A SONG OF ASCENTS.
Remember, O LORD, in David’s favor, all the hardships he endured, 2 how he swore to the LORD and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob, 3 “I will not enter my house or get into my bed, 4 I will not give sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids, 5 until I find a place for the LORD, a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.” 6 Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah; we found it in the fields of Jaar. 7 “Let us go to his dwelling place; let us worship at his footstool!” 8 Arise, O LORD, and go to your resting place, you and the ark of your might. 9 Let your priests be clothed with righteousness, and let your saints shout for joy. 10 For the sake of your servant David, do not turn away the face of your anointed one.
11 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. 12 If your sons keep my covenant and my testimonies that I shall teach them, their sons also forever shall sit on your throne.” 13 For the LORD has chosen Zion; he has desired it for his dwelling place: 14 “This is my resting place forever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it. 15 I will abundantly bless her provisions; I will satisfy her poor with bread. 16 Her priests I will clothe with salvation, and her saints will shout for joy. 17 There I will make a horn to sprout for David; I have prepared a lamp for my anointed. 18 His enemies I will clothe with shame, but on him his crown will shine.”
A few thoughts for meditation:
This psalm is based upon the account in 2 Samuel 7 where David longed to build a house for the ark of God, and God in return promised to build a house (i.e. dynasty) for David. The first half of the psalm focuses on David’s commitment to God. The second focuses on God’s response to David and Israel. The psalm was likely sung by later kings in commemoration of the events leading to the building of the temple.
1) The song first called God to remember David’s hardships as he struggled to prepare a house for the Lord in Jerusalem. Such an enterprise was a daunting task. And in fact, David was not permitted by God to actually build it himself. Solomon would finish the job. But David did all he could to make preparations for the work. His own mindset was that he should not live in a nice house while the ark of God rests in a tent (2 Sam 7:2). He was driven by a passion to honor the Lord with a prominent house in his chosen city among his chosen people. In vs. 6, we see a call to worship, calling Israel to come and gather before the Lord in Jerusalem. It likely recalled to mind either the day David brought the ark to Jerusalem, or the day Solomon consecrated the finished temple. David was leading his people to worship the Lord with their priests in place. Then in vs 10, the later king (a descendant of David) who sang this, asked for God to keep his promises to David. All of this is a grand picture of God graciously providing mediators (priests and kings) to his sinful people so that they can continue to live in fellowship with him. It as a time of great joy in the undeserved gifts, promises, and presence of God.
2) Then vs. 11 switches the focus to God’s response to David. The promise God made to David is repeated, that God would build a house, a royal dynasty, that would rule over God’s people forever if they remained faithful to the covenant. Then the Lord celebrates and rejoices in the people he has chosen and recounts his commitment to abundantly bless his people. The picture of one of perfect balance; God living in the midst of his people, providing their daily needs, providing perfect priests to mediate for them, and a perfect king to rule them and protect them from their enemies. Again, notice the central theme of grace behind all this. God comes, God saves, God establishes priests and kings, God brings joy and peace to an undeserving people. God abundantly provided and maintained the bridges to fellowship.
The typology is rich here. All of these types are fulfilled by Christ. He is the promised faithful king from David’s line (Matt 1:1-17). He is the righteous priest who brings salvation (Heb 4:14-16). He is the temple where God’s presence abides (John 2:19-21). It’s through him that God’s people receive every spiritual blessing (Eph 1:3). The great joy and satisfaction the pilgrims had when they saw the temple and throne of Jerusalem is the same joy and satisfaction we should have when we think about all that God has given us in Christ, especially when we gather together for worship as a congregation. God has kept his promises of salvation through the ages, and one day all of God’s people from all ages and nations will gather for celebration around his throne forever.