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 PSALM 134





--- Dr. Mike Bagwell


Psalm 134

(A Song of degrees)

 1 Behold, bless ye the LORD, all ye servants of the LORD, which by night stand in the house of the LORD. 2 Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD. 3 The LORD that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion.




I have long been interested in the fifteen Bible hymns of praise starting with Psalm 120 and ending at Psalm 134.

They are known as the "Psalms of Degrees."

Hereís something interesting about them. I had never seen this until yesterday! Psalm 120 (the beginning Psalm in the series) starts with the wrong use of oneís tongue (lying lips and a deceitful tongue)! However, by Psalm 134 we see the right use of the tongue (blessing the Lord)! What progress in the spiritual life!

There is also here advancement (spiritually) in geography! Psalm 120 starts in Mesech and Kedar, areas far removed from Godís "promised land" --- one to the north and one to the south, but Psalm 134 ends at the Temple in Jerusalem, Godís city of peace and worship!

In fact Psalm 134 opens with these words:

"Behold, bless ye the Lord." Psalm 134:1

The opening word, "behold," is an interjection. In Hebrew it is spelled "hen." It can be rendered "behold!" It means to look at something! (Pointing to a person or thing) It also can add to the clause it introduces a sense of prediction, a sense of coming conditions. (And there IS coming a Day when the praises of Psalm 134 will be heard in abundance!) Remember that every word in the Bible is inspired!

Then comes our verb: bless! (In Hebrew = "barak.") The verb literally means to kneel! Then it comes to mean to bless! To express adoration! The verb here is an imperative ... expressing to us a command! We are required to bless the Lord ... at least we are if weíre His servants!

Now hereís an interesting thing about our word "bless." Mankind here is being asked to do something to and for God ... something that God has first done to and for mankind! Again and again Scripture tells us how very blessed we are of the Lord. In fact God blesses us daily! Do you see it? God blesses us ... we must bless Him in return. (Not in any sense of earning something ... but in a sense of reverent worship and thanksgiving)  Remember that ... "We love him, because he first loved us."  1st John 4:19

God stooped down to our level ... sending His Own Son to die on the Cross to forgive our iniquity. We therefore should bow down before Him in humble adoration too!

And note the precise Name of God used here in our verse. It is "Jehovah" God. This is Godís Name used when Adam and Eve had sinned and blood had to be shed on their behalf (to produce coats of skins to hide their nakedness)! See Genesis 3:21. Jehovah is Godís Covenant Name! Jehovah is Godís "saving" Name! He should be blessed constantly by those whom He has saved!

Do I hear some faithful reader today echoing the words: "Behold, bless ye the Lord!" I think I do!"

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell





I have often thought how very much a spiritual leader's influence impacts a congregation.  (For that matter a congregation should impact and encourage their leader too!)

Today's verse illustrates my point.

In it the worshippers of Psalm 134 say to the Levites and Priests who have been working in the Temple (all night long): 

"Behold, bless ye the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord."  Psalm 134:1

Then (it is assumed) the Levites and Priests break into a chorus of praise and thanksgiving to the glory of God!  (Even to the point of physical involvement:  lifting up their hands in the sanctuary!)

The word for "servants" is "ebed" in Hebrew and means a slave.  It comes from a root word that means "to work or to be a bondman."  It's first Bible use is early ... Genesis 2:5, where man is told to "till" the ground.  (True servants of the Lord, Pastors and Evangelists and Missionaries, are just heavenly "farmers" send to help prepare God's ground for the seed of the Word!  See the parable of Mark 4:26-29.)

These Temple workers one night, likely as the case may have been, were perhaps a little quiet in their duties.  Noticing this, a group of faithful believers say to them: "Hey, preachers!  Praise the Lord!  Bless His Name!  What an honor you have just to be in the Temple after the doors are locked and we have all had to go!"

By the way, do you encourage your Pastor?  Do you lovingly says words of affirmation to him regularly?  Do you let him know what a blessing he is in your life?  Hebrews 3:13 tells us to:  "Exhort one another daily, while it is called To day." 

And preachers, let me say a word to you.  Did you know that your attitude, the spirit you bring to church, will have a great bearing on the whole service.  Sir, you are the LEADER!  If you're spiritually cheerful ... so will the people eventually be!  If you are dragging along ... get ready, they will drag soon too!

Of all people to lead in the church's thanksgiving and praise ... the man of God should be at the head of the line!  (A "worship team" is not the answer, either.   A spirit-filled preacher is!  Let's come to church with hearts overflowing with gratitude and joy and praise!)

(A "mom" usually sets the "mood" or "spirit" of a home!  A supervisor does so on the job!  A coach on the team!  But a preacher does so at church!)

Soon, if an air of kind loving co-operation develops, each (congregation and pastor) will be helping the other! 

That's the way it happened in Psalm 134 ... and that's the way it ought to be at our churches!

That's certainly one things our text today shows.

Someone give me some "in-put" on this lesson.  You may e-mail me by using the icon at the top of this page.  It says:  "To e-mail Dr. Bagwell."

We surely have enjoyed you visiting us today ... with an open Bible in your hand!

                                                                                     --- Dr. Mike Bagwell





The Bible sure loves that word "all!"  It is used 5,621 times in Scripture!  (King James Version)

It's even found in today's verse!


"Behold, bless ye the LORD, all ye servants of the LORD, which by night stand in the house of the LORD."    Psalm 134:1

Who is asked to "bless" the Lord?

ALL His servants!

It is believed that these words are said by a congregation of worshippers as they leave the Temple Mount at the conclusion of one of the great Jewish feast days!  (All of Israel's men had to go to Jerusalem 3 times a year!  Deuteronomy 16:16 --- "Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty.")

As they depart, they call back to the priests and Levites who are on "duty" during the long night hours and say to them:  "Praise the Lord!  Bless His Name!  ALL ye men of God!"

"All" translates a little Hebrew word "kol," which means the whole of a group or every one of a number.  Each worker for the Lord is asked to bless Him joyfully.

Have you ever heard of "temperament" traits in individuals?  Some people are said to be more happy and joyful, others are known as serious minded while yet more may be melancholy or sad by nature.  Well, these "servants" of the Lord, no matter their "temperaments" were ALL expected to "bless" the good Lord that night!

Hear me please.  We need to adopt the attitude of the Psalmist (no matter how we view life emotionally) and say:  "Seven times a day do I praise Thee!"  (Psalm 119:164) Or maybe this verse is more appropriate here:  "At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee."  Psalm 119:62 

Or if we want to get that word "all" into our proof text:  "I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth."  Psalm 34:1  Here's another "all:"  (Psalm 67:5)  "Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee." 

A couple more things are told us about these workers for the Lord too. 

We know their posture while working.  They "stand!"  (I guess so!  There were no "chairs" in the Temple.  The work of an Old Testament Priest is never done!  Always more sin to be atoned ... more blood to be shed ... more animals to be slain!  I only know one Bible priest Who ever sat down in a official "work" sense!  That is Jesus, our Great High Priest!  After His Ascension His Father said to Him:  "The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool." Psalm 110:1  Why could He sit?  HE, and He alone of all priests, had completed the work of redemption!)

I admire these Priests and Levites who "stood!"

The verb "stand" translates Hebrew "amad."  In our Bible it is variously rendered as: stand, stay, endure, remain, continue, withstand or set (not as in a chair ... but with determination to be "set")!  You can see that the verb is one of absolute resolve! 

It certainly represents one of today's greatest needs among us preachers!

Just to STAND!

Not quit!  Not run!  Not retire!  Not evade the issues!  Not be sidetracked!  Just STAND! 

Remember what Paul told the Ephesians: "Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."  Ephesians 6:13

Do you remember "Shammah" in 2 Samuel 23:11 and 12?  "And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentiles: and the people fled from the Philistines. But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the LORD wrought a great victory."  Glory to God!

My heart is fervently burning this morning as I contemplate these truths!  I hardly want to stop typing ... but this Bible study article is long enough.  More tomorrow, Lord willing.  I want to show you WHEN these dear men of God stood!

Meet us again ... with a Bible in your hand!

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell





Did you know that in the days of Solomon's Temple there were men (priests and Levites) who worked ALL NIGHT LONG in that Holy Place?

Some actually served as "guards."  Others prepared the equipment and furniture for the next day's sacrifices.  It even seems that some lived there!

These "night shift" servants of the Lord are addressed in Psalm 134!

Listen to what the Spirit says through the precious Word of God:

"Behold, bless ye the LORD, all ye servants of the LORD, which by night stand in the house of the LORD."   Psalm 134:1

I want to talk with you a little while about serving our Lord during the "night" seasons.

As you know darkness in Scripture can be a picture of hard times.  Of times when the "pressures" and trials of life are great.  When things just seem to be going "wrong."

Think of the Christians through Scripture who have served God faithfully by night!

Joseph did! 

In the pit!  In Potiphar's house!  In that Egyptian prison too!

Elijah did!

Sitting by the Brook Cherith (which of itself means "cutting)!

Confronting the false prophets of Baal!

Jeremiah did!

Sitting in dungeons and confined in cells again and again!

Daniel did!

And so too the three Hebrew children!

Not to mention John the Baptist!

And the greatest "night" Sufferer of all --- our Lord Jesus Christ sure was faithful!  In fact, His very name is Faithful!  (Revelation 19:11 --- "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.")

The Hebrew word for "night" is "layil." It is used 233 times in our King James Bibles.  Its root verb means "to twist" or "to fold back."  Teachers believe the idea here is that of light being turned away for some reason. Using this precise word, Psalm 16:7 has Jesus saying:  "I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons."  Our Lord just taught us what to do when we have to serve at "night" (during the hard times) ... draw counsel and instruction from our Father in Heaven!  God surely "folded back" the light for three terrible hours while Jesus our Saviour died on Calvary, didn't He?

Here's another way our precise word is used in the Bible.  God is being addressed: "To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night."  Psalm 92:2  I have found that when I have to "work" at "night," the dear Lord has always been faithful! 

I have also noticed that this particular term for "night" is often used in the Old Testament when describing a limited amount of time.  Let me briefly show you what I mean.

1 Samuel 30:12 --- "And they gave him a piece of a cake of figs, and two clusters of raisins: and when he had eaten, his spirit came again to him: for he had eaten no bread, nor drunk any water, three days and three nights."  (But his ordeal was over after 3 days and nights!  He was fed sumptuously!)

Job 2:13 --- "So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great." (But after 7 days and nights they began to speak to Job, trying to "help" him.  The silence did not last forever!)

Jonah 1:17 --- "Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights."  (But no longer than the 3 days and 3 nights!)

Dear friends, you who are experiencing the night seasons of life ... it is only for a while!  He puts on us no more than we can bear.  Plus ... heaven awaits as well!  Let me try to encourage you with this thought:  "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."  Psalm 30:5  And morning WILL come!

What's the Bible advice to these dear men of God who are working all night long?

"Bless ye the Lord!"

Praise the Lord, ye servants of God!

Lift up you hands in the sanctuary and glorify our great God!

Regardless of how dark it is ... do your very best just to "praise" the Lord.  If you can't praise Him yet ... the specific word "bless" means "to bow down" in front of someone!  Just fall at His Feet and worship him!  Remember what Job did:  "Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped."  Job 1:20

I believe we are being told to praise/bless the night away!

I do not desire to make light of anyone's "night-time" burdens ... but I do know God will bring you through.  Sunrise is coming!  Or should I have said:  SONrise is coming!  Malachi did!  Listen to him.  Malachi 4:2 --- "But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise (that's Jesus) with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall."  Those "calves" are well fed and protected and happy!

And, also let me tell you this.

Usually (in almost any job) ... the night workers get paid more!  And the Lord knows this too!  At the Judgment Seat of Christ ... rewards just may be a bit greater for those who have worked (served) faithfully all night long!

And the night crews are the ones who really get things ready for the day crews!  One executive was heard saying:  "Without a good night shift ... our company would lose its profitability!" 

Dear sir, or dear lady, your faithful work (praising the Lord along the way) at night may make the one who follows you (day shift) more successful!  If so ... your Supervisor will know it and bless you for it!

Lastly, it is obvious that no one ever sees the night workers!  They are covered by the oblivion of darkness.  It is the day workers who are always seen and acknowledged.  BUT wait until it is all over ... that long forgotten night shift just may be set in the spotlight of heaven's glory!

If so ... won't you be GLAD you faithfully (and joyfully) served well?


"Lord, speak to some heart today who has been on the "night shift.  Encourage them through the power of Thy Word.  In Jesus Name I pray, Amen."

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell





Universally Christians do this.  I've seen it since I was just a little boy.  What does it mean?  How does the Lord respond to it?

I'm talking about the "lifting of hands" unto the Lord.  Precisely what our verse today mentions in relation to the servants of the Lord in the Temple in Psalm 134.

Here's the exact verse:

"Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD."  Psalm 134:2

The opening verb "lift" is a translation of the common Hebrew verb "nasa" which means to carry, take or lift. Here since the "hands" are involved the word choice is obvious. Also we might note that the verb is placed in its imperative form. It is given as a command!

The word for "hands" is also a common term. "Yad" means oneís hands for sure ... but also is an integral part of the Hebrew Name "Yadah," Judah! (See it? YAD - ah!) And Judah distinctly means "praise!" In other words, there is a direct correlation here between "hand" and "praise!" This should give us a real "hint" as to what this "hands uplifted" command is all about! It is an urging to PRAISE the Lord!

First of all uplifted hands was a symbol of prayer! Even in the New Testament Paul said in 1 Timothy 2:8 --- "I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting." (The old preachers used to say lifting an empty hand was a symbol of God being able to FILL that hand by means of His great prayer-answering Power!) Hereís an Old Testament example of lifted hands and prayer being associated also. Psalm 141:2 --- "Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice."

The men of God on "duty" at the Temple should be men of prayer too! The people need the prayers of their preachers! (And thatís something that is disappearing more and more in these last days --- Pastoral prayer.)

But thereís another thing "uplifted hands" represent too. It is found in Nehemiah 8 where Ezra has been preaching (verse by verse) from the Word of God! "And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground." This is describing a church service!

Lift your hands, smile, say "Amen" and encourage your Pastor Sunday as he preaches the Word of God! It is a Biblical response! (A revival broke out the day those things happened in Nehemiah 8:6!) We preachers must be committed to edifying our people too!

And then of course lifted hands is just a sign of praise and thanksgiving! For example, Psalm 63:4 --- "Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name." Oh, that we had more real praise in our churches and homes and lives!

A little caution here. Donít lift up your hands without also lifting up your hearts! It is hypocritical to do otherwise! Listen to Lamentations 3:41 as Jeremiah says: "Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens." Put all you have into your worship!

Where were the Priests to lift up their hands?

In the "Sanctuary!" At the Temple! In the House of God!

Hear me. Church is not to be a dead place. It is NOT a funeral home. It is a place to reverently but fervently enjoy the salvation our God has so richly provided!

Praise God at His House!

Then is repeated the earlier given admonition: Bless ye the Lord!

Has anybody got anything GOOD they can say about our Lord?

Can anyone today "brag" on His good Name?

Letís all try to make this Saturday a day in which we indeed magnify and uplift our dear Heavenly Father and His precious Son Who died for our sins.

I know that as I travel today I sure want to do so.

This 134th Psalm is all about "blessing!" (The word "bless" occurs in each of its verses!) Lord willing, more tomorrow morning.

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell





Something very interesting happens in Psalm 134!  (Of course that's true about every chapter in the Bible, isn't it?  And it has 1,189 of them!)

 In the first two verses it seems that some worshippers have been encouraging their Preachers (actually Priests and Levites since it is an Old Testament text) to bless the Lord.  And to keep standing for the Lord!  And to lift up their hands in adoration to our great King! 

Here's the way the passage words it:

"Behold, bless ye the LORD, all ye servants of the LORD, which by night stand in the house of the LORD.  Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD."   (Psalm 134:1-2)

THEN it happens!

Everything seems to shift!

In the third verse ... the Priests (Preachers) speak!  Watch what THEY say:

"The LORD that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion."

Grammatically it seems that a change of speakers has occurred.

In verses 1 and 2 the ones being addressed are all plural.  The worshippers say to the priests (plural ... the whole group) "Bless the Lord!"

But in the 3rd verse it is different.  The Priests respond by saying to each "individual" (singular):  "May the Lord bless THEE out of Zion!"

The lesson today is simple:  We reap what we sow! 

Galatians 6:7 is still true!  "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."

Bless the Preachers in the Name of the Lord!

That same man of God will bless you right back ... of course in the Name of the Lord!

I strongly suspect that the reverse is true too.

If one criticizes and belittles his or her preacher ... they will reap lives of bitterness and confusion!

Another conclusion we must draw here is this.  Our duty includes that of encouraging the men of God!  Uplifting them all we can!  Exhorting them to praise our dear Lord!

And as we do so ... that very joy and praise and worship will begin to overflow ... influencing and impacting our own lives!  What we give ... we get!  What we send ... we receive!  (Again, what we sow ... we reap!)

Isn't it amazing that the Lord timed this part of our Psalm for a Sunday?

Also notice the vastness of the preachers' response.

"Zion" refers to the precincts of Jerusalem particularly.  It references the Temple area for sure.  BUT you can't confine our God to just one geographical location!  No!  No!  No! He is ALSO the God "Who made heaven and earth!"

It is likely that these worshippers are Jewish "pilgrims" who have traveled to the Holy City for one of the great Fest Days (Passover or Pentecost or Tabernacles). They now are on their way home!  Psalm 134 is the LAST of the (travel) Psalms of Degrees! The good news is simply the fact that GOD is going home with them ... no matter where they live!  He controls all of heaven and earth!

Listen to another way God words this truth in 1 Samuel 2:30. "But now the LORD saith ... them that honour Me I will honour, and they that despise Me shall be lightly esteemed."  That says it all! (Wow!)

Lastly, God can sure bring blessing out of some unusual places!

Here it comes out of "Zion."  The word in Hebrew is spelled "tzsiyon" and it literally means "a parched place!"  Desert!  Dreary barren lonely unproductive land ... until God "touches" it!  He can make the desert to blossom like the rose Isaiah says in his great prophecy (Isaiah 35:1)! 

Someone today may be in an old dry place.  Ask your Heavenly Father to "touch" it! (Or better yet to "touch" you!)  It can quickly become the place of "blessing!"

What big lessons from such a little Psalm! (Psalm 117 is the shortest Psalm in the book.  Next to it comes Psalm 134.) God surely can put great things in small packages!

We've enjoyed you visiting today ... with a Bible in your hand!

Come again any time.  You are always welcome!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell





"The Lord bless you!"

How many times have those words been spoken?

Wherever God's dear people meet, His blessings are invoked again and again!

But where did that idea originate?

What Bible basis do I have for desiring God's "blessings" to rest upon someone?

Perhaps the best example is found in the writings of Moses!

God asks the Priests of Israel to "put His Name" upon the people in divinely ordered blessing!

Here's the paragraph of Scripture I have in mind:

"Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them,  The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:  The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:  The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.  And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them."   Numbers 6:23-27

What a blessing that is!

But WHY is Brother Bagwell talking about a passage in Numbers when he is supposed to be completing Psalm 134 today (or tomorrow)?

I'll tell you why.

The last verse of Psalm 134 has caused all this!

In it the Priests of Israel say to the departing worshippers (on their way "home" after being in the holy city of Jerusalem for one of the Feast Days of ancient Israel):

 "The LORD that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion."  Psalm 134:3

Now I am of the opinion that the red verse (found in Psalm 134) is an abbreviated version of the "blue" text (found in Numbers 6).

The Priests of David's day have continued giving the blessing that their forefathers were commanded to give in Moses' day!

(I strongly believe that it can still be pronounced and prayed to this very day under God's leadership!)

The full text of the passage in Numbers is obviously arranged in 3 parts!

Number 1 ... THE LORD bless thee and keep thee!!

Number 2 ... THE LORD make His Face shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee!

Number 3 ... THE LORD lift up His Countenance upon thee and give thee peace!

Isn't it interesting that the "blessing" is arranged as a trinity?

That's exactly it!

A trinity!

A God Who is a Trinity pronouncing a blessing that is a trinity!


God the Father is the One Who originally blessed us (with Jesus) and keeps (protects) us from hell by the death of His Son!

God the Son is the One Who is Grace Personified!  He came to earth ... His face did shine down here ... and He saved our lost souls via His Blood!

And God the Holy Spirit is the One Who countenances us every day with His presence (indwelling us) and imparts to us peace (along with love, joy, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance)!

It IS a triune blessing!

Brothers and Sisters, I pray today these same blessings be upon you!

I would encourage you in this New Testament age of Grace (during which we live) to pray this "blessing" upon those you love.  Those who are serving God faithfully!  Those who love him with all their hearts!  Those who feed you the word of God!  Those who live under your very roof!  Those with whom you worship week by week!  Those whom God lays upon your heart!

One last thing ... I can't help but notice that by the time the "blessing" got to the Priests in David's day ... it has been abbreviated a good bit! Shortened!  (About 500 years of time have lapsed.)

Maybe that's just the way God wanted it in Psalm 134.

BUT MAYBE (as still happens today) some Priest decided to "shorten" it for the sake of convenience or speed (time is important, they say) or sheer laziness!

I personally believe people (preachers included) are still "shortening" God's Word to their convenience!

By the way, I'd be careful doing that if I were you! 


Revelation 22:18-19 says it all.  "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:  And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book."

I believe I'll take my Scripture if full form, please!  No condensations!  No paraphrases!  Give it to me just like God wrote it!

God's unchanged "blessings" in Numbers 6 cannot be superceded by anything of human making!  I'll guarantee you that!

I must close this Tuesday.  I realize you only have so much time to study with me on this "Home" Page.

Goodbye for now.

And, oh yes!

The Lord bless thee .... 

(Those 3 "dots" followed by a period are called an "ellipsis."  They indicate that many other words belong in the text, but space does not allow for them at present!)  When I just said "The Lord bless thee ...", I meant it ALL!)

I'm so thankful you have visited us today ... with a Bible in your hand!

                                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell





They are called the "Psalms of Degrees."

The word "degrees" implies growth or some sort of progress (in the spiritual life).

There are 15 of them, beginning with Psalm 120 and ending with Psalm 134.

What a difference between the first one and the last one!

In Psalm 120 the Christian says, "Woe is me!"  (Psalm 120:5)

In Psalm 134 he says, "Bless the Lord!"  (Psalm 134:2)

In Psalm 120 there is war!

In Psalm 134 there is peace!

In Psalm 120 the Christian is in the desert, far away from the things of God!

But by Psalm 134 he is at the very House of God in Jerusalem!

Psalm 120 is a prayer!

Psalm 134 is pure praise!

But ... Psalm 134 not only looks backwards!  It looks forward too!  In fact, the first words of Psalm 134 are also basically the first words of Psalm 135!  Watch:

"Behold, bless ye the LORD, all ye servants of the LORD, which by night stand in the house of the LORD."   Psalm 134:1

"Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the name of the LORD; praise him, O ye servants of the LORD. Ye that stand in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God."   Psalm 135:1-2

Truly even more can be said!  Psalm 134 seems to introduce the REST of the Psalms.  (Psalms 135-150!)  They all are "calls to worship" our great God in heaven! (And the tone has been set by our little "pioneer" Psalm, number 134!)

Here are a few other facts about Psalm 134 in closing this series today.  Again, here is the whole Psalm:

 "Behold, bless ye the LORD, all ye servants of the LORD, which by night stand in the house of the LORD.  Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD. The LORD that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion." 

These "Priests" STAND in the House of God all night.  No mention of them sitting there!  Why?  Their work practically and spiritually was never done!  Always sin remained to be "covered" by the blood of innocent little animals!  BUT the first thing Jesus did when He (as our Great High PRIEST) went back to heaven was SIT DOWN at the Father's right Hand!  (Psalm 110:1)  Why?  Because HE had finished the work of forgiveness once for all!

In Philippians 4:4 Paul twice tells the people to "rejoice!"  "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice."  And in Psalm 134 the Priests are told to "bless" the Lord twice!  If you count all the "blessing" in the Psalm (a very short Psalm) there are 3 of them!

These Christians who have traveled to Jerusalem to worship God (pilgrims and strangers on a journey) could have done other things once they arrived.  They could have toured the historical sites.  (There were many.)  Or gone shopping!  Or conducted business!  Or just rested!  BUT they went to the House of God!  SO SHOULD WE!  This Psalm teaches worship!

Lift up your hands ... and your heart just might soon follow!  Sometimes let your (sanctified) will dictate to your (carnal) emotions!  For example, Psalm 56:3 says: "What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee."  (Fear involves the emotions ... trust involves the will!)

And as with every area of the Christian life ... the journey from Psalm 120 to Psalm 134 gets sweeter and sweeter with each passing chapter!  (The longer you serve Him ... the sweeter He will grow!)  In John 2 at Jesus' first miracle it was said that the BEST wine was saved 'til the last!  That's just a fact about the Christian walk!  (If you don't think so today ... just remember where we Believers are all headed! Heaven! To be with the Lord for evermore! That IS the BEST!)

Here in Psalm 134 you see the Priests (the "preachers") doing some things.  They are directing the worship.  They are in charge of the music.  They are leading the congregation in praise too!  And elsewhere they do the preaching and teaching of God's Word!  Rather "involved" aren't they?  That's so different than today when preachers delegate everything to all kinds of people ... too often unqualified folks who are just being "used."  (You know ... the "use them or lose them" philosophy! BUT God says let them wait ... clean vessels are better than many vessels!)

Now, lastly, the worshippers have to leave the Holy City and the House of God and return to their homes.  They go slowly!  (Don't be in too big a "hurry" leaving Church!)  They go reluctantly.  Leaving, they look back at the Priests and encourage them.  (Lot's wife looked back and was punished!  These folks looked back and were rewarded!  It just depends on obeying the Lord!  It depends on what you're beholding!)

And so we reach the end of our journey too.

Lord willing, tomorrow we shall study some other precious portion of God's Word!  Be sure and come back ... with an open Bible in your hand!  There is just nothing like the Word of God!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



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