May 21 Evening Verse of The Day

122:1 The pilgrim psalmist reflected on the joy he felt when it was time to go to the holy city to observe the annual festivals. These times of celebration could extend for a week or more. Now the pilgrim found himself standing in the city, marveling at all its features.[1]

122:1 This is the beautiful testimony of a genuine child of God regarding the matter of public worship (cf. 120:title, note).[2]

122:1 I. David is the speaker, although the circumstances of composition are not revealed. Later the psalm would be appropriate for pilgrims going to Jerusalem, as for one of the major festivals (Ex. 23:14–19).[3]

122:1 I rejoiced The psalmist states his affection for the worship site and the city of Jerusalem before explaining his feelings. He will develop his view of Jerusalem throughout the rest of the psalm.

the house of Yahweh Refers to the Jerusalem temple. In the ot, the temple was place where Yahweh’s dwelled on earth.[4]

122:1 Joy in experiencing the presence of God in his house anticipates the joy of the presence of God in Christ (John 1:14; 15:11; see note on Ps. 27:4).[5]

122:1 the house of the Lord. A term used of the tabernacle (cf. Ex 23:19; 34:26; 2Sa 12:20), not the temple that would be built later by Solomon.[6]

122:1 — I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the Lord.”

What made the psalmist glad? First, he saw it as an opportunity to meet with God. Second, he considered it a chance to worship with friends. Third, it fulfilled the purpose for which God had created him.[7]

122:1 I was glad: The Hebrew verb for laughter and delight is used to describe the attitude of the pilgrim who arrives in Jerusalem to worship the Lord. The joy of the pilgrim in this psalm contrasts strongly with the sorrow of those who were not able to come to worship God, because of personal (42:1–3) or national exile (137:1–3).[8]

122:1 David caught the scent of that pure delight when the reminder was passed to him by God-fearing Jews that it was time to go to the feast in Jerusalem. He was glad. It was no burdensome duty or dreary routine. In going to the temple to worship he found fulfillment and gladness.[9]

1. “I was glad when they said unto me. Let us go into the house of the Lord.” Good children are pleased to go home, and glad to hear their brothers and sisters call them thither. David’s heart was in the worship of God, and he was delighted when he found others inviting him to go where his desires had already gone: it helps the ardour of the most ardent to hear others inviting them to a holy duty. The word was not “go,” but “let us go”; hence the ear of the Psalmist found a double joy in it. He was glad for the sake of others: glad that they wished to go themselves, glad that they had the courage and liberality to invite others. He knew that it would do them good; nothing better can happen to men and their friends than to love the place where God’s honour dwelleth. What a glorious day shall that he when many people shall go and say, “Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” But David was glad for his own sake: he loved the invitation to the holy place, he delighted in being called to go to worship in company, and, moreover, he rejoiced that good people thought enough of him to extend their invitation to him. Some men would have been offended, and would have said, “Mind your own business. Let my religion alone” but not so King David, though he had more dignity than any of us, and less need to be reminded of his duty. He was not teased but pleased by being pressed to attend holy services. He was glad to go into the house of the Lord, glad to go in holy company, glad to find good men and women willing to have him in their society. He may have been sad before, but this happy suggestion cheered him up: he pricked up his ears, as the proverb puts it, at the very mention of his Father’s house. Is it so with us? Are we glad when others invite us to public worship, or to church fellowship? Then we shall be glad when the spirits above shall call us to the house of the Lord not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

“Hark! they whisper: angels say,

Sister spirit, come away.”

If we are glad to be called by others to our Father’s house, how much more glad shall we be actually to go there. We love our Lord, and therefore we love his house, and pangs of strong desire are upon us that we may soon reach the eternal abode of his glory. An aged saint, when dying, cheered herself with this evidence of grace, for she cried, “I have loved the habitation of thine house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth,” and therefore she begged that she might join the holy congregation of those who for ever behold the King in his beauty. Our gladness at the bare thought of being in God’s house is detective as to our character, and prophetic of our being one day happy in the Father’s house on high. What a sweet Sabbath Psalm is this! In prospect of the Lord’s day, and all its hallowed associations, our soul rejoices. How well, also, may it refer to the church! We are happy when we see numerous bands ready to unite themselves with the people of God. The pastor is specially glad when many come forward and ask of him assistance in entering into fellowship with the church. No language is more cheering to him than the humble request, “Let us go into the house of the Lord.”[10]

1. Beside the general title of this psalm as a song of degrees, it is added of David: by which we are to conclude that David was the author of it. And indeed it should seem probable from another consideration that he was the writer of it: for it was in the days of David that Jerusalem was first recovered out of the hand of the Jebusites. See 2 Sam. 5:6. Hence, therefore, from that time Jerusalem became the sacred spot of worship in the Zion of God. Hence, as Moses had foretold, the Lord chose to put his name there. Deut. 12:11. This may serve to explain to us the cause of that holy joy, which all Israel felt and expressed in going up to worship. Reader! may we not gather a sweet lesson from it? Ought we not to catch the same flame and delight, both to go ourselves, and to invite every child of God to go with us, to the ordinances of Jesus? And both in going and in coming, ought not our conversation to be about Zion’s king. Saw ye him whom my soul loveth? Have you seen the king in his beauty? Was he held by you in the galleries of his ordinances? Family worship, and public worship, ought to distinguish the followers of Jesus. It is sad to see a place vacant which God’s people occupied. Psalm 87:2.[11]

122:1 Let us go to the house of the Lord. This psalm follows the blessing of the pilgrim(s) in Psalm 121 (see the comments at the beginning of “Understanding the Text” in the unit on Ps. 121), and the pilgrim (“me”) has now become the pilgrims (plural: “let us” [122:1], “our feet” [122:2], “our God” [122:9]) who are on their journey to Jerusalem and who imagine themselves (or perhaps already are) “standing in your gates, Jerusalem” (122:2).[12]

[1] Cabal, T., Brand, C. O., Clendenen, E. R., Copan, P., Moreland, J. P., & Powell, D. (2007). The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (p. 898). Holman Bible Publishers.

[2] Criswell, W. A., Patterson, P., Clendenen, E. R., Akin, D. L., Chamberlin, M., Patterson, D. K., & Pogue, J., eds. (1991). Believer’s Study Bible (electronic ed., Ps 122:1). Thomas Nelson.

[3] Sproul, R. C., ed. (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 851). Ligonier Ministries.

[4] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., Whitehead, M. M., Grigoni, M. R., & Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 122:1). Lexham Press.

[5] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1103). Crossway Bibles.

[6] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ps 122:1). Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[7] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Ps 122:1). Nelson Bibles.

[8] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 730). T. Nelson Publishers.

[9] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments (A. Farstad, Ed.; p. 750). Thomas Nelson.

[10] Spurgeon, C. H. (n.d.). The treasury of David: Psalms 120-150 (Vol. 6, pp. 26–27). Marshall Brothers.

[11] Hawker, R. (2013). Poor Man’s Old Testament Commentary: Job–Psalms (Vol. 4, p. 579). Logos Bible Software.

[12] Bullock, C. H. (2017). Psalms 73–150 (M. L. Strauss & J. H. Walton, Eds.; Vol. 2, pp. 389–390). Baker Books: A Division of Baker Publishing Group.

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