December 15 – Psalm 132
However, we do know that it has been sung since the time of the Second Temple (circa. 500BC when Ezra and Nehemiah led a rebuilding campaign), when the book of Psalms was compiled. So there were Jews singing this psalm in worship long after there was any descendant of David ruling in Jerusalem, when there was no clear answer to the Lord’s promise to David to keep his heir on the throne.(v.11) Much of this psalms usage in Jewish worship, especially as they made pilgrimage to Jerusalem, was remembering God’s covenantal promise to David and hoping in some future fulfillment of that promise, assuming that this fulfillment would be a supernatural work of God. Everything about this psalm points to a coming Davidic Messiah who would finally take the throne along with God’s earthly dwelling.
Now imagine this: in Luke 2:41 Luke mentions that Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem every year at Passover. There’s a solid chance they sung this Song of Assents as they hiked to Jerusalem and ascended to the Temple Mount, with their son Jesus in tow. Here the Jews were remembering God’s promises, and in their expectation of a Messiah likely envisioned an earthly king or divine leader armed with the host of heaven. Meanwhile, a child was in their midst, an answer both to an empty throne and to God’s desire to dwell with his people.(v.14) Jesus is, so clearly, the answer to the plea of this psalm. And perhaps the most poignant thing in this psalm is God’s expressed desire to dwell with his people in verses 14-18. How awe striking, that the God of the universe would want to come be with us enough to send his son.
Side note on Ephrathah and Jaar: Ephrathah is the place that Rachel died after giving birth to Benjamin (Gen. 48:7). It would later be called Bethlehem, the “City of David,” so it’s reference here makes sense considering the psalm’s content. Jaar was the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant as David had it moved to Jerusalem (see 1 Samuel 7 for more on that). These are both references to David’s royal line and God’s Temple presence in Jerusalem, but don’t miss the mind-blowing fact that the place of Jesus’ birth is in this psalm!
Questions for Discussion
• Can someone read Psalm 132 for us?
• What stood out to you from this psalm?
• Look at verses 14-18. How does God answer the prayer from verses 8-10?
• What can it tell us about God that he desires to dwell in Zion?
• Think about this personally. How does it make you feel knowing that God wants to dwell with you?
• Why do you think God brings up salvation and his anointed in verses 16-17?
• How can this psalm lead us to worship God here at Christmastime?