Ascending to the House of God
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.
These fifteen psalms are specifically intended to encourage us to come to the house of God with the attitude reflected in them. Whenever we have the privilege of coming up out of this distressing world of darkness and woe to gather with God’s saints, worshipping in his house, at his footstool, before his throne, with his people, we ought to be filled with joyful hope and anticipation.
When we come to the house of God in public worship, we come to a physical place. But the physical building in which we gather is not God’s house. Rather, God’s house is the assembly of his saints. We should never look upon the physical building in which we meet as the house of God. Yet, the building is the place where the house of God meets and should be treated as such. It should be well maintained, kept clean, neat and physically attractive, and treated with respect.
What a privilege! What a blessing it is to gather with God’s saints in his house, to worship him! If the Lord allows us to worship him, if indeed we come into his house in the name of Christ, if just two or three come together in the name of Christ, trusting him his blood his righteousness his intercession his grace his power his goodness, seeking his honor, seeking his will, seeking his glory, to worship him, we have come into the house and temple of God. The Lord Jesus is in our midst (Matt. 18:20). The Holy Spirit is here (1 Tim. 3:15; 1 Cor. 3:16-17).
Indeed, if we come together to worship our God, if he grants us the privilege and honor of doing so, coming into the assembly of his saints, we come to the very throne of God in heaven. Yes, there is a very real since in which we gather around God’s throne in heaven every time we gather in God’s house to worship him (Heb. 12:18-25).