Psalm 128

This is another Psalm of Ascension that wasn’t composed specifically for pilgrimage. Rather, it is didactic in nature and presents the pilgrim’s goal of Jerusalem as the capstone of blessings. God’s favor on Jerusalem was the foundation of national welfare, and people of faith were the king’s true treasure.

There is no distinction in Hebrew; the same word is translated “blessed” and “happy.” God’s favor is the ultimate reward. Everything implied by that image becomes a reward in itself, not least of which is communion with Creation itself, and a life consistent with God’s revelation. This is how we claim the fullness of whatever it is God offers to humans. Thus, reverence for God is just words unless we walk in His ways.

In the Ancient Near East, eating your own harvest is contrasted with crop failures and theft from raiders and invaders. In short, everything will go well for you. The image of the wife as a fruitful grape vine is an ancient symbol for a whole lot more.

Consider that her life is rooted at home, not wandering. She’s fruitful and it all contributes to the family’s welfare. His children grow up like olive trees already at the table, supplying a generous diet and the means to light the house. Both are symbols of God’s Spirit resting on the household, which is more to the point. This is what a reverent and faithful servant of God can expect; it’s what God has promised.

In the best of times, the City is busy and wealthy. In the worst of times, Jerusalem is the one place that must be defended. But the symbolism is that God must be the center of every believer’s universe. If you don’t make Him first in your life, don’t bother with the rituals of pilgrimage. With genuine faith in God, there will be a Zion and a Temple to visit every year, and you will lead your children and your grandchildren there to worship.

This is the shalom of God.

About Ed Hurst

Disabled Veteran, prophet of God's Laws, Bible History teacher, wannabe writer, volunteer computer technician, cyclist, Social Science researcher
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One Response to Psalm 128

  1. Pingback: Kiln blog: Psalm 128 | Do What's Right

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