|Vol. 18, No. 3, May – June 1989||EDITOR: Mr. Harry Foster|
ON THE WAY UP (15)
Psalm 134 LIFTING UP
WE have reached the last of the Songs of Ascents. It seems that the pilgrim has arrived at the summit and there he has discovered two important truths.
THE first is that pilgrims are sustained and prospered on their upward journey by faithful intercessors. The Creator God sends them blessing out of Zion in answer to the intercessory prayers in His house there.
WHILE others are asleep these saints labour on in their ministry of praise and prayer, lifting up their hands in the sanctuary. The pilgrim himself has to break his journey for necessary rest, and in any case he cannot normally journey through the night. But while he sleeps there are those who stand by night in the house of the Lord, ministering to our eternal God who neither slumbers nor sleeps, the very same God whom the pilgrim sang of when he first set out on his journey (Psalm 121).
I do not know how the ministry of praise brings aid and succour to the pilgrims; I only know that it does. I sometimes think that if wild riotous music is so offensive to many of us that we seek to escape from it, then the praises of our God must be correspondingly offensive to evil spirits and cause them to sheer away. Worship and praise somehow become potent weapons in the spiritual conflict.
IN Jehoshaphat’s day, the advance guard of singers brought victory to the whole host of God’s people (2 Chronicles 20:22). In the New Testament we read that when at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns unto God, a liberating earthquake was precipitated in Philippi. It may well be, then, that in our fiercely contested movement upwards, help comes to us by reason of the worshipping ministry of saints hidden from us but near to the Lord.
AND what shall we say of hands lifted up in prayer? There can be no doubt that our progress is prospered by the faithful intercessory ministry of praying friends. We know very little of this work behind the scenes while we are still on our journey but when we complete our course we will doubtless discover how very much we owe to the prayers of others.
DURING our nights as well as our days, they have held up holy hands of loving intercession. While we have stumbled or perhaps given way to spiritual slumber, they have held us up before God in prayer and kept us from falling out by the way.
THE other truth which the pilgrim now sees so clearly is that a supreme feature of our destiny is worship. The end of our long pilgrimage is to be among heavenly worshippers. The Father is seeking redeemed worshippers. Our calling is to swell the numbers of those who maintain holy and happy worship before His throne.
WE may rightly conclude that it will be easy in heaven. Indeed there is no night there. The test is applied to us now. In the dark nights it is easy to let our hands hang down and our lips keep silence. The true pilgrim, however, is the one who worships God even in his darkest moments. We are reaching the heights of spiritual attainment when by God’s grace we are able to do that. So let us stand. And let us maintain the high praises of God. The night will soon pass and we will find ourselves in the glory of the eternal Day.