My House is His House - Psalm 132

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.

Lord, remember David and all that he suffered.
He made a solemn promise to the Lord.
He vowed to the Mighty One of Israel,
“I will not go home; I will not let myself rest.
I will not let my eyes sleep nor close my eyelids in slumber until I find a place to build a house for the Lord, a sanctuary for the Mighty One of Israel.”

We heard that the Ark was in Ephrathah; then we found it in the distant countryside of Jaar.
Let us go to the sanctuary of the Lord; let us worship at the footstool of his throne.
Arise, O Lord, and enter your resting place, along with the Ark, the symbol of your power.
May your priests be clothed in godliness; may your loyal servants sing for joy.
For the sake of your servant David, do not reject the king you have anointed.
The Lord swore an oath to David with a promise he will never take back:
“I will place one of your descendants on your throne.
If your descendants obey the terms of my covenant
and the laws that I teach them, then your royal line will continue forever and ever.”

For the Lord has chosen Jerusalem; he has desired it for his home.
“This is my resting place forever,” he said.
“I will live here, for this is the home I desired.
I will bless this city and make it prosperous;
I will satisfy its poor with food.
I will clothe its priests with godliness; its faithful servants will sing for joy.
Here I will increase the power of David; my anointed one will be a light for my people.
I will clothe his enemies with shame, but he will be a glorious king.”
-Psalm 132 (NLT)

Psalm 132 is the 13th song of ascent, pilgrim's song, or song of the steps; that in all are 15.  It is also the first song in the 5th set of three.  Titus Chu calls the 5th set, the stage of maturity.  To review, the five sets or stages are these, according to him:
  1. Vision
  2. Consecration
  3. Enjoyment
  4. Enlargement
  5. Maturity
Every stage and every step has matured us.  We have learned maturity or been discipled through each of the previous steps.  We start out with a large amount of selfishness or narcissism.  But then, we step outside our selves, and begin a journey towards God.  We learn to 'go vertical'.

After the first six steps or lessons, we have grown a lot, and then we come to Psalms 126-128, which we called the enjoyment set.  We learn there about living the enjoyable life.  But then we learned that we were not finished with growth.  The next stage, the enlargement stage of Psalms 129 to 131, taught us that we were shallow and still selfish.

We learned that there is still much redemption that we need from God, and we went deeper to open up to God to heal our lives.  We learned that suffering is part of the normal Christian life.  We also learned humility.

All of these things, these lessons, make us less selfish.  Maturity is a person walking before God who is generous.  The mature believer becomes a blessing to all.  He or she has learned to be blessed, then bless others; and to bless before they are themselves blessed (Luke 6:38).

Mature believers also have learned to discern the body of Christ.  They know that they are just part of the whole.  They know that their story is part of a larger story.

When we say or pray, "Lord, remember David and all that he suffered.", and what follows, about David's life; we are saying to God that we want to be like David, people who are after God's own heart.

The passion of David's life is worship.  He learned to worship, as a boy.  And he taught his people to worship, as a man, and as king.

David wanted God to be worshiped on earth.  That is why he cared so much about The Ark and building The Temple.  He wanted to build a house of worship.

The author of Psalm 132 recounts the story of David's desire to give The Ark a resting place and build a temple, and then God's response to build an everlasting dynasty through David.  The psalmist recounts this history and recites it as a prayer to God.

We now live in the far future from when this psalm was penned.  Jesus has come, who is the son of David.  Worship is now completely portable.  The Temple, that David's son built was ruined in 70 A.D.

So, what do we now learn from Psalm 132?  We learn that we, who are in Christ, David's son; are part of a bigger story.  This step or degree enjoins us to recount the story of David, and his desire to build God a house.  David is the man after God's own heart.  David was very blessed, but he also suffered.  He had afflictions, hardships, troubles, hard times, strenuous times and humblings.  He was brought to meekness and self denial by his life's circumstances.

David had good times and bad times.  He sought after God in many of the bad times and wrote psalms in them that bless us today.  David's heart ached over God's place of worship or God's house on earth.  David became so concerned about God, the presence of God, and the place for meeting with God for worship and prayer and offerings; that it overwhelmed him.  David said that God's place or God's house was more important to him than his home.

As we go up the path of maturity, as people of God, we make God and the things of God and even the people of God a priority in our lives.  And we learn to receive from God and be blessed.  "What a wonderful life God has given me", we might say.

But that is not the mountaintop of full maturity.  It is good, but not the best. We can be good Christian people, but not yet be reaching the maturity that Jesus has called us to, in giving up our lives for his sake.

David said, "I will not go home until I build God's house".  David's statement reveals his mature heart for God.  The mature person puts God over self or God's house over our house.  It means, to seek first the kingdom, it means that we count all things as loss compared to knowing him.

We are not Jesus' girlfriend.  We are his bride.  We have totally given ourselves, our whole lives to him; and we are completely in his care, for better or worse. We don't stay married to Christ only as the blessings flow, but we are married to him, because he is our only savior and because he is God.

The place of maturity is when we put him first in every aspect of our lives as our source of life.  If you don't have enough of anything, you need to first get more of him and let go of your self.

The mature believer sees everything they have as God's.  We are only stewards of it all.

David's mature faith of putting God first stepped him up into a higher level, where God gave him something beyond anything he could imagine (Eph. 3:20).

There is also something here, about rest, when the psalmist quotes David saying, "I will not let myself rest", and "arise, O Lord and enter your resting place", and David says that God said, "this is my resting place forever".  Augustine's famous words come to my mind:
“You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you.”
I want to rest in God, and let God rest in me.  What if God's goal with his people, is to be able to inhabit or house himself in them, so save the world?  What if that is the application of Psalm 132 for the Christian?

The mature believer is a prophetic evangelist(1) and a priest of God, partnering with God for the world's evangelization, while ministering to other believers.  This is the degree that God wants to have all his children learn.  Space is available.

The teacher is ready.  You have to decide if you want to take this step up into maturity.  The mature life is a life of being a blessing.  And to be a blessing, we make God first.

The outflow of this life is God's blessing on the generations and a people inhabited by God, for God's purpose, which we know is to save the world.

In summary, this thirteenth step of fifteen steps of degrees or ascent, that are also called pilgrim songs; is the step into maturity, where we learn to be more concerned or preoccupied with God and God's habitation in us, than with our selves, in all our lives.  We get a revelation that, "my house is Gods house", and we want to dwell in God in our whole lives and God's presence in our whole lives brings a blessing to others and God blesses us generationally.

To review the 13 steps we have now covered:
  1. We learn to call upon God and that God saves us and answers prayers.
  2. We learn that God is our guardian, watching over us.
  3. We learn to be worshipers, desiring God.
  4. We choose to humble ourselves as servants as we ask for mercy.
  5. We cultivate seeing God's workings in our lives, then sharing the stories.
  6. We learn to live a life of trusting the Lord, that brings security.
  7. We discover that there is more or we have lost something and ask God for it and learn to release the grief of our hope differed, through tears and we persevere in our walk towards God, with weeping as we walk, and experience astonishing joy from God. 
  8. We learn to trust God to build everything, and we labor under God in building, learning to enjoy finding rest, and becoming aware of the gift of and responsibility  of raising children for God.
  9. We learn that the result of a life of revering God and walking with him is fruitfulness, which means children: your own or spiritual, or metaphorical; and having grandchildren is the end result of a blessed life.
  10. We learn that suffering is part of the faith walk towards God.  God uses suffering to grow us up into Christ-likeness.  This may surprise us after we have done so well, 'going wide', in learning to walk with God, cultivating a rich relationship with him, and learning to enjoy the blessings.  After learning to 'go wide' with God, having an enlarged 'God life', we begin to learn to 'go deep'.
  11. We are surprised to learn, after we have been walking with God for some time, that God has more redemptive work that he wants to do in us.  We discover deep places where we want God.  God in turn redeems us in those deep places with his unfailing, steadfast, covenant love; and we are made more like Christ.
  12. We learn to humble our selves, and stop all the crying and chatter. We can say that we are not proud, to God, and that we don't have it all figured out, but have a lifestyle of trusting him in our lives, that dethrones pride. We patiently embrace the silence of waiting, and encouraging others in a life of hope in God.
  13. We learn to be more concerned or preoccupied with God and God's habitation in us, than with our selves, in all our lives.  We get a revelation that, "my house is Gods house", and we want to dwell in God in our whole lives and God's presence in our whole lives brings a blessing to others and God blesses us generationally.
1. The Logic of Evangelism By William James Abraham, 1989, p. 63; quoting David Lowes Watson