Psalm 134 Sermon – Week 15 Psalms of Ascent

Psalm 134 is the last of the pilgrim psalms. These songs were sung as the Jewish people were making their way the Temple in Jerusalem a couple of special times per year. When we began these 15 psalms 16 weeks ago on August 2, we could not have imagined where we would be on November 15 when this part of our journey would come to a close. The NIBC makes the claim that Psalm 134 not only would have been sung on the journey, but would especially be sung on the last night of the vigil of a festival as the pilgrims were just about to leave for home.

There is not a lot to break down in this Scripture. Verses one and two would have been sung by the congregation toward the Levitical priests. Verse 3 would have been the response of the leader back to the people.

1 Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord
    who minister by night in the house of the Lord.
2 Lift up your hands in the sanctuary
    and praise the Lord.

They are not praising the ministers – they are encouraging the ministers/priests to praise the Lord and raise up holy hands in praise to the Lord. Then the priest would have responded:

3 May the Lord bless you from Zion,
    he who is the Maker of heaven and earth.

We have come to the end of a 15 week journey through the Psalms of Ascent. Yet this journey is but a journey within a journey. A leg of a journey you might say. And not many of us have any clue how this journey looks tomorrow or in six months. Five months ago my friend and EMT mentor Brenda Long had surgery for cancer and we hoped at that time, after some treatments, that she would be back on the ambulance about now. Initially they said she could be back in six months. We could use her. We had no clue at that time that she would be at home right now fighting for her life, with cancer throughout her body, even more uncertain about the months ahead than she was then. Her cancer battle does not seem like it is going to end they way we had hoped. And even the cancer battle is a journey within her larger journey.

The key to life on earth is knowing the ultimate end of our journey. The ultimate end of my journey is to be with Jesus in a place known as heaven. Jesus went to prepare a place for me. Knowing that makes each leg of this journey bearable. And at those times when I do not think I can bear it, Psalm 134 reminds me to praise the Lord…. bless the Lord.

Revelation 2:10 – Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.

~ Eugene Peterson wrote – (For the Christian)…blessing is at the end of the road. And that which is at the end of the road influences everything that takes place along the road.

On the Matthew Redman Blee the Lord O My Soul youtube video a young lady sneha parajuli

i am 15 years old girl. i am only one christian in my family i get many toture but i am proud and happy that lord choose me and he is always with me… day my whole family will praise his name…..he is great…………….. please and please pray for me that we all are a family in christ

She has a couple of songs she sang on her own youtube channel and people in her native land would write Dami – I looked that up – we would translate it as “Creator” They were giving praise to the Creator – the Maker of heaven and earth.

She knows that blessing is at the end of the road. And that which is at the end of the road influences everything that takes place along the road.

The apostle Paul knew this and I want to look at his life for a few moments – Paul knew that God finishes what He starts –

Philippians 4:6 – being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Paul – a pharisee, a persecutor of Christians – Many legs to his journey until the time when the end is at hand and he eventually writes in 2 Timothy 4 – “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge will give to me on that day, and not to me only but to all who loved his appearing.”

But along the way, parts of the journey offered unsteady footing. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 11 –

But in whatever anyone dares to boast—I am talking foolishly—I also dare:

22 Are they Hebrews? So am I.
Are they Israelites? So am I.
Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I.
23 Are they servants of Christ?
I’m talking like a madman—I’m a better one:
with far more labors,
many more imprisonments,
far worse beatings, near death[h] many times.
24 Five times I received 39 lashes from Jews.
25 Three times I was beaten with rods by the Romans.
Once I was stoned by my enemies.[i]
Three times I was shipwrecked.
I have spent a night and a day
in the open sea.
26 On frequent journeys, I faced
dangers from rivers,
dangers from robbers,
dangers from my own people,
dangers from the Gentiles,
dangers in the city,
dangers in the open country,
dangers on the sea,
and dangers among false brothers;
27 labor and hardship,
many sleepless nights, hunger and thirst,
often without food, cold, and lacking clothing.

28 Not to mention[j] other things, there is the daily pressure on me: my care for all the churches.

Paul says in 2 Timothy 4:17 – But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me.

Paul knew no moment of uncertainty or difficulty was the end of his story. He knew the end.

To repeat he said, “There is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge will give to me on that day, and not to me only but to all who loved his appearing.”

So the shipwrecks were not the end

the snakebites were not the end

the beatings were not the end.

It was going to end with a crown of righteousness – and it did.

So cancer is not the end. Might it take this life? Of course. There are none among us who have not lost a loved one to cancer.

But the context of Psalm 134 reminds us

in the difficulties of this life we Praise the Lord. And He blesses us.

And in the pinnacles of joy in this life He blesses us and we praise the Lord.

We should be going through life like the movie character who in a crises says – “It’s not going to end like this”. Through every toil and trouble – this is not the end.

I know the ending and this is not it. Praise the Lord.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 – Therefore we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, yet our inner self is being renewed day by day. For our momentary affliction is producing for us an eternal glory that is far beyond comparison. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.…

We fix our eyes on Jesus – the author and finisher of our faith.

Praise the Lord. The Lord Bless you.