The Psalms of Degrees
What a great privilege it is to worship the triune God with his saints! How blessed we are to be gathered in the name of Christ in the house of God!
Psalm 84 expresses every believer’s attitude toward the house of God and the great privilege of gathering with the people of God to worship our Lord Jesus Christ.
“To the chief Musician upon Gittith.” — The word “Gittith” appears in the titles given to several of the psalms. It means “A stringed instrument.” It comes from a word that means “winepresses” and is translated that way in some ancient translations. This is a psalm that speaks of local churches, the assemblies of God’s saints in public worship, where Christ the true Vine causes his people to drink the sweet wine of his grace. “A Psalm for the sons of Korah.” — That is to say, a psalm for singers in the house of God, a psalm to be sung in the house of God.
“How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah.”
Psalms 120-134 form a section of the Psalms called “Psalms of Degrees,” or “Ascension Psalms.” These psalms were commonly chanted by the children of Israel in their pilgrimages to Jerusalem to observe the annual feasts required under the law. They were psalms of pilgrims going up to the house of God. Some suggest that the priests in Israel chanted one of these fifteen psalms on each of the fifteen steps ascending up to the temple on those holy days.
These are psalms written and recorded by Divine inspiration to show us three things:
1. The attitude of our Lord Jesus Christ as he made his pilgrimage through this world of woe as Jehovah’s righteous Servant. — Our Savior’s heart was set upon the glory of God, the will of God, and the house of God above.
2. The attitude of God’s saints as we make our pilgrimage through this world to our Father’s house above. — May God give us grace to set our affection upon things above, to mind not earthly things, but heavenly things, to look not at the things which are seen, but at those things which are not seen, ever to set our hearts upon the glory of God, the will of God, and eternity!
3. The attitude we ought to cultivate as we come to the house of God to worship him.
As we scan these fifteen psalms, I want to specifically apply them in this way. I want to encourage you and to encourage myself to come to the house of God with the attitude reflected in these psalms.
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