“I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord” (Psalm 122:1).
Psalm 122 is one of the fifteen Songs of Degrees (Psalms 120-134). These songs were probably composed to be sung by the children of Israel as they went up to observe those yearly festivals commanded by God in the law (Deut. 16:16). This particular Psalm was written by David, who wrote at least four of the fifteen (122, 124, 131 and 133). In this Psalm, David describes the blessings found in the House of the Lord. In the Christian dispensation, the House of the Lord is the church of the Lord, the pillar and ground of the truth (I Tim. 3:15).
One of the blessings to be found in the House of the Lord is unity (122:2,3). Jerusalem, the place where God chose to place His name (I Kings 11:36), was “compacted together.” Barnes wrote of this verse: “The walls are all joined together; and the houses are all united to one another so as to make a compact place…from the necessity of the case, when it became the capital of the nation, it was densely crowded.” Furthermore, the last of the Songs of Degrees states the matter plainly: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1).
In the Lord’s church there is unity (Eph. 4:3). This unity is based, not upon any man’s opinions or feelings, but it is based upon the Lord’s word (John 17:17-21). We are not now still seeking unity, as some claim, for this unity of the faith was obtained and Jesus’ prayer answered, when the revelation of the New Covenant was completed (Eph. 4:8-15). We must endeavor to “keep it” (v. 3), however. Even now the Lord’s church is “fitly joined together and compacted” (Eph. 4:16).
In the Lord’s House was also the Testimony of Israel. It is for this reason that the people of God went up to Jerusalem, “unto the Testimony of Israel” (122:4). The “Testimony of Israel” was the body of commands given unto Israel by God (Ex. 31:18) which was to be placed in the ark of the covenant (Ex. 25:16), the ark of the testimony (Ex. 25:21,22). It was above the Testimony of Israel, above the mercy seat, where God communed with man (Ex 26:34; Ex. 25:22).
Today, in the Lord’s church, we have the testimony of Christ (I Cor. 1:1-6). It is also called the testimony of God (I Cor. 2:1). This testimony involves the teaching regarding “Christ crucified” (I Cor. 2:2), which teaching Paul also calls the “gospel,” in I Cor. 15:1-4. It is the Lord’s church which is to take the gospel into all the world (Matt. 28:18-20). It is to the Lord and His testimony that all men should come to find rest (Matt. 11:28-31). And it is by the church the manifold wisdom of God is made known, “according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3:10-11). Let all nations now flow unto it with joy (Is. 2:1-4; Psalm 122:1)!
David called on all to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6). Peace and prosperity were to be found within her walls, the walls and palaces of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:7,8). “Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem; praise thy God, O Zion. For he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates; he hath blessed thy children within thee. He maketh peace in thy borders, and filleth thee with the finest of the wheat” (Psalm 147:12-14). The peace of God was to be found within the walls of Jerusalem.
Today, in the Lord’s house, the church, the peace of God can also be found. “For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace” (Eph. 2:14-15). This peace is first and foremost peace with God (Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:16) and then with our fellow man (Rom. 12:18), but it is a peace that is rooted and grounded in the gospel of Christ, the gospel of peace (Rom. 10:15; Col. 2:7).
Yes, I also was glad when they said unto me, “Let us go into the house of the Lord,” for that is where unity, the word of God and peace with God can be found! Will you rejoice and come unto the House of the Lord?
Eric L. Padgett