord? Are we proclaiming the excellencies of this great God who has called us from darkness to light? Are we extolling the wonders and grace and mercies of this One who called us out and drew us in? "For you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy" (1 Peter 2:10). Are we blessing this One who is so worthy of our praise and adoration?

If not, is it not time to start? If we don't want to, if we have no desire to, then what does that say about the condition of our hearts?

2. The ascenting psalmist exhorts us to bless the Lord through our worship of Him.

"Lift up your hands to the sanctuary, and bless the LORD."

We are not only to speak well of Him with our lips, we are to live well to Him in our worship! "Let us lift up our hands in prayer and praise and vows. Let us do our religious work with diligence and cheerfulness and with an elevation of mind" (Henry).

So, my fellow worshippers, are we worshipping?
Are we reaching up to the One who has reached down to us?
With David are we "glad when they said unto me, let us go to the house of the LORD?"

Oh, may He make us glad. There is no other more glorious act done under the sun than this act of worship.

3. The ascenting psalmist ends with the benefit of being blessed as we bless.

"May the LORD bless you from Zion, He who made heaven and earth."

God deserves our blessing and our worship. He is God - that is enough motivation for us to praise Him. However, God is an ever benevolent God. He just keeps giving and giving and giving and giving. His mercies are new every morning. His loving-kindness is everlasting. His goodness endures forever. He is a fountain of never ceasing grace. The psalmist knows that. Therefore immediately on the heels of encouraging our blessing the name of God he prays that God will in turn bless us - because that is simply what God does.

This closing prayer in verse 3 is a reminder to us that it is the blessing of God that we should desire. It is not the blessing of men, nor the blessing of the world. It is not wealth, or fame, or prosperity that we should long for - it is God and His gifts. We should seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. We should hunger and thirst for His righteousness. We should desire His gifts and not our own.

Matthew Henry ends his brief comments on this psalm with these words.

"God's blessing us is His doing well for us. It is that which we are taught here to desire. We need desire no more to make us happy than to be blessed of the Lord, for those whom He blesses are blessed indeed."

How true. How wonderfully true.

My friends, my fellow servants, may we bless the Lord this day. May we worship Him with lifted hands and hearts and heads and as we do may we wait expectantly for the true blessings that come from being His people and the sheep of His pasture. It is "He who made heaven and earth." It is He who made us and not we ourselves. Let us therefore enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Let us give thanks to Him and bless His name. For He is good and His loving-kindness is everlasting and His faithfulness is to all generations.

Bless the Lord with me and be blessed as you do!!

In His glorious grace,


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