Theme: Desiring God’s Honor
In this week’s lessons, we see what God will do for those who, as pilgrims in this life, look to him in faith and obedience.
Scripture: Psalm 132:1-18
In yesterday’s study I wrote that the psalm focuses on David and his desire to bring the Ark to Jerusalem. We see that from the beginning, for the psalm starts: “O LORD, remember David and all the hardships he endured” (v. 1). The next verses tell of David’s vow and its result. Then verse 10 brings David in again in a prayer: “For the sake of David your servant, do not reject your anointed one.” The second half tells how “the LORD swore an oath to David” (v. 11), and the psalm ends with the promise: “Here I will make a horn grow for David and set up a lamp for my anointed one” (v. 17).
Was David wise in making this vow? Generally speaking, it is not wise to make vows, because we vow unwisely and we are usually unable to perform what we have promised. David may not have been wise in his vow. True, we do not need to take his words literally. When he said,
“I will not enter my house or go to my bed—I will allow no sleep to my eyes, no slumber to my eyelids, till I find a place for the LORD, a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob,”1 the words were only a figure of speech, meaning “I will not rest until….” Still, David vowed more than he could fulfill. He was promising to build “a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob,” that is, a temple to house the Ark. But it was not David who built the temple. It was built by Solomon, his son, though David collected the costly materials for its construction.
Nothing is said about David taking an oath in the historical accounts of the event in 2 Samuel 6 and 1 Chronicles 13-16. This is the only place in the Old Testament where his “oath” is mentioned. But David is not remembered here for his excessive zeal. He is remembered for his good intentions. He was motivated by a desire for God’s honor. Are you and I equally intent on doing honor to God’s house? Charles Spurgeon wrote ironically, “Alas, we have many around us who will never carry their care for the Lord’s worship too far! No fear of their being indiscrete! They are housed and bedded, and as for the Lord, his people may meet in a barn, or never meet at all, it will be all the same to them…. [David] could not enjoy sleep till he had done his best to provide a place for the ark.”2
We may not want to make vows of our dedication to God’s honor and God’s work, but we should be intent on seeing that the work of God is done and done well, and we should repent of this if we are not. In our day the majority of believers do not even give a tenth of their income for God’s work, let alone give abundantly and sacrificially to see that work go forward.
1The title “Mighty One of Jacob” occurs first in Genesis 49:24 in the mouth of dying Jacob himself. Besides that, it occurs only three other times, all in Isaiah: 1:24 (“Mighty one of Israel”), 49:26 and 60:16.
2Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, vol. 3b, Psalms 120-150 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1968), p. 145.
What was David’s vow? What did it indicate about him?
Why isn’t it always wise to make vows?
Reflection: What is your contribution and level of enthusiasm in doing work for God’s house?
Observation: Remember that Scripture can employ figures of speech. We are not to think that David literally did not sleep.
Prayer: Pray that your work and giving is done abundantly and sacrificially.
Key Point: …we should be intent on seeing that the work of God is done and done well, and we should repent of this if we are not.