Dear brothers in faith and ministry, fellow pilgrims,
The songs of “goings up” are the largest grouping of psalms, found in Book V, psalms 120-134.
“Goings up” has a great ring to it. It reminds pilgrims, whose lives are hidden in Christ, where they are headed—to the heavenly Jerusalem.
And what will we find when we arrive there? We will find the blessings of the Lord. We will find the Lord himself, and he will look on us with favor and turn his face toward us. Old Testament believers heard the Lord’s blessing from earthly priests who were picture-promises of our Great High Priest. New Testament believers hear the words of God’s blessing from faithful shepherds (pastors) who preach and proclaim the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Remembering that we are pilgrims on the way to Jerusalem, listen to Psalm 128 here. Then let’s ponder its beauty.
It is interesting that 12 out of the 15 psalms of ascents have at least one part of the Aaronic blessing (Numbers 6) in them. Psalm 128 also depends on the gracious blessing of the Lord. There are many positive words and images in Psalm 128. This psalm helps pilgrims making the climb towards Jerusalem to count their blessings along the way and to anticipate the blessings awaiting them.
• “Blessed are you”—Undeserving though we are, we are blessed to be the people of God. We have blessing upon blessing, and the best is yet to come.
• “You will eat the fruit of your labor”—This is an undoing of the consequences of the fall into sin (Genesis 3). God will do this perfectly for us in the new heavens and the new earth.
• “Your wife will be a fruitful vine; your sons will be like olive shoots”— in every age God blesses his family (believers who fear the Lord and walk in his ways) and the individuals and families that are a part of his family. They bear fruit that will last, to God’s glory.
• “May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem”—Believers in the church militant are being transported into the church triumphant, one by one. We know it now by faith. We will see it fully with our own eyes when Jesus returns.
• “Peace be upon Israel”—All who are in Christ Jesus have a peace that goes beyond all understanding. We pray for that peace now, and we yearn for the perfect peace to come.
As you ponder and sing this psalm, dear brother, rejoice in the blessings of the Lord. As you gather for worship and read end times readings, preach the good news that Jesus is the one who makes the blessings and promises of Psalm 128 sure and certain. We can sing Psalm 128 with “amen-confidence” because Jesus, who raised his hands in blessing as he ascended into heaven, is still interceding for us there. He has gone ahead of us, and we are following after him. Amen.