Read Psalm 134
A song of ascents.
1 Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord
who minister by night in the house of the Lord.
2 Lift up your hands in the sanctuary
and praise the Lord.
3 May the Lord bless you from Zion,
he who is the Maker of heaven and earth.
Psalms 120-134 are known as the “Psalms of Ascent” or “Pilgrim Songs.” Every year as the Jews traveled uphill towards the city of Jerusalem to participate in one of the three Jewish festivals, these are the songs they would sing. They became a staple of the pilgrimage to Jerusalem back then and now they serve as a helpful template for us as we worship today.
Psalm 134 is the last of the “songs of ascent.” Psalm 134, among the other songs of ascent, were traditionally sung on the road to the great city, Jerusalem. In this psalm, two words stand out because they are used more than once. “Lord” is used five times in the short three verses that make up this chapter. Twice the NIV version instructs us to praise God. The ESV translation uses the word “bless” (instead of praise) three times. But what does it mean to “bless” God, anyway? Can we really add anything to God?
In Strong’s Concordance of the Bible, the definition for “bless” reads as follows:
“to kneel; by implication to bless God (as an act of adoration), and (vice-versa) man (as a benefit).” When we bless God, our choice to honor God blesses us in return. Every time! We can honor the “Maker of heaven and earth” by praising Him, loving Him, and knowing Him more.
What type of person should bless and praise the Lord? Psalm 134:1 calls to all who are servants of the Lord. The world should be clear on whom we serve. To serve God is to praise Him. The psalm doesn’t stop clarifying there. Those who bless the Lord are those who “stand in the Lord’s house at night.” Often, we like to keep our “Jesus time” to the scheduled parts of our day such as morning Bible study, Life Group, or Sunday mornings. This psalm tells us that if we are servants of the one true God, we will be caught standing in front of Him, praising, even when it’s not penciled into our schedule.
It is an honor to bless the Lord, to kneel and adore our King, each day. Charles Spurgeon says, “Bless him for permitting you to serve him, fitting you to serve him and accepting your service.” If we need reasons to think about why we should bless the Lord, we can remind ourselves of the gospel. We were slaves to sin headed directly towards eternal death when Christ’s death intervened to make a way for us to be called sons and daughters in His house for eternity. What else would we do but bless Him? And when we live to bless God, our lives are blessed along the way.
- What are three ways you can “bless the Lord” this week in a way that you typically wouldn’t?
- What about your life indicates you are a servant of the Lord?
- What keeps you from blessing the Lord?
Today, try paraphrasing this psalm in your own words. Take into consideration the psalmist’s purpose and see how the Lord might speak to you as you reflect over the Word. Here’s an example of a paraphrase below:
“What else would you do now that you’ve seen? Yes, pour out your lives to the Lord.
You are called to serve the one who has served you first. Not just during work hours, but in the quietness of your home, lift praise to the Lord.
His sanctuary is not built with human hands, so raise your hands now, wherever you are, lift your eyes to the Lord.
May the Lord of boundless blessings, of all you see and all that you do not see, bestow much upon from the city of the great King.”
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