This is the last of the song of ascents, and it has been conjectured that it was sung after the pilgrimage to the temple in Jerusalem had been made, and the people were ready to go home.
And as they started on their journey home, they sang to those who were still working in the temple that evening,
Praise the LORD, all you servants of the LORD who minister by night in the house of the LORD. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the LORD. (1-2)
One word that gets lost in the NIV translation is the word, “Behold.” The NASB puts it,
Behold, bless the Lord. (1)
In other words, “Hey! Pay attention! Remember to bless the Lord.”
The worshipers were exhorting the priests and Levites not to become lax in their duties, but to stay alert, and to continue worshiping and serving the Lord.
There’s a cross-reference in my Bible that is very interesting. It points out that in I Chronicles 9:33 that there were Levites that were specifically designated for singing praises to God and it was their job to do so day and night. Perhaps it was these people that the psalmist had in mind.
But whoever the psalmist was specifically addressing, it’s a reminder to all of us that God is never to be far from our thoughts day or night.
I was reading a book today about how cynicism can creep up into our thinking, and how it can affect our prayer life. Cynicism creeps into our thinking mostly because we let God slip out from our hearts and minds. We forget his love. We start to doubt his goodness. As a result, we start to wonder if it’s even worth our time praying to God, and because of this, our relationship with him drifts even further apart.
But when we keep a heart of thanksgiving in our hearts, and we remember who God is and his goodness towards us, it keeps cynicism from getting into our system and poisoning our spirits.
There are few things worse than a cynical priest, and it’s worth remembering that as God’s people, we are also his priests in this world.
How about you? Are you letting cynicism poison your spirit? Is it poisoning your attitude toward this world? Toward your life? Toward God?
Then let us refocus our hearts and minds. Focus on God’s goodness. Focus on his love for us. Focus on all he’s done for us. Bring back a heart of thanksgiving. And all your cynicism will melt away and be replaced with God’s joy.
As the pilgrims departed, the priests called back to them,
May the LORD bless you from Zion, He who made heaven and earth. (3)
As you go on through this journey in life, I pray that God may bless you with every spiritual blessing from heaven. And may he purge you of all cynicism from your heart and fill you with his joy.