A heart set on pilgrimage

I’ve  just gone through Beth Moore’s “Stepping Up—A journey through the Psalms of Ascent” bible study.

At the start of this “journey” I was in Castlegar, B.C. At the end of this “journey” I am in Swift Current. Last night, as I closed the study, I found myself cheering out loud and simply awestruck with everything that has happened to me (us) in the last four months. I can relate to and practically mirror the actions and emotions in every single psalm I’ve just studied.

This particular “journey” began in Psalm 120. To quote Beth Moore: “far away from Jerusalem in the alien lands of Meshech and Kedar. The woe of surroundings they’d known ‘too long’ (Ps. 120:6) had not demoralized them as their enemy surely hoped. Instead, it heightened their anticipation for each arduous journey to Mount Zion and deepened their conviction not to miss it for the world.

Psalm 121 followed with the pilgrims on their risky way. Mountains loomed, but a Watcher guarded them from the heavens. They recited their trust in God to be their help, to keep their feet from slipping, and to stay awake while they fitfully slumbered amid the harsh elements.  Psalm 122 followed with words expressing the near ecstasy of arrival: ‘Our feet are standing in your gates, O Jerusalem’ (v.2)!

“Psalms 123-133 filled the psalmists’ mouths with a host of praises, themes, and petitions centred on everyday experiences such as farming and family. The choruses spoke of pain, repentance, redemption and humility and coaxed their impatient souls to wait like watchmen for the Lord. The sojourner’s songbook ten concluded with ‘the highest point of ascent in this collection’.

 

Psalm 134 – A song of ascents (Word Biblical Commentary translation)

Come, bless Yahweh, all you servants of Yahweh,

who are standing in Yahweh’s house by night.

Raise your hands toward the holy place and bless Yahweh.

May Yahweh bless you from Zion, the one who made heaven and earth.

 

This is the final psalm in the “journey” and what has struck me hard is the call … no, the command … to bless the Lord.

I have never really thought about what it means to bless the Lord. Have you? I always pray for blessing from the Lord. And pray over people that they receive blessings from Him. But have I ever thought about blessing the Lord? I can honestly say, no.

How can I, in my imperfection, bless the Lord? It seemed ridiculous to me. Until I read a little further in my study.

Comments in the New Interpreter’s Bible say: “After Psalm 133 has celebrated the unity of the gathered people of God in Zion, Psalm 134 addresses the gathered congregation, inviting them to do what they had come to Jerusalem to do: praise the Lord.”

The people arrived at their destination. That is, Jerusalem. They did not go there to sit around and tell stories about the trip or spend their time there as tourists, visiting bazaars, window shopping and trading. They did not check Jerusalem off their lists of things to do and begin looking for another holy place to visit. They did not go there to make business contacts that would improve prospects back home. They made the trip to bless (praise) God. They were there because God blessed them. And now they were to bless God.

Gary and I have made this trip to bless God. We are here because God has blessed us and now we are to bless Him. Through praise, worship, obedience, ministry and doing what we came to do.

Pray for us as the Tae Kwon Do school launches in February!

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