Journeying to Zion
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-92) was probably England's best-known preacher during the second half of the nineteenth century. In 1854 at the age of 20 he became pastor of the New Park Street Church. Spurgeon was a brilliant orator, but he also wrote volumes on the scriptures, one of his best-known works being the Treasury of David.
These seven volumes were an exposition of the book of Psalms, written and printed over a twenty year period, the seventh and final volume being completed in 1885. Jesus confirmed that the Psalms were of great significance. After His resurrection He appeared to His disciples and reminded them that everything that was written about him in the Law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, (or the writings) concerning Himself must be fulfilled.
The book of Psalms was the Jewish songbook. As they travelled to Jerusalem they would sing from this songbook, they would have had some favourites that they liked to sing more than others, just as we listen to favourite songs.
Eleven of the Psalms are attributed to the sons of Korah. During the time of King David they became leaders in choral and orchestral music in the tabernacle, at the forefront of the thanksgiving service and pageantry that welcomed the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem.
One of these eleven Psalms is my favourite, and that is Psalm 84. It’s a song of pilgrimage, it’s about going on a journey, one that every Jewish male was required to make and worship at the temple at least three times a year if they could.
For many families, this was the highlight of the year, to be able to go to Jerusalem, see the sights and sounds of the big city, to enter into the temple and see the splendour of it. Many travelled great distances and endured hardship to be able to make it to Jerusalem. The way was sometimes discouraging, so they would sing and worship as they travelled. This psalm is believed to be one of the ones that they sung, to remind them, especially during the discouraging parts of the journey, of the glory of God’s house. This psalm is expressed with deep longing for the presence of God, to be in His house, in His courts and dwell in His presence. This same feeling you have when you are about to see a loved friend or family member that you have not seen or talked with in a long time. Imagine if you had to leave them, not sure if you would ever see them again. Would you cry out with longing to be able to see them? After seeing them, would you begin to count the days until you see them again?
Children of God today also long to spend time in the courts of the Lord. Whereas the writer of the Psalm only gets to worship God in the temple a couple times a year, yearning, thirsting, longing, even fainting to be in the courts of the Lord again, we are given the grace to be in God’s Presence at all times. Our journey to Zion is often difficult, sometimes discouraging, but being refreshed by drinking the Living Water, we too are able to worship as we continue our journey.
Prayer: God, thank You for giving us the strength to keep worshipping as we make our pilgrimage,.in Jesus Name, Amen