Psalm 134 (NIV)
1 Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord
who minister by night in the house of the Lord.
2 Lift up your hands in the sanctuary
and praise the Lord.
3 May the Lord bless you from Zion,
he who is the Maker of heaven and earth.
The final Psalm of Ascents, like Psalm 133, takes place right in the sanctuary of the Temple, a fitting Psalm for this first Sunday after Pentecost. The journey has ended, the destination reached, and the end is joyful worship. Five times in the 3 short verses of this psalm, the name of the LORD (Yahweh) is mentioned – the personal name of the covenant God. This is the place of the covenant people, and this is the dwelling place of their covenant God. All the servants of the LORD praise him and lift up their hands in worship. They minister by night in His house of worship. There is great celebration of praise and joy in the presence of God.
This is what we were made for – God’s presence with us, and us with him. And this is what is finally and fully realized in the incarnation of Jesus Christ – God with us, and us with him. He is the sanctuary; He is the priest; He is the sacrifice; He is “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation . . . and he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” (Colossians 1:15, 18-20). And so, this great collection of psalms ends with a blessing that points to that comprehensive reality: “May the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth, bless you from Zion” (vs. 3).
In reflecting on these final two Psalms of Ascents, it is significant that the last two messages are the unity of the congregation, and worship unto the LORD. Unity and worship are two of the marks of the people of God. When the Holy Spirit comes we, too, should be marked by unity and worship. These psalms joyfully stand as a witness to both, anticipating the ultimate fulfillment and embodiment in the church of Jesus Christ.