“Summaries, Psalm 131-135”

Categories: Bulletin Articles

Psalm 131, another Song of Ascents, compares our relationship with God to a small child snuggling with his mother.  Just like that child is calm and at peace, so our soul isn’t disturbed within us.  Just like the child doesn’t worry because he trusts his mother, we don’t worry because we trust God.

Psalm 132 compares the pilgrim’s zeal for the temple to David’s zeal for the temple.  The psalmist begins by observing that even though David didn’t build the temple, he very badly wanted to, and indeed vowed that he wouldn’t sleep until he began the project.  Similarly, the pilgrims have resolved to go to the temple, where they ask God to be present and sanctify His people. 

After this, the psalmist returns to the subject of David, noting that God promised him that his descendants would reign forever so long as they remained faithful to Him.  As a consequence of this oath, God has chosen to dwell in and protect Zion.  There, God will bless His people and confirm David’s descendant as king.

Psalm 133 reflects on the subject of unity.  It describes unity as a good and pleasant thing, and it compares it both to the priestly anointing oil that was poured abundantly on Aaron and to the dew that fell on Mt. Hermon.  In both cases, the message is clear:  unity is a blessing that God pours on us from above.

Psalm 134 is one of the shortest psalms in the book.  It’s addressed to the night watchmen in the temple.  It urges them to bless the Lord and in turn expresses the wish that the Lord would bless them.

Psalm 135 is the final Song of Ascents.  It calls all of God’s servants to praise Him.  God should be praised because praising Him is pleasant and because He has chosen Israel to be His people.  The psalmist then explores the power of God, observing that He does whatever He pleases.  Incidentally, doing whatever one pleases is the Biblical definition of omnipotence, and it avoids the hypotheticals of the skeptics like, “Can God create a rock too big for Him to lift?”  (A better question would be, “Why would God be divided against Himself?”) 

The psalm then enumerates various works of God, from controlling the weather to delivering Israel from Egypt to conquering Israel’s enemies in Canaan.  Because of this, God’s fame is worldwide, and His servants can be confident that He will continue to bless them.

By contrast, the idols of the nations are mute, powerless, and lifeless.  As a result, they won’t deliver anybody, and those who trust them will become mute, powerless, and lifeless too.  The psalm concludes with inviting various portions of God’s people to bless and praise Him.