Psalm 134 is both a doxology and a benediction concerning the priests and Levites who served the Lord at the temple. The first two verses of the psalm are spoken by the people as encouragement for their intercessory leaders as they labor on the behalf of God’s chosen people. In this psalm, worshipers recognize that God is to be praised for all the gracious benefits He richly bestows. I especially like this part of the psalm because I like the way the people held their leaders to a standard. They desired for the Lord to be magnified and would accept nothing less or expect nothing less from their leaders than uncompromising devotion.
I like this part because there is nothing that warms the heart of a godly pastor than to know the people appreciate the word of God declared plainly, without mixture, without compromise—without restraint even though it can be painfully convicting. Psalm 120-134 are known as Pilgrim Psalms. You will notice as you read through them there is continual recognition of God’s power and His providence. The people recognize where they stand in relation to Him. They are fully dependent which always puts them at God’s mercy where they should be.
I believe these are people that had no problems with instruction on man’s depravity. They had no problems with God’s sovereignty. They were not resistant to teachings that God’s will is not dependent on the whims of fallen, fallible man. A pastor loves to preach when there are no subjects like these that make the church uncomfortable. He does not answer to the people for acceptance of his sermons. His allegiance is to God alone and he fears to leave out anything God says to His people. The priests did not fear to teach the whole counsel of God, for it appears the people demanded it of them.
The last verse of the psalm speaks of the power of God. Why should praises be lifted to the Lord in the sanctuary? It is because He is Lord that made heaven and earth. This is the priests’ benediction upon the people. It is the last words they spoke in this grouping of psalms for pilgrims.
The priests pronounced a blessing on them in the name of the Lord. His omnipotence grants to them all spiritual blessings in Christ. The blessings come from Zion which means they originate where God dwells in His holy temple. Although the church is not Old Testament, I believe an application can be made that all blessings for the world come through the work the Lord does through His church. The church is the authorized place for His work. This work is given to no others for Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it.
The Lord dwells in the church as the temple of His praise. The people themselves are His temple. The Holy Spirit lives in each of us. Corporately we do His work, but individually we are responsible for its holiness so that all work will have God’s approval on it. We are reminded of this holiness in our study of the New Jerusalem, the home of the bride of Christ. The church is His bride, and He intends for it to be spotless, holy, and without blame (Eph. 5:26-27).
These three verses show pastor and people working together with the same sense of duty. This is what church is—a place for the glory of God and for thankfulness and appreciation that the mighty omnipotent God should consider lowly creatures for His service. “What is man, that thou are mindful of him? (Psalm 8:4a).
This benediction and word of thanks comes from the Pastor. Thank you for standing on and appreciating the word of God. Blessings on you from the Lord that made heaven and earth.
Pastor V. Mark Smith