• Hope Beyond Crisis

A Long Obedience

I've just finished reading the Songs of Ascent (Psalms 120-134) in my Quiet Times. Eugene Peterson wrote a book on these psalms called "A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society" that is worth reading.


I thought I would share with you a few thoughts from the final psalm (Ps 134).


This is the shortest chapter in the Bible - about 42 words in English (25 in Hebrew). It marks the end of the pilgrim's visit to Jerusalem. At the end of the festival, they sang the song as they left the city to make their way home.


Now bless the Lord,

all you servants of the Lord

who stand in the Lord’s house at night!

Lift up your hands in the holy place

and bless the Lord!


Vv.1-2 record the exhortation of the departing pilgrims to the temple priests who maintained the worship after all the crowds had left. Night work was ministry out of the limelight. It was behind-the-scenes. But they were still worshipping the same God.


Whether our ministry (or work) is visible or invisible, whether the crowds (or our boss) notice us, we are worshipping God by our actions and our words. When we work at home or in an empty office, we reveal how much we value God by the dedication of our worship -- when no one else is around.


May the Lord,

Maker of heaven and earth,

bless you from Zion.


V.3 records the priests' response to the departing worshippers. They pronounce the blessing/benediction from the location God had chosen as his footstool to meet with his people. Zion was the place the twelve tribes under David gathered to worship their God.


As we have experienced isolation and limitations on our ability to gather, perhaps we have come to appreciate in a new way the blessing that comes from being able to gather.


A final word about blessing.


Kidner wrote that for us to bless God is to acknowledge who and what he is. For God to bless us he must make us what we are not and give us what we have not. May God bless you with every spiritual blessing we have in Christ.


Geoff Folland

 

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