Psalm 132:11-14 God's Dwelling Place 9/15/2002
#1. The Lord Hath Sworn in Truth Unto David (Psalm 132:11, Heb 6:13-15, Gen 22:16)
#2. For the Lord Hath Chosen Zion (Psalm 132:13, Heb 12:22-24)
#3. I Will Abundantly Bless Her Provision (Psalm 132:15-16, Rev 22:1-3)
Please open your Bibles to Psalm 132 (2X). This is one of the "Songs of Ascents", which were the songs that the Hebrew pilgrims sang when they set out to travel to the Tabernacle at Shiloh, or to the Temple at Jerusalem, and they did that three times each year. Each following psalm indicates that they are getting closer to their destiny. Psalms #120 through #134 are those "Songs of Ascents".
In addition, Psalm 132 is one of those passages, which customarily has been used on Christmas Day. That is because it contains a petition that God would remember the zeal of His servant David to prepare a place for the Ark of the Covenant, so that God would dwell with us. The title of our sermon today is: "God's Dwelling Place" (2X). We read in verse 1,
Psalm 132:1 A Song of degrees, or a song of ascents. LORD, remember David, and all his afflictions:
Why would we want God to remember the afflictions of David? A: David was subject to humiliations and afflictions before he could ascend to the throne. But more so, we plead that God will remember the far greater humiliations and afflictions that the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of David, had to endure on our behalf before He could ascend to the throne of His glory. We read in verse 2,
Psalm 132:2 How he sware unto the LORD, and vowed unto the mighty One of Jacob;
Psalm 132:3 Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed;
Psalm 132:4 I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids,
Psalm 132:5 Until I find out a place for the LORD, an habitation for the mighty One of Jacob.
Perhaps you remember that God, through the prophet Gad, told David to set up an altar on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. And David purchased that threshing floor, and the field around it, and it became the location of the Temple at Jerusalem. This was a true historical account, but it was also a spiritual picture of God's desire to dwell in the midst of His people. We read in verse 6,
Psalm 132:6 Lo, we heard of it at Ephratah: we found it in the fields of the wood.
Psalm 132:7 We will go into his tabernacles: we will worship at his footstool.
What did they find in the fields of the wood? They found Bethlehem Ephratah, which was the city of David, where also the Lord Jesus was born. It was in Bethlehem where officially the Lord Jesus took on a human body, which is also called the temple of His body. There the shepherds found the true tabernacle, not made with hands, the habitation for the mighty One of Jacob. Now turn to verse 8
Psalm 132:8 Arise, O LORD, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength.
Psalm 132:9 Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy.
Psalm 132:10 For thy servant David's sake turn not away the face of thine anointed.
Here we pray that the Lord's presence may rest in the house prepared for Him. Now we are talking about the church. We pray that this church may also be a habitation for the mighty One of Jacob. We pray that His priests may be clothed with the robe of Christ's righteousness, and that the saints will shout for joy. We pray that we may remain faithful to the end, and that God, for Christ's sake, will not turn away His face from us, because that would be terrible for our children. God's answer to our prayers comes in v.11
#1. The Lord Hath Sworn in Truth Unto David (Psalm 132:11, Heb 6:13-15, Gen 22:16)
Psalm 132:11 ¶ The LORD hath sworn in truth unto David; He will not turn from it; "Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne".
Now God is answering David concerning his desire to build a temple for the Lord. At the same time, we see that this was a prophecy of Messiah. We are sure that this was a prophecy of Messiah, because Peter quoted from this Psalm in his sermon on the day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2. This promise was in truth and substance fulfilled in Christ, who is presently sitting on the throne of David, not in Jerusalem on earth, but in Jerusalem that is above. Christ now reigns supreme in heaven and on earth. The throne of David on this earth was only a shadow of the future Kingdom of Christ, and Christ's body is also called the Temple of God.
But why did God have to swear? God swears for our benefit. God swears to give us promises, like God gave promises to Abraham. Put a sticker here in Psalm 132 and put another sticker in the Epistle to the Hebrews. We will be going back and forth between Psalm 132 and Hebrews. Please turn to Hebrews chapter 6, verse 13 (2X). Here, in Hebrews chapter 6, God made a promise to Abraham. We must learn how to apply these promises to ourselves. We are called to be followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Here in Heb 6:13 we read:
Hebrews 6:13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, (This refers to Gen 22:16)
Hebrews 6:14 Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.
Hebrews 6:15 And so, after he (Abraham) had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
God swore to Abraham that God would keep His promise. But God did not need to swear. God made many promises to Himself before the foundation of the world, and God is bound and determined to keep those promises. We speak here of God's decree, or God's covenant, which is His plan to save a people for Himself. God made a decision, before the foundation of the world, to choose a Bride for His Son, the Second Person of the Triune Godhead. For this purpose God created this world, just for that purpose. When the last one of the Bride for His Son has come in, God will destroy this world. But God wrote the names of those who were going to be the Bride of Christ in a document, which is His Last Will and Testament, which is also called "the Covenant". Throughout the first three quarters of the world's history God saved people without using any organized structure of a church. But in the course of history, there came a time that God established a corporate structure of the Kingdom of God on this earth. The OT church started with God's promises to Abraham, that God would send Messiah, similar to the promises God made to Adam & Eve, and to Noah. God's people were born as wicked sinners and God would send Messiah to take away the sins of His people. But the promise to Abraham was different from that given to Adam and to Noah, in that God said: "In thy Seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed". God was referring to Christ who would come forth from the line of Abraham, and Christ would take away the sins of His people. God swore to Abraham that God would do this, not because Abraham was such a good guy, but because God had saved Abraham, by grace, 40 years earlier, when he was still an uncircumcised Gentile.
Let us turn back to Psalm 132, and continue with the Lord's answer to our prayers, in verse 12,
Psalm 132:12, IF thy children will keep My covenant and My testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon Thy throne for evermore.
What is this? Are God's covenant promises conditional? Is God's grace conditional? Why does this verse begin with a big IF? Is this verse speaking about David's descendants in a purely historical fashion? No! It must fit the context! This is the Word of God for us, not just for David's descendants. God says that He shall teach them. What is the result if God will teach us? Is God ever unsuccessful? No! If God teaches them then they will keep His commandments, and they will remain in His covenant. On our own we cannot keep God's commandments. Only if we are in Christ, then do we keep the commandments perfectly, because Christ kept the Law perfectly in our place. The result is that the children of the covenant "shall also sit on the throne of David for evermore". Is that what we are taught in the NT? Indeed it is. God teaches us in Eph 2 that we are seated with Christ in the heavenlies, right now. Please turn to Hebrews chapter 8, beginning at verse 8 (2X).
Hebrews 8:8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
Hebrews 8:9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.
Hebrews 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
Hebrews 8:11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
Hebrews 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
"Their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more". What does this refer to? We recognize this as the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross for the sins of those who are His elect, because that is the only way sins can be forgiven. This passage also defines the covenant of grace that God has made with those whom God has chosen to be the Bride of Christ, and therefore they are the children of the covenant. There are nine I 's in this passage of Hebrews. As you can see, God is taking all the initiative and God is taking credit for all the action. We do not take any credit for our obedience, "for it is God which worketh in us, both to will and to do according to His good pleasure". Why did God have to take this action? Why could God not let us take the responsibility of being obedient to Him? Well, if God had done that, then not one human being would have become saved. We all were born in rebellion against God. The Bible says, "There is none seeketh after God".
Let us turn back to Psalm 132, and continue with the Lord's answer to our prayers, in verse 13,
#2. For the Lord Hath Chosen Zion (Psalm 132:13, Heb 12:22-24)
Psalm 132:13, For the LORD hath chosen Zion; He hath desired it for His habitation.
This verse starts with "For", or "because". Does this word "For", or "because", indicate that we are still on the right track? Yes it does! Verse 13 speaks of the people whom God has chosen, and therefore verse 12 is not a condition for salvation. Verse 12 is a statement of fact. And that is true, "because the Lord hath chosen Zion". Could Zion refer to a certain location on this earth? Historically, Zion was the fortress of David in Jerusalem, wherein David brought the Ark of the Covenant. Solomon built the Temple on the hill next to it, which is called Mount Moriah, and moved the Ark of the Covenant into the Temple. That is why gradually the entire city of Jerusalem was called Zion.
But let God define Zion, and so we will better understand what God meant in Psalm 132:13. Please turn again to the Epistle to the Hebrews, chapter 12:22 (2X). We must keep in mind that the latest revelation carries the greater weight. Therefore the definition of Zion in Heb 12 is more accurate than what we would derive from the OT. Let us read Heb 12:22-24,
Hebrews 12:22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
Hebrews 12:23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
Hebrews 12:24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
Mount Sion (this is the Greek spelling) is here identified with the city of the living God, which is the heavenly Jerusalem, and it is also identified with the Eternal Church, which is the body of believers whose names are written in heaven, which are identified as the spirits of just men made perfect by the blood of Christ. This Sion is the permanent dwelling place of God. Therefore, Sion or Zion must be defined as the place where God resides. Sion can be on earth, in the souls of those who have been "Born Again", or Sion can refer to the souls of those who have gone to heaven, or Sion can refer to God's dwelling place in heaven, whatever that is. But primarily, Sion refers to God's resting place in the souls of the people God has elected unto salvation. Based on what we read here in Heb 12, could Sion refer to some geographic location here on this earth? Absolutely not!
Now, let us turn back to Psalm 132:13 to see what that means. Psalm 132:13, "For the LORD hath chosen Zion; He hath desired it for His habitation". The Lord has chosen His Elect from all tribes and tongues and nations of the world and gave them the name Zion. It is His desire to dwell with us and in us, which means the Lord has desired our souls as His dwelling place forever. That is a stupendous honor that God has bestowed upon us. Do we really appreciate that? Do we appreciate that God says
Psalm 132:14 This is my rest for ever (2X): here will I dwell; for I have desired it.
What dwelling place is God referring to here? God is not referring here to Solomon's Temple, because that building ceased to exist in 587 BC. God is not referring to Herod's Temple that Jesus visited, because that was destroyed in AD 70. God is referring to the body of believers, which He also calls "the Temple of God". It is incomprehensible that God desires to dwell with us, yet how little (2X) do we desire to dwell with Him? Many people desire to come close to God only on Sunday mornings. Yes, they want to be close to God, but not too close. Then they feel uncomfortable. Well, we leave it up to God to deal with them.
What is the great promise here in verse 14? God promises that He will be our God forever. This was not promised to OT Israel. They forsook the Mighty One of Jacob, and He destroyed Jerusalem by the Babylonians. They crucified the Holy One of Israel, and He moved His dwelling place into the possession of the Gentiles and destroyed Jerusalem for the second time. We should pray that Christ will not abandon His NT temple. We should pray that Christ will never leave us, nor forsake us. Please turn again to the Epistle to the Hebrews, chapter 13 (2X). We read in Heb 13:5-6,
Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation (conduct) be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Hebrews 13:6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
God has said: "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee". What implications can we draw from this? It means that Almighty God is with us and in us. He will not forsake His people. Who are His people? Obviously the majority of the nation of Israel are not His people, because they want nothing to do with the Lord Jesus Christ. Presently they worship another god than we do. And in the future they continue to be blinded "until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in", which means they will continue to be blinded until the end of time. What more assurance do we need than the promise that Almighty God is with us and in us? He will not turn from this promise, because our God is immutable.
It is an integral part of God's Covenant of grace that our God does not change His mind. Before the foundation of the world the Father chose to save a particular group of people. About 2000 years ago the Lord Jesus Christ came into the world to save this particular group of people, by paying for their sins on the cross. And today we see that God the Holy Spirit is at work to bring this message of salvation to those whom the Father chose and those for whom the Lord Jesus suffered and died, and we see that God the Holy Spirit is still at work to distribute believing souls to those who are God's Elect. When God the Holy Spirit has given us a new soul, and God has made His dwelling place in our soul, is there any possibility that we can lose that soul again and we fall away? No! That is not possible! If God has done such a mighty miracle in our soul, then God will see to it that no one can undo what God has done. God is never unsuccessful. He is the anchor of our soul.
Of course, the only practical question remaining is this: How can I be sure that I belong to those whom the Father has chosen? How can I be sure that I belong to those for whom the Lord Jesus suffered and died? Well, has God the Holy Spirit make me hear the Gospel of God's saving grace, and has God the Holy Spirit given me a believing soul? Has God the Holy Spirit given me a repentant heart, and has God the Holy Spirit given me a desire to live a life that is altogether pleasing to God? Has God the Holy Spirit given me a hunger for hearing the voice of the Bridegroom, and has God the Holy Spirit given me a passion for reaching the unsaved in this world with this Gospel of Free Grace? If the answer is YES to all these six questions, then REJOICE that your name is written in heaven.
Now, there are many people who have not heard this Covenant of grace, and that is why they attach a great deal of hocus pocus to the ceremony of Baptism. Today I baptized a little baby, named Chandler Keren, the daughter of Gregg and AnnDena. Many Baptists are up in arms that I dare to baptize a baby, who has not publicly made a profession of faith. But baptism is only a sign of the Covenant. It is not a seal. Just like circumcision was only a sign of the Covenant, and not a seal. I do not know if little Chandler is one of the Elect, but I do know that she will be raised in a Gospel home. Let me give you another example: When we have the Lord's Supper, I do not know if all the members who partake belong to God's Elect, but I do know that they have all been under the hearing of the Covenant of grace. Our job is to make people hear the Gospel of Free Grace. We leave it up to God to save from among those who heard.
Let us turn back now to Psalm 132. In verse 14 God said: "This is My rest forever". Is that not pointing to the rest we will have in the life hereafter? In Psalm 132 we read in verses 15-16,
#3. I Will Abundantly Bless Her Provision (Psalm 132:15-16, Rev 22:1-3)
Psalm 132:15 I will abundantly bless her provision: I will satisfy her poor with bread.
Psalm 132:16 I will also clothe her priests with salvation: and her saints shall shout aloud for joy.
When God says: "I will abundantly bless her provision", literally God is talking about food. Does God mean what He says? Absolutely! Do we have to take God's Word literally? Absolutely! Does God promise here that He will always (2X) have food in abundance for all His Elect? No! Here on earth there are many saints who die and who have died of starvation. Here, in verses 15 and 16 God is still talking about Zion, but now He is talking about Zion in the life hereafter.
You can let go now of Hebrews, and please turn to Revelation, chapter 22 (2X).
This is easy to find. This is the last chapter in your Bible. We read here in Rev 22:1,
Revelation 22:1 ¶ And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
The Lamb. God is not going to let us forget that Christ was the Lamb of God, who endured the agony of the cross to redeem us. Here we also see the abundant provision, mentioned in Psalm 132, and it is symbolically displayed in two ways: There is the "pure river of water of life", which is the revelation of God Himself, just like here on earth the water of the Gospel is called "living water". Did you notice that the living water is obtained no longer out of the Word of God, but out of the throne of God and out of the Lamb? Christ is God. And then there is the Tree of Life in verse 2,
Revelation 22:2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
Here is food in abundance. Who is supplying all that food? The Tree of Life, which is representing Christ, is supplying all the spiritual food and all the spiritual drink. This tree is everywhere, meaning that Christ is omnipresent. His servants shall be clothed with salvation and shall serve Him with joy.
Revelation 22:3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb (2X) shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:
God is not going to let us forget that Christ was the Lamb of God who endured the cross in our place. Please turn once more to Psalm 132, and there we read in verses 17-18,
Psalm 132:17 There will I make the horn of David to bud: I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed.
Psalm 132:18 His enemies will I clothe with shame: but upon himself shall his crown flourish.
What does it mean to "make the horn of David to bud"? A horn indicates strength. God speaks of "the Horn of His people", or "the Horn of the house of Israel", or "the Horn of salvation", which are all expressions representing the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Horn of David, He is the strength of David. God has ordained a light for His Anointed. And what a great light this is! Spiritually there is no greater light to give His people insight in the Word of God, and physically there is no greater light than God Himself. When John saw Him, he said that Christ's face was shining like the sun. But the Bible says that we are His crown, and therefore we shall see His face. Turn now again to Rev 22:4-5,
Revelation 22:4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be on (2X) their foreheads.
Revelation 22:5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.
We shall see His face, and His name shall be on us, because He owns us as His Dwelling Place.
Let us pray that little Chandler will also be one whom God has chosen to be His Dwelling Place.
Amen. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.
The Gospel is not kept secret. The Bible is the best-known Book throughout the world. But when people are confronted with the Gospel of Free Grace they react in unbelief.
Only those whose hearts God has changed will believe it. Only those will turn in faith to Christ and will not get tired to hear off the wonderful things God has done for us, and is still going to do for us in the New Heaven and the New Earth.
God has made us His Dwelling Place now, and in the life hereafter we shall be eternally His Dwelling Place. Praise God for such an indescribable gift.