My journey of life becomes an experience of blessing and worship! - 25 September 2018

Ewald Schmidt

A song of ascents. Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord who minister by night in the house of the Lord. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord. May the Lord bless you from Zion, he who is the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 134:1-3 (NIV)

We have been on a journey through the songs of ascent, from Psalm 120-134 this month. We have looked at our lives as a pilgrimage - travelling on the road of life with God. This is the last of the songs of ascent, and tells of the pilgrim reaching his destiny at the temple in Jerusalem. Completing a long and hazardous journey the pilgrim has arrived where he wanted to be. It was his desire to be in the temple on Mount Zion, to experience the presence of the Lord and to worship him there. In Old Testament times it was an important posture of prayer, facing towards the holy place where the Ark of the Covenant was hidden from sight, holding up holy hands in supplication. The ark in the holy place was understood to be the symbol of God’s presence amongst his people. By lifting hands in prayer the worshipper was conveying the message that God is the Almighty, exalted above man. It was a gesture of humility and dependence upon God. To praise God is to give him his rightful place in our lives. When we praise God, we understand that we are totally dependent on his grace and mercy in our lives. When praising God we honour God for who he is. It can be done with song. In his book Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren stated that praising God becomes more than a song, it becomes a way of life, in which we proclaim our dependency on God.

The first part of this last song of ascents puts into words our need to travel our path of life with God. We want to experience God’s presence in our lives. It is not necessary to travel to far-off temples any more to do that. Our Lord Jesus met a woman at a water well in Samaria, and said in John 4 that God is not living in temples, but in the heart of believers.  He desires to be worshipped in Spirit and in truth (John 4:23). God is travelling the path of life with me, every step of the way. He is always just a prayer away.

The volume of Songs of Ascent concludes with the prayer of blessing, that the Lord who created heaven and earth shall bless the pilgrim on his way. God is with us, pouring his blessings over us as we travel the journey of life. He gives us life, health, opportunities, he gives us our daily bread. He blesses us with family and friends, and so much more. We need to take time every day to become aware of all his blessings. We need to come to a rest, to experience his presence today. When we make time to be still, we will find that we are not alone. God is with us, and that makes all the difference in our experience of life.

Prayer: Father, thank you that you are always just a prayer away from me. Thank you that the God who has created the heavens and the earth is aware of my existence, more than that, you care intensely about me, and you are blessing me every day. I tend to forget that so easily! Holy Spirit, please remind me of your presence every day. Then I shall lift holy hands to you in prayer, and praise you as long as breath remains in me. Amen.

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