Song of Ascents
It was just before sun-up on the morning of the Great Feast. Intentionally the traveling men and their sons had camped outside the City after days of adventure, songs, stories and reunion on the pilgrimmage.
Young Caleb rubbed his eyes and stretched out stiff muscles after the sleep on the grass. He took a long swig from the water skin and squatted down at his lofty and full view of the City and the ascending arteries to the Temple. It seemed to shimmer in the dawning as if over-eager for sunlight to reveal its brilliance and magnificent design.
Caleb thought of the dusty march and the robust fellowship and anticipation of the men. Laughter. Humming. Rhythmic hand clapping. Names called out in joyful recognition. The pace relentless, but quickened by the good thoughts of what lay ahead.
This morning a solid band of cloud blocked the horizon's distinct line, but brought on, a few moments later, a more surreal rising above the vapour. Caleb could now see many groups of men stirring on other hillsides. This would be his third visit, and to a different feast. The psalms being recited spoke of the troubles and needs of men, the blessings of family, their sense of separation in a pre-occupied world, the all-sufficient power of God, His promise of Messiah and the heart-moving glory of His House.
Not another morning for camp-fires and protracted meals. A few bits of fruit and bread, another swig of water, a pause for the face-anointing of oil, and the march would renew. Oh, the importance of giving their God a worthy house of recognition, learning, petition and praise. Caleb was also recognizing a sense of Spiritual Presence in the camp-site, in the larger scene of the other surrounding hills, in the quickening of his own eager heart. Another entire glorious day for God and His people. In Jerusalem.
Psalm 132 (One of the Songs of Degrees)
1Lord, remember David, and all his afflictions:
2How he sware unto the LORD, and vowed unto the mighty God of Jacob;
3Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed;
4I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids,
5Until I find out a place for the LORD, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob.
6Lo, we heard of it at Ephratah: we found it in the fields of the wood.
7We will go into his tabernacles: we will worship at his footstool.
8Arise, O LORD, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength.
9Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy.
10For thy servant David's sake turn not away the face of thine anointed.
11The 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.
12If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore.
13For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation.
14This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.
15I will abundantly bless her provision: I will satisfy her poor with bread.
16I will also clothe her priests with salvation: and her saints shall shout aloud for joy.
17There will I make the horn of David to bud: I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed.
18His enemies will I clothe with shame: but upon himself shall his crown flourish.