A Song of Ascents. Of David.
1I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord!”
2Our feet have been standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem!
3Jerusalem—built as a city
that is bound firmly together,
4to which the tribes go up,
the tribes of the Lord,
as was decreed for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the Lord.
5There thrones for judgment were set,
the thrones of the house of David.
6Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
“May they be secure who love you!
7Peace be within your walls
and security within your towers!”
8For my brothers and companions’ sake
I will say, “Peace be within you!”
9For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your good.
“Let us go to the house of the Lord”: A Devotion
This devotion is in the form of a story, with the events occurring in 100 AD.
After hearing his grandfather read the words of Psalm 122, the child found himself lost in thought. These words had been sung by his ancestors as they made their way to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover and other festivals.
In his mind the young boy pictured what Jerusalem must have looked like. He pictured the streets of the city bustling with activity. He envisioned the palace of Solomon, built with cedars from Lebanon and adorned with precious jewels.
But the palace of Solomon had been gone for centuries. The boy knew he would never see it.
But the temple! The temple of God! The boy so wished he could have seen the temple before it had been destroyed! It wasn’t that long ago that the temple had been standing in Jerusalem. His grandfather had seen it. His father, too, as a very young child, had seen it. But the boy knew he would never see the temple.
In fact, he would never even see Jerusalem, because 30 years ago the Romans had completely decimated beautiful Jerusalem.
“Grandfather, I will never see Jerusalem; I will never see the house of the Lord.”
“This is true, my child.”
The boy looked perplexed. “If I will never see Jerusalem or the temple, then why do we still recite the words of this Psalm?”
With kindness in his eyes, the grandfather asked his grandson a question. “What do you think made Jerusalem so special?”
“The king! And the palace! And the temple!” the child immediately responded.
“Ah, yes. The king reigning in Jerusalem was a grand thing. The palace was a fine building, no doubt. And the temple…my boy, the temple was simply beautiful! But that’s not what made Jerusalem so special.”
Thoughtfully, the boy looked up at his grandfather and asked, “Then what made Jerusalem so special?”
“The Lord! My child, the Lord God Himself dwelt in Jerusalem! The king was merely a servant of the true King, the Lord Himself! The temple was a special building, but what made it truly special was that God Himself was there! That’s why the Psalm begins, ‘I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!”’”
The grandfather continued, “But my child, we no longer need the temple. It was a beautiful building and God chose to dwell there for a time. But He is not found there anymore.”
The child pondered this for a moment before asking, “Then where can we go to God? How can we go to God?”
Putting his hand on the child’s shoulder, the grandfather spoke with warmth in his voice, “We do not go to God, but He does come to us. In the Word! In the Supper of the Lord! The Lord comes to us! The bread and wine may not look as impressive as the temple of the Lord, but our Lord is there for us. The words spoken by our pastor and read from the Scriptures might not compare with the trumpets of Zion, yet this is how our Lord Jesus speaks to us today. The Lord is there for us!”
On the first Sunday of Advent we begin a season of anticipation, waiting for the celebration of the birth of the Savior and looking forward also to His return. But in the midst of that anticipation, may we not forget that Jesus comes to us even now! Therefore, “Let us go to the house of the Lord” with joy!