These past few days I have been working on a scripture passage for my sermon this morning. Psalm 134 is the last in what are called the Psalms of Ascent. Pilgrims (actually those headed up for a festival or party) sang this as they got very close to their destination. I kind of see this as the climax of their singing.
But as I read it, I found myself saying, “this is more about the party than about some vague great psalm of praise.”
The Psalm begins saying we should bless the LORD. As I studied “bless”, I began to see the word as relating to doing! The word for bless in this particular context is BARAK. The picture is of someone bowing down – in Deuteronomy 24 this is camels bowing down to drink water.
So we bless by being obedient. The next verse in the psalm tells us that the particular people (those who minister/work in the temple) are asked to lift up (which means get active) their hands (in the Old Testament your hands were used in work, in helping others and protecting them) in the “holy” (which seems to refer to the temple where the night shift was working).
So the Psalm is really party-ers telling the people who are preparing the parade ground to get to work. And they say that God will bless them – that will be their reward.
So, stick to the work God asks you to do.
Simple psalm, not so simple to do!