KINGSHIP AND KINSHIP –
As the compilers of the Psalter put this Song of Ascents section together, they also wanted the pilgrims to remember those who went before them that made this all possible; especially King David’s passion for reverencing and esteeming the One True God of Israel. In so doing, it was also their desire that the pilgrims realize that the Ark of the Covenant should not be mistaken as an idol or man-made image of God in any form. Rather, it was to be honored and treasured, not as an object of worship, but as a beloved and highly respected symbol of God’s holy presence among His people; a place to meet with a God in the presence of His Holy Spirit.
“O LORD Eternal, don’t forget David and all the things he accomplished; how he vowed to the LORD Eternal and made this oath to the Mighty One of Jacob: ‘I will not walk into my ornate palace, nor climb into my comfortable bed, nor close my eyes in peaceful sleep until I build a house for the LORD Eternal; a sanctuary for the Mighty One of Jacob!’ That’s when we heard about the Ark of the Covenant sitting in the Jearim forest near Ephrath. So we said, ‘Let’s take it to a secure covering so we can bow down before the Holy of Holies. We want to lift You up onto Your pedestal, O LORD Eternal; You and Your mighty Ark of the Covenant!’ So let the ministers be adorned in their finest; let all Your saints stand and shout for joy! On behalf of David Your servant, do not disappoint the one You’ve anointed. The LORD Eternal made a vow to David that I know He will never go back on. He said, ‘I will set your descendants on your throne if they keep My covenant and My proclamations that they will learn from Me so that your sons will reign in your stead indefinitely.’ That’s why the LORD Eternal chose His sanctuary as His dwelling place when He said, ‘This is where you’ll always find Me, this is where I’ll live because I want to. I will provide for those who gather there and see to it that the destitute have bread to eat. I will clothe its ministers with power so that the saints will shout for joy. I will make sure that the one I have chosen will blossom there because I have prepared a torch for My Anointed. His enemies will be covered with shame while the crown on his head will sparkle.” Psalm 132:1-18
Reflection: Almost every adult American from the greatest generation recognizes the famous sculpture of the five U.S. Marines: Private First Class Ira Hayes, Private First Class Franklin Sousley, Corporal Harlon Block, Sergeant Michel Strank, Private First Class Rene Gagnon, and Navy Hospital Corpsman Pharmacist Mate Second Class John Bradley; who raised the American flag during WWII on top of Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima, Japan, at 10:30 A.M., on Friday, February 23, 1945. Today it still flies in honor of the thousands of military men and women who gave their lives in order for it to be planted there. Three of the Marines pictured in the statue never left the island alive; the other three came back as heroes. But even that magnificent moment for U.S. Marines and the one spoken of here in this psalm will pale in comparison to the day Messiah returns to plant His emblem of victory and triumph on the same spot where David erected his tent, and Solomon built the temple to house the Ark of the Covenant. No wonder the song that Bill and Gloria Gaither wrote in anticipation of that hour thrills hearts and brings tears to the eyes of those who sing it with great joy: “O the King is coming, the King is coming! I just heard the trumpets sounding, and now His face I see; O the King is coming, the King is coming! Praise God, He’s coming for me!” So the next time the battle gets rough and the conflict escalates, plant your cross on the hill you just conquered and begin to sing this song of faith and hope. You’ll be amazed how it deflates the enemy’s spirit and moral. Do it not only for yourself, but in honor and memory of all those pilgrims who’ve gone before and defeated the enemy in the past. But most of all do it to magnify the one who died on the cross to give us our freedom from sin and Satan. Wear His emblem of the cross with pride; let it be your Ark of the Covenant for the entire world to see.