I rejoiced with those who said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
Our feet are standing
within your gates, Jerusalem—
Jerusalem, built as a city should be,
solidly joined together,
where the tribes, Yahweh’s tribes,
go up to give thanks to the name of Yahweh.
(this is an ordinance for Israel)
There, thrones for judgment are placed,
thrones of the house of David.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May those who love you prosper,
may there be peace within your walls,
prosperity within your fortresses.
Because of my brothers and friends,
I will say, “”Peace be with you.”
Because of the house of the LORD our God,
I will seek your good.
* * *
There were three yearly festivals the Jews were required to attend: Passover, Day of Atonement, and The Festival of Booths. As we read these Psalms– poems and hymns the Jews used as they traveled to these festivals– it seems appropriate to note that this was a requirement. No question. No argument. Nobody skipped it.
Ok. Real talk.
I’ve always been a “church girl”. I believe in its importance. I think we’re meant to learn and serve in community. I believe the church is God’s gift to us to do these things.
I’ve not always rejoiced at the thought of going to church.
I’m going to take a guess that David, the author of this Psalm, didn’t always feel glad either. This Psalm is interesting to me because there is joy here about something that he has to do.
How do you stay joyful about something that’s required? Here are a few notes to consider as you read this with me:
Some days we need to preach to ourselves.
My study Bible has a note that this Psalm shares a lot of similarities in wording with Isaiah 2:2-4. David may have been quoting Scripture to himself here. I can’t think of a better way to get my head and heart in the right place to worship.
The focus is on what is good.
As messy as your local church might be, turning your attention to what is good is one of the best things you can do.
Going to church isn’t just about our own needs.
David prepares for worship by praying for this city and for the good of the people. What if we went to church praying for our community? What if we went with a prayerful attitude that others would be blessed and encouraged?
A prayer for your drive to church:
Thank you, Father, for the opportunity to remember all you’ve done.
Thank you for this time we have to think about you.
Make us aware of the needs around us.
May we show your love to our next door neighbors as well as those sitting in the row in front of us today.
(Next Psalm installment here)