Psalm 122: Gathering with Gladness
Supper Table Psalms
By Zach Dietrich
Last month, Pastor Zach began a new series of short family devotions that you can read along with Soteria’s psalm of the month. The Dietrich family calls them Supper Table Psalms because they just so happen to read psalms at suppertime. But, each family is different. Whether it’s in the morning at breakfast or in the evening at suppertime, during family time in the living room or before lights out at bedtime, make moments to read God’s word together. As we finish up Psalm 122 in March, read it one more time with your family and think how gathering as Christians brings us the same gladness David sang about when he went to Jerusalem.
“I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD!’ Our feet have been standing within your gates, O Jerusalem!” (Psalm 122:1-2).
If you could travel to any city in the world, which one would it be? Would you look out over Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower? Would you ride a gondola in the canals of Venice? Would you ponder history on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.? Or, would you take in the symphony of people in Times Square? Beautiful buildings, streets clamoring with competing colors, smells, and noises, and standing where history happened. Cities are like old friends that tug at our hearts to visit them and spend time with them.
No city tugged at King David more than Jerusalem, and Psalm 122 is his homesick heart full and bursting in song when he finally re-entered Jerusalem’s gates. David sang of Jerusalem more as a friend than a place. “O, Jerusalem,” he sang, and he recalled all that he loved. He loved the organized commotion in the streets. “Jerusalem – built as a city that is bound firmly together,” (Psalm 122:3). He loved the people. Jerusalem wasn’t for one tribe only but all tribes of Israel.
More than gates and streets, what made Jerusalem special to David was that Jerusalem was the place of God’s presence where God’s people worshiped him. “I was glad when they said, ‘Let us go to the house of God.’” Perhaps David even dreamed of what Jerusalem would someday become when his son Solomon built the temple, the house of God. It would be a little heaven on earth! No wonder Psalm 122 ends with a prayer for peace.
As Christians, our hearts don’t long for Jerusalem. God’s special place is no longer a temple or a house. A church building is not the house of God. No city on earth – not even Paris or New York – can ever fill our hearts. Instead, we long for a different city – a heavenly city – where we are in the presence of God, and where everything Psalm 122 sings and prays for will be real forever.
But, there is one place on earth where we now enjoy Psalm 122 gladness – in churches as we gather to worship Jesus. Because of Jesus, God’s special place is now in the hearts of believers. A church building is not the house of God, but when we gather with God’s church – the people – we rejoice at our security in Christ, and we enjoy friends in Christ. We can pray for the peace and safety of Christians who may look different than us and who live in cities we’ll never visit. We can pray that God will protect our church family. And with full hearts, we’ll say, “I was glad!”