A Hymn of Love for the Church of God.
A song of degrees of David, expressing the sacred joy of the faithful in being able to participate in the services of the Temple and to feel the appeal of the capital city, this psalm being particularly appropriate for a festival journey. V. 1. I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. The psalmist expresses his joy over the invitation to join the festal train; he now remembers the happiness that filled his heart when he was asked to be one of those making up a caravan of pilgrims to Jerusalem. V. 2. Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem, or, “Our feet stood still in thy gates,” rooted to the spot for some minutes with astonishment at the glorious beauty of Jerusalem which was presented to their eyes. V. 3. Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together, built up without gaps and unsightly open spaces, one house next to the other, presenting a solid community, v. 4. whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, the faithful members of all Israel being required to journey to Jerusalem three times a year, for the great festivals, unto the testimony of Israel, that is, according to the rule and ordinance of God, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord, for that was the chief function of the congregation and all its members at the festival seasons. V. 5. For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David; for Jerusalem was not only the seat of the Sanctuary of Israel, but also the capital city of the nation, where the highest government officials resided, where, above all, the administration of justice was the original and chief duty of the monarch in times of peace. The psalmist, having thus painted a picture of Jerusalem, the capital, which also contained the Sanctuary of the nation, is constrained to send up a prayer for its continued well-being. V. 6. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, as a city of peace, welfare, prosperity, and happiness; they shall prosper that love thee, their welfare being involved in that of their capital city. V. 7. Peace be within thy walls, both externally and inwardly, and prosperity within thy palaces, the blessing of Jehovah resting upon all inhabitants. V. 8. For my brethren and companions’ sakes, with whom he includes himself by virtue of the communion of saints, the fellowship obtaining between all believers, I will now say, Peace be within thee, for the welfare and prosperity of the Church is that of all its members. V. 9. Because of the house of the Lord, our God, the Temple, or Tabernacle, as the center of Israel’s worship, the symbol of the true religion over against those without, I will seek thy good, for the welfare of the Jewish Church was largely dependent upon the safety and prosperity of the city of the Sanctuary. Even so the spiritual welfare and happiness of all believers is bound up with the fortunes of the Church, for which reason this special petition for peace is included in the General Prayer read in many of our churches every Sunday.