Bible Study Series

Psalms of Ascents

Part 5: Psalms of Ascents


Psalms 132-134

The last watch is over. The new day has dawned. We enter Jerusalem’s gates in praise. What a joyous day! All trials are past. We join the presence of the LORD in thankful worship for His eternal peace in His anointed, Christ Jesus our Lord! “This is the day which the LORD hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!” (Psalm 118:24). 1All Scriptural citations are taken from the New American Standard Bible unless otherwise noted.


The Psalms of Ascent in Five Movements

Part Psalms Theme Primary Tone
I 120-122 The Ascent to Zion Discord then Harmony
II 123-125 Affliction and Deliverance Discord
III 126-128 The Consolation of Community Harmony
IV 129-131 The Last Watch Anticipation
V 132-134 Eternal Blessings in Christ Peace!

Part V —E ternal Blessings in Christ—Psalms 132-134

In these final three psalms, the historical background appears to be the dedication of the LORD’s temple by Solomon, attended by all Israel in unified praise. This was indeed a pinnacle moment for Israel. The short-term elements of God’s covenant with David were now established. His son Solomon was enthroned, and the temple was complete. The LORD crowned the moment with the descending presence of His glory!

These events anticipate that glorious day when the eternal elements of God’s covenant with David will be established. This will include the anointing of Jesus as king and the presence of the LORD again descending to dwell with men. (Rev 21:1-8).

This is the day we await in great expectation, the day for which all creation groans, the day our Lord Jesus said he would drink the fruit of the vine again, with us, in his Father’s Kingdom. Three elements are emphasized in these psalms: the covenant, unity, and blessing.

  1. Psalm 132: A Song of the Covenant
  2. Psalm 133: The Pleasantness of Unity
  3. Psalm 134: The Blessing


Psalm 132 — A Song of the Covenant

Here we have, in song, the LORD’s covenant with David.22 Elements of God’s covenant with David can be found in various Scriptures, including: 2 Sam 7:8-29, I Kgs 8:2 Chr 6, Isa 55:3, and Luke 1:30-35, 68-75. This is the longest of these psalms. To assist our consideration, brief remarks on the psalm’s organization are provided. I see three sections: remembrance of David’s past faithfulness, thanksgiving for God’s faithfulness in fulfilling the primary elements of the covenant in Solomon, and then in verse 13, a transition to the vision of Christ Jesus fulfilling the covenant eternally. Perhaps this last division isn’t sharp, but it seems clear that we start with David and end with Jesus.

A key to the authorship and background of this psalm seems to be that Psalm 132:8-10 repeats the closing of Solomon’s temple dedicatory prayer.

Now therefore arise, O LORD God, to Your resting place,
You and the ark of Your might;
let Your priests, O LORD God, be clothed with salvation and
let Your godly ones rejoice in what is good.

O LORD God, do not turn away the face of Your anointed;
remember Your lovingkindness to Your servant David.
(2 Chr 6:41-42).

Solomon’s authorship would be in harmony with the strongly expressed concern for the LORD to remember both David and His covenant with him. If Solomon is the author, this will clarify the two references to the LORD’s “anointed” (Heb. Mashiach). The first (v. 10) would most simply be Solomon referring to himself and his anticipated physical sons. The second (v. 17) would indeed be “Messianic,” that is, prophetic of the promised future eternally reigning “anointed” (Greek Christos).


A Song of Ascents

Remember, Lord, in David’s behalf,
All his affliction;
How he swore to the Lord
And vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob,
“I certainly will not enter my house,
Nor lie on my bed;
 I will not give sleep to my eyes
Or slumber to my eyelids,
Until I find a place for the Lord,
A dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”

 Behold, we heard about it in Ephrathah,
We found it in the field of Jaar.
 Let’s go into His dwelling place;
Let’s worship at His footstool.
Arise, Lord, to Your resting place,
You and the ark of Your strength.
 May Your priests be clothed with righteousness,
And may Your godly ones sing for joy.

 For the sake of Your servant David,
Do not turn away the face of Your anointed.
 The Lord has sworn to David
A truth from which He will not turn back:
“I will set upon your throne one from the fruit of your body.
 If your sons will keep My covenant
And My testimony which I will teach them,
Their sons also will sit upon your throne forever.”

 For the Lord has chosen Zion;
He has desired it as His dwelling place.
 “This is My resting place forever;
Here I will dwell, for I have desired it.
 I will abundantly bless her food;
I will satisfy her needy with bread.
 I will also clothe her priests with salvation,
And her godly ones will sing aloud for joy.
 I will make the horn of David spring forth there;
I have prepared a lamp for My anointed.
 I will clothe his enemies with shame,
But upon himself, his crown will gleam.”

The Physical

David’s heartfelt desire and life’s ascent was to worship the LORD in His righteous, glorious presence. It was the very purpose of the temple. The anointed King Solomon completed the initial types of the covenant in his obedient temple construction. At its dedication, which all Israel attended, the Levites stood at their posts with King David’s instruments of praise, the priests brought up the ark, and the glory of the LORD descended to fill the house of the LORD. God’s veiled presence was with man!

Our Spiritual Journey

David’s desire for God’s honor and worship was so great that he had trouble sleeping! May our hearts yearn for the day of our Father’s presence as David’s did! While the day of full culmination is in the future, we presently have the shining light of the glory of the LORD in the face of Christ Jesus.

Jesus answered and said to him (Judas, not Iscariot), “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.” (John 14:23).

No longer in type, the future culmination will be Christ Jesus’ reign. “The horn of David” shining forth in full glory from new Jerusalem, Mt. Zion (Isa 2:1-4, Isa 4:2-6, Rev 21:10-17). This is the promised pinnacle event for mankind. It will be celebrated throughout the whole earth. The redeemed priests, clothed with salvation, and Zion’s godly ones, sing for joy the blessings of the LORD and the Lamb on that bright day!

And I heard every created thing which is in heaven, or on the earth, or under the earth, or on the sea, and all the things in them, saying, “To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be the blessing, the honor, the glory, and the dominion forever and ever.” And the four living creatures were saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped. (Rev 5:13-14).

The psalm closes with Jesus shiningly crowned, enthroned over all foes. Hallelujah!

Hymn 291
Crown him with many crowns,
The Lamb upon his throne;
Hark how the heavn’ly anthem drowns
All music but its own:
Awake, my soul, and sing
Of him who died for thee,
And hail him as the matchless king
Through all eternity!

Psalm 133 — The Pleasantness of Unity

This psalm is a favorite of all. Its theme is the goodness and pleasantness of unity. Our previous psalms have emphasized ascent. This psalm describes the LORD’s descending blessing of unity upon those who have made the journey.


A Song of Ascents, of David

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brothers to live together in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head,
Running down upon the beard,
As on Aaron’s beard,
The oil which ran down upon the edge of his robes.
It is like the dew of Hermon
Coming down upon the mountains of Zion;
For the Lord commanded the blessing there—life forever.

The Physical Journey

Israel’s physical journey to the unifying worship of the LORD was completed in type when all Israel, from Hamath to the Brook of Egypt, ascended to Zion at Solomon’s temple dedication. The LORD responded by descending and filling the Most Holy place with His glory. This was a moment of great unity. Israel was together and at peace in God’s presence, worship and praise. It wouldn’t last, but the promise would remain sure.

Our Spiritual Journey

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. (Jas 1:17).

When we obediently ascend to the LORD in repentance through His son, our Lord Jesus, our Heavenly Father sends down His unifying blessing. This blessing of healed unity is likened to the anointing oil flowing down from Aaron’s head and the dew flowing down from Mt. Hermon to water the land of Israel. In the New Testament, we have this picture:

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared,  he saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit. (Titus 3:4-5 RSV).

We are to respond to this blessing of unity by walking in its peace so that the world would know of the love of the Father and Son.

The glory which You have given Me I also have given to them, so that they may be one, just as We are one;  I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and You loved them, just as You loved Me. (John 17:22-23).

David closes with an encouraging emphasis on God’s eternal faithfulness. The anticipated blessings from Zion would not be the first. God had established these from of old. Abraham had ascended Mt. Moriah (Mt. Zion) one thousand years previously to sacrifice his son. God withheld Abraham’s hand and provided a ram instead of Isaac. The LORD then commanded the blessing of “life for evermore,” in the “seed” (Gal 3:16). The gospel preached to Abraham was that “all the nations of the earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” (Gen 22:18).

Our Heavenly Father’s blessing of unifying salvation for those of all nations, you and I, by His grace in His Son our Lord Jesus, was established before the foundation of the world, declared from Zion, confirmed to David, and will fill the earth eternally!

Psalm 134—The Blessing

We attained Zion through Christ. We spent the day in joyful unified worship and praise. The evening is now upon us, and it is time for the closing blessing of peace—a blessing of the LORD, and for one another.

A Song of Ascents

Behold, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord,
Who serve by night in the house of the Lord!
 Lift up your hands to the sanctuary
And bless the Lord.
May the Lord bless you from Zion,
He who made heaven and earth.

The Physical Journey

Solomon knelt before the altar with his hands spread to heaven during his dedicatory prayer. At the close, he arose and blessed the LORD and the entire assembly,

Blessed be the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel in accordance with everything that He promised; not one word has failed of all His good promise, which He promised through Moses His servant. May the Lord our God be with us, as He was with our fathers; may He not leave us nor forsake us, (I Kings 8:56-57).

He then sent the people away in peace and joy.

On the eighth day he dismissed the people, and they blessed the king. Then they went to their tents joyful and with happy hearts for all the goodness that the Lord had [a]shown to David His servant, and to Israel His people. (I Kings 8:66).

Our Spiritual Journey
May we complete our present days blessing the LORD and one another for, and in, all the mercies shown to us in Christ Jesus our Lord. And then, may we continue in these blessings of grace for all eternity!

Certainly goodness and faithfulness will follow me all the days of my life,
And my dwelling will be in the house of the Lord forever. (Psa 23:6).

There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illuminate them; and they will reign forever and ever. (Rev 22:3-5).
Hallelujah—Praise the LORD. Even so, return soon, Lord Jesus!


May the name of the LORD be exalted, and may the LORD bless you from Zion, the Maker of heaven and earth, in all His mercies in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Philip Sweeney, Atlanta North Ecclesia, GA

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