Psalms for the Journey
Mom and Dad taught me to revere God’s House of our worship to Him. They did not teach me to worship the House, but the God of House. I was taught in very tangible ways. I saw God’s House built from the ground breaking on a bare piece of land, through construction with my Grandpa Lacquement as the carpenter and contractor, with my aunt working on curtains and my mom doing all the ceramic tile work in the bathrooms to the final dedication to the building where we would meet as a congregation to worship God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. My family and others would come in the evenings to sweep and carry off the debris of building. When I smell the essence of cut wood I am transported back to this time.
A great amount of passionate praying preceded this huge task that was beyond our means at the time. My Grandma Kellerby was led to talk with her employer, who was not a Christian but loved Grandma, to consider loaning the money to begin construction of God’s House. The employer said yes! The work began.
We still needed funds for the furnishings inside, so back to the altar to ask God to provide. We were challenged as a church to raise money on our own. We received one dollar each, even the kids, as “seed money”. We were to invest it (you probably know the passage the preacher used that day of the talents) in whatever God led us to do. I bought ingredients to make fudge. Mom helped me. We made it each night, let it set, then wrapped individual pieces to sell to my teachers and classmates the next morning. I carried it in my lunchbox. We priced each piece at 25 cents. I sold out by noon each day. Fudge sales were booming!
Other families did other projects that did equally well. We all worked together as a congregation of young and old, focused on one goal…to build God’s House! What was amazing is that God built us as we built His house. I have never experienced anything like this in my latter life. Jesus was and is our Cornerstone that defined God’s dwelling in us and in His House built on earth.
Dedication day was quite the celebration. Every person was enthusiastically vested in the project and praised God greatly. Every person tired from the hard work, appreciated what God had done in and through them. That’s why our next Psalm, which is believed to be a litany of praise to God for the building of His House in Zion, is meaningful to me this morning. What a precious flashback to my childhood of building God’s House in my neighborhood.
It was not all roses and sweetness, however, in my experience. The enemy tried several times to thwart our efforts and distract us from our work (like Nehemiah relates in his rebuilding project), but we hung in there, restored broken relationships among our selves and pulled it together by the grace of God. We learned that we cannot take our eyes off the God we serve and the reason we follow and obey Him. It’s really not about us. It’s all about God. Yes, God’s House was built in us.
Psalm 132, The Message
A Pilgrim Song
1-5 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.”
6-7 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!”
8-10 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.”
11-18 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.
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.
I’ll shower blessings on the pilgrims who come here,
and give supper to those who arrive hungry;
I’ll dress my priests in salvation clothes;
the holy people will sing their hearts out!
Oh, I’ll make the place radiant for David!
I’ll fill it with light for my anointed!
I’ll dress his enemies in dirty rags,
but I’ll make his crown sparkle with splendor.”
What do we learn?
–The completion of the temple was no assurance of God’s blessing on Israel, for the important thing was that the people fulfill their responsibilities toward the Lord.
–Give God His Rightful Place (vv. 1-5).
–Express to God Your Joyful Worship (vv. 6-9).
–Remind God of His Faithful Covenant (vv. 10-12).
–Trust God for His Bountiful Blessings (vv. 13-18).
Praise God from Whom ALL blessings flow….forever and ever, Amen!