This special meditation has been prepared by PRC home missionary, Rev. Aud Spriensma.
The Call to Servants of the Lord to Bless the Lord
Meditation on Psalm 134
Behold, Bless ye the LORD, all ye servants of the LORD, which by night stand in the house of the Lord. Lift up you r hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD. The LORD that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion.
This is the last Song of Ascent, and the shortest. What progress has been made as these psalms were put together. At the beginning of these psalms, God’s people were far from the temple, seeing it from afar. But with joy, they kept on going till they were finally at the door of the temple. Entering the temple, they joined in unified worship. “Behold how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in were they called to do? These temple servants were the Levites. They were the assistants to the priests. They worked in the temple unity.” Now it was time to go back home. In Psalm 134, there was a call to the temple servants, who serve at night, to bless the LORD.
Who are these servants, and what was their work? They were gate keepers, guards at the door, singers, janitors cleaning and preparing the temple for the next day’s activities. Theirs was a hard and menial work, working day and night. They would lodge at the temple so that the temple would be ready for the morning services. They “stand” , we read, being ready in their place of service.
They were called to “Bless the Lord.” The word means “to speak well of”. We do not give something to God. The word means to praise the LORD joyfully and willingly. In verse 2, they were told to “lift up your hands in the sanctuary.” In their work in the temple, as they prepare for the sacrifices, and clean the floors of the blood, they were to give themselves wholeheartedly in devotion of God. At night, the crowds and pilgrims are gone, but the activity of the temple was busy. How would these servants carry out their menial jobs? Would they half-heartedly clean the floor, or sleepily guard the doors, or slowly get the materials for the next day ready? No! Even though no one would observe them at their work, they were called to do their work with whole-hearted devotion and love to God!
The literal temple in Jerusalem is no more. What does this psalm say to you and me? Who are these servants, and how are they serving God still today in the night? Are they not the ministers of God’s Word? Yes, you hear them on Sunday as they proclaim the gospel. But as you leave the worship services, do you encourage and pray for your minister as he carries out his work during the week? A lot of the work is done out of your sight. It might seem rather menial: teach catechism, lead societies, lead consistory and council meetings, visit the sick and aged, spend long hours in the study immersed in God’s Word and preparing sermons. It is hard work. How is it done? Is it with the same zeal and devotion as the preaching of God’s Word on Sunday when everyone is watching and listening? “Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and bless the LORD.” Oh minister, be devoted to your God and his worship in all of your tasks!
Are not the servants of the LORD, which serve at night, God’s people as they leave the worship services and go back to their homes and their workweek? Whether it is cleaning the house or feeding the family, or working in the factory or field or office, perhaps our work seems so menial and insignificant. But God has called you to that service. Do it now with all the passion and devotion of serving the LORD. Bless the LORD in all of your labors, even if no one else sees or notices your work!
Why is this important? Did you notice how many times in this psalm the LORD is mentioned? Five times! It is His covenant name that is mentioned, even though that is not readily apparent in the psalm.(Sadly, the KJV authors followed the Jews by replacing the name Jehovah with the word LORD in all capital letters.) He is the great “I AM”. He is faithful even when we are not. He is the creator. He is the one who blesses His people “out of Zion.” He pours out His blessings upon his church through our Lord Jesus Christ! He is worthy of your and my wholehearted devotion, love, and willing service.
How we need to ask God for forgiveness when in our everyday work, we carry it out in a careless or detached way. Maybe at times we are even resentful that we have these callings. How often we can waste away our time. We are called to “lift up your hands in the sanctuary.” May we not just go through the motions without passion, or neglect opportunities to serve the Lord with gladness in our everyday occupations. Live consciously before the Lord, and speak well of Him. Whether worshipping in God’s house on Sunday or doing the rather menial tasks of the weekdays, do it for the Lord in loving, willing, and eager devotion! “Bless ye the LORD, all ye servants of the LORD, which by night stand in the house of the LORD.”
“Ye saints, your joy proclaim and glory in the Name, Of God above; And when the daylight dies, ere sleep shall close your eyes, Let praise to God arise for all his love.” ~ Felice Giardini
Rev. Audred Spriensma (Wife: Alva)
Ordained: January 1981
Pastorates: Atwood, MI CRC - 1981; Bethany, S.Holland, IL CRC - 1984; Grandville, MI - 1992; Missionary to the Philippines - 2002; Kalamazoo, MI - 2007; Byron Center, MI - 2010; Home missionary (Byron Center PRC), 2017Website: www.prca.org/missions/domestic
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