Do me a favor and please read Psalm 132.
This psalm is a psalm of vows. And while we don’t know who the author is or what the setting was, we do have a vow from David (vs 1-5), a vow from Solomon (6-10), and then the vow from God (11-18). It was David who made a vow to build a house for the Lord, God responded to that by stating that it wouldn’t be him but his son Solomon who would do it, but then God promised that a descendant of David would sit on that throne for eternity. And did David vow to build a house? Yes, but God told him that it wouldn’t be David who built it but his son (1 Chronicles 17:4-15). Did Solomon complete the temple, the house of the Lord? Yes, as we read in 1 Kings 6. And did God hold up to his end with providing a descendant upon the throne that would last forever? Absolutely! His name is Jesus (Matthew 1:1; Luke 1:32-33; Acts 15:15-16; Heb 1:5). So, vows made, vows given, vows upheld. So is this simply a psalm of vow reminders? Why do we have this psalm and why did the people need the reminders?
While we don’t know much about this psalm (as stated above but also where the people were at in history) we do know that it falls under the “psalm of ascents” and thus was written as a song and remembrance that was used/sung by the people as they went up to Jerusalem. It was sung by a people as they went to visit the temple, the dwelling place of God here on earth and the place promised by David and delivered by Solomon. So maybe it was a song meant to re-encourage the people about what had gone before them? Maybe it was a song to challenge the people to relive the vows made by their ancestors and kings? Maybe it was a song they sung to God as they asked him to remember what he had promised and the vow to come? Maybe it was all three or a combination? Maybe. But did God need to be reminded? Probably not…but the people felt they needed to sing it. So it was probably more for them than anything else.
It’s funny how we need to ask God for something we know he’ll already deliver on. We affirm that God is the God of Covenants (promises). That if God says he’s going to do something then he does it. And while we may not know when that will come to fruition we hold true that it will. It’s what our hope is built on. That what God says, will be. And yet how interesting is it that there is still this need within us to speak of those needs of God and to ask him to remember them. To ask God to hold to his word as if he had forgotten or he was internally balancing whether he should move on and do something else instead. You and I need to verbalize our hope even though all of our comfort is already placed in the God of vows. If God’s word wasn’t true then scripture, from the very beginning, would need to be tossed out. Everything we believe and hold true to is based off of what God has said, done, and declared. So why did the people still ask God to remember? I don’t know as I wasn’t there. But it couldn’t be any different than what you and I do when we ask God to forgive. We know he does but still we seek it.
As I reflect on this psalm and what the people were asking I find myself coming back to not only WHAT they were asking but WHY they were asking it. They’re asking for God to remember his promise and vow to them that a descendant of David would be on the throne for eternity. And why was that important? Because it meant they were ruled over by one of their own (a Hebrew); because it meant they would forever be in God’s presence; and ultimately it meant that they would be able to always worship him. So when I scramble that all together, at least in my own head, I come to the understanding that all the people wanted to do was worship God and they knew, and declared, that God had to act in order for that to happen.
The vows of David and the work of Solomon only happened because God said it would, allowed it to, and made a vow to it. And without God’s vows, without God holding to his word, there would be no future worship of him IN HIS PRESENCE. THAT’S what the people wanted. They wanted to worship God not only today, not only on their way up to Jerusalem, but they wanted to worship him, today, in his presence and for eternity to come. And so their worship song today became a worship hopeful song of tomorrow. It became a song that brought peace to their hearts now and yet prepared them for what was to come.
Sometimes we simply need reminders, deep down within, that need to be verbalized. Sometimes we need to hear the promises in order to comprehend and put our souls at rest…even when we know they are true and will happen. Our worship of God can get confusing and complicated but it all stems from this desire TO WORSHIP GOD. And while we may confuse what we do with what God does that doesn’t remove the fact that we long to worship God. But rest at ease that God has done everything in order for our worship to continue on well past our lives on this earth today. Because that promise and that vow that one of David’s descendants would be on the throne forever comes to fruition in Christ. And it is by way of Christ and what he has done we will continue to worship him for eternity in his presence. So go ahead and ask God to remember that, although we should never forget that it’s already done.