Today: [Psalm 131-132] Psalms of Ascent Continued. Psalm 131 is a very short chapter with a major message to us about discretion and humility. Arrogant men have something to say about everything. David though he walked in the wisdom of God also knew when to keep his mouth shut. Do you know when to be quiet and when to speak? Psalm 132 lauds David’s rule as a perpetual throne. In truth the line of kings over the southern kingdom was extinguished in the Babylonian captivity – but it was fulfilled in Christ and in you and I as kings and priests unto God.
[Psa 131:1-3 KJV] 1 [[A Song of degrees of David.]] LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. 2 Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul [is] even as a weaned child. 3 Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and for ever.
Psalm 131 is also ranked as one of the “psalms of ascent” and is categorized as well as one of the “confidence psalms” of David. Bible scholars see this psalm as being written before David was king when he was under suspicion of fomenting rebellion against Saul. Verse 1 is a verse I resort to often when I am being baited into a conversation that is not edifying or when someone wants to capture me in my words for their own gain.
My father has often remarked that a preacher (or an opinionated Christian) has something to say about everything. Learn to be still when others are showing their lack of discretion by speaking when they should be quiet. Paul warned young leaders in the book of 1 Thessalonians concerning this:
[1Th 4:11 KJV] 11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;
It is one thing to study to speak up and quite another to study to be quiet. You don’t have to tell everyone who listens what you think on a given matter. Learn to restrain your words. Ec. 5:3 says that a fool’s voice (or lack of wisdom) is known in the multitude of their words. Proverbs 2:11 says that discretion will preserve you while others are destroyed and set at naught because they opened their mouth when they should have remained quiet.
You have to know when you are in Saul’s house. When David was in Saul’s house 1 Sam. 18:5 says he went in and out wisely among the people because he knew that one misspoken word or misinterpreted action would have created problems for him that could be avoided by walking in a spirit of distraction. Learn from that example. We often say learn to be a gatherer of information and not a dispenser of information. Go low when others are lifting themselves up in pride. Decline to draw attention to yourself until God bids you to speak.
[Psa 132:1-18 KJV] 1 A Song of degrees. LORD, remember David, [and] all his afflictions: 2 How he sware unto the LORD, [and] vowed unto the mighty [God] of Jacob; 3 Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed; 4 I will not give sleep to mine eyes, [or] slumber to mine eyelids, 5 Until I find out a place for the LORD, an habitation for the mighty [God] of Jacob. 6 Lo, we heard of it at Ephratah: we found it in the fields of the wood. 7 We will go into his tabernacles: we will worship at his footstool. 8 Arise, O LORD, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength. 9 Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy. 10 For thy servant David’s sake turn not away the face of thine anointed.
Psalm 132 is included in the psalms of ascent that the pilgrims to Jerusalem for centuries would quote when they came in sight of the city. It speaks of David’s passion for the house of the Lord and to build a temple to God. During David’s lifetime the tabernacle of Moses was still in use. The tent known as David’s tabernacle housed the ark of the Covenant. He wanted to see what eventually became known as Solomon’s temple built and established. He spent the better part of his reign planning, coordinating and gathering building materials for this project.
For us when we read of David’s passion we look not to a building on a piece of ground in Jerusalem but within ourselves for we are built up spiritually in our persons to be the tabernacle of God, the dwelling place of God on earth. To this the New Testament writers affirm:
John recorded the disputation of the Jews with Jesus when He said He would raise up the temple in three days. John 2:21 tells us that the temple Jesus was speaking of was the temple of His body. 1 Cor. 12:27 says we are the body of Christ in our persons as the community of born again believers. We are the substance of that temple that Solomon’s edifice was only a shadow.
[1Co 3:16-17 KJV] 16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which [temple] ye are.
David was passionate to prepare a fitting temple for God to dwell in. What is your attitude and understanding of your body as the temple of God. This is more than just a passing acknowledgment. The temple was the center of Jewish life and thought for centuries and still is. What of your own body? Are you truly rooted and grounded in this great fact that you are the dwelling place of God in the earth. All of the veneration and glory accorded to the temple in the Old Testament is transferred to you as an individual in your physicality and to the community of believers on the whole. You are the body of Christ!
[1Co 6:19 KJV] 19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
In our culture we see pagan influence in the viewpoint that the body is seen as an instrument of self-aggrandizement and the pursuit of hedonistic experience. Many struggle with appetites and the effect of overindulgence on their health. Perhaps an understanding that you can’t solve the problem on the level of the problem. We must look deeper. Your body is not your own. This is more than a passive observation. You belong to God. It is part of your service to the Father to preserve and honor him by how you treat your physical body. 1 Cor. 11:28,29 tells us that many are weak and die before their time because they discern not the body of Christ – that you in your own person are. This is a whole other perspective on health and indulgence.
11 The LORD hath sworn [in] truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne. 12 If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore. 13 For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired [it] for his habitation. 14 This [is] my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it. 15 I will abundantly bless her provision: I will satisfy her poor with bread. 16 I will also clothe her priests with salvation: and her saints shall shout aloud for joy. 17 There will I make the horn of David to bud: I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed. 18 His enemies will I clothe with shame: but upon himself shall his crown flourish.
God promised David that there would not fail a king on the throne forever of his bloodline. Did this promise come true? When the Babylonians took the southern kingdom that was the end of the unbroken line of kings from David’s time. After the time of Jesus and the birth of the church the Romans and the Jews under Simon Barcoba hunted down and destroyed every living member of Jesus’ family both from Mary and Joseph’s lineage. How do we interpret then the promise of an unbroken line of rulers? The answer is that it is fulfilled in Christ.
1 Tim. 6:15 and Rev. 17:14 clearly state that Jesus is the king of kings and Lord of lords. The promise of a king from the sons of David to sit on the throne forever is therefore fulfilled in Christ into eternity. You and I also as believers are kings and priests unto God. You have the spiritual DNA of David in your life through the promise of God. When verse 17 says that David’s lamp will not go out we recall the words of Christ that you are the light of the world and a lamp to those who do not know Christ as you rule and reign in Him.
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