Text: Psalm 132
Verse 1: After invoking God, the psalmist asks him to remember David. Here the psalmist calls on God not only to have a positive disposition towards the Davidic dynasty, but also to act positively on his behalf.
Verses 2-5: This stanza recalls David’s intense commitment to build a place where God is to reside. He swore an oath and will deny himself sleep in the interest of constructing the holy place.
Verses 6-9: This stanza recounts David’s efforts to bring the ark to Jerusalem. The endeavor began in Ephrathah, another name for Bethlehem, the ancestral home of David. The stanza ends with a call for God to confer righteousness on the priests and joy on the people as they accompany the ark back to Jerusalem.
Verses 10-12: These verses are best understood as a request for help for a royal descendant of David, based on the promise of a dynasty that God made to David.
Verses 13-15: The psalm now focuses on Zion; the place God chose for the construction of the temple and thus the spiritual center of the world.
Verses 17-18: The psalm opened with the request for God to remember David, and now it ends with the divine commitment that he will indeed adopt a positive disposition and act accordingly towards his dynasty.
INTERPRET: Psalm 132 does not fit neatly into just one genre. However, it is clearly a royal psalm, appealing to God on behalf of the Davidic dynasty and based on the Davidic covenant found in 2 Samuel 7. The psalm pre-supposes a problem that is not clearly described, but certainly explains the urgency with which the psalmist asks God to remember his self-denial (v. 1), and his appeal not to reject your anointed one (v. 10).
Psalm 132 appeals for God’s help for the anointed king. It recalls David’s passion to make a house for God’s presence, as symbolized in the ark. The importance for Christian theology centers on the concern for the anointed king (or Messiah) and its connection to the Davidic Covenant. After the exile to Babylon in 586 BC, the royal psalms were read with an eschatological meaning - in the future, an anointed one, a Messiah and descendant of David, would assume the throne. Although Psalm 132 is not explicitly quoted in connection with Christ in the New Testament, other royal psalms surely are, which include Psalms 2, 45, 89 and 110.
APPLICATION: Psalm 132 is a beautiful psalm filled with promises stretching all the way from Genesis to Revelation. This psalm teaches us one simple truth: All of God’s promises are ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Through Jesus, God has come to dwell in and with his people forever. We have been made priests of our God – clothed in salvation, richly provided for, to sing joyful songs of worship.
Two practices that will help us live abundantly in these promises include:
PRAYER: Jesus, Son of David, remember us. Make us a priestly people; clothe us in righteousness, make us fruitful, and give us hearts to shout for joy in your salvation; we pray in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
SONG: Jesus, Remember Me
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.