Psalm 122:5

This subject need not be treated controversially. All are agreed that a vital union of the civil and religious, of Church and State, is desirable, and even necessary. There may be differences of opinion as to the formal ways in which such union may be represented. If we look for its realization in the ancient Jewish nation, we must bear in mind that it was based on the theocratic notion. The unseen Jehovah was as truly the Head of the State as he was Head of the Church. Modern difficulty arises from the apparent necessity for making an ordinary human being at once the head of both State and Church. What was possible when men could look past all delegated authorities to one unseen, spiritual, and supreme Being, in whom absolute authority rested, may not be possible under modern conditions. We must fully recover the theocratic sentiment before we can safely blend the civil and religious. Jerusalem was first the civil metropolis before it became the "city of God." It became the religious capital of the nation because it was already the civil capital (Deuteronomy 17:8, 9). Israel, as the people of the revelation, was at once a civil society and a Church - the two were not then essentially distinct, as has been and is the case in Christendom.

I. THE CIVIL AND RELIGIOUS ARE THE TWO SIDES OF MAN'S RELATIONS. There is no conceivable antagonism between them ideally, whatever there may be actually. Man is a being who is set in relations with God and with his fellow-man. And one set of relations is as right and as necessary as the other. A man's relations with God are the concern of religion. A man's relations with his fellow-man are the business of civil governments. No man can meet his natural obligations by exaggerating the importance of either one of those relations and neglecting the other. No man can be truly religious and neglect his civil duties. And this the apostles clearly taught the early Christians.

II. THE CIVIL AND THE RELIGIOUS CAN BE HARMONIOUSLY BLENDED. They always have been in the most manly and most Christian man. They have been in the representative nation of Israel. They have been in the healthiest and best periods of modern nations. They can be when the sense of God dominates both. - R.T.

For there are set thrones of judgment.
The words of our text are the very last we should expect to find in a psalm of praise and adoration. What had thrones of judgment, the place where disputes were settled, and deeds justified or condemned, to do with pilgrims who hungered for the living God? But a little reflection leads us to see that it was a true spiritual instinct that connects the sanctuary with the judgment-seat and worship with the criticism of life. Maybe there was a geographical proximity between the temple and the civil court, but we would fain believe that it was a much deeper connection, a spiritual association, that dictated the words of our text. For, as a matter of fact, we cannot prostrate ourselves before God without seeing all the facts of life in their true light and estimate all our thoughts and deeds at their true value, for "there are set thrones of judgment."

1. True worship leads to just valuation and correct thinking. In the hurry of life God becomes a shadow, and in the controversies of thought He becomes a symbol; but when we bow our heads with adoration and awe, we place ourselves in an attitude to see the King in His beauty; and all the time we are engaged in worship, God is quietly reasserting His supremacy over our lives. In industry and commerce we are daily tempted to consider our fellow-men as means towards an end, bound to us by the cold relationship of a cash nexus or a business transaction. As we move in the social life around us we are tempted to group our fellows according to caste and class, to clique and circle, but when we escape to the sanctuary and turn to the great sacrifice of Christ for forgiveness, we see our fellow-man as he is, a fellow-sinner for whom Jesus died, a brother saint, heir of God and joint-heir of Jesus Christ. The sanctuary corrects the estimates of the world, and the thrones of judgment modify the rules and maxims of men. Outside the sanctuary property assumes vast dimensions, inside it dwindles into an incident of life. Outside sin is an inevitable trifle, inside it is the one tragedy of the world, crucifying Christ and wounding God. Outside, eternity is a guess and a chance, a dream and a shadow, but inside it is the great reality, the place of adjustment, reunion, and satisfaction. As men in a mist see every object disfigured and exaggerated, so in the atmosphere of worldliness we see everything out of its true shape and perspective, but in the sanctuary there are thrones of judgment. In worship we unconsciously escape from the dominion of maxims and thoughts that are merely worldly and material.

2. The reasons for this beneficent effect are not far to seek.(1) Worship brings a man to the right standpoint. Vision is so often a matter of position. To learn how to see is to learn where to stand. The attitude of worship is a vantage ground which commands spiritual prospects and unseen landscapes, the land that is very far off, the world in its need, and the King in His beauty.(2) Worship removes the disturbing element. Inaccurate judgments are due to passion and prejudice, to interest and greed, and all these are forms and modifications of selfishness. It is self that spoils the vision and upsets the balances. But worship is the surrender of the self, the renunciation of the great obstacle and the solemn repetition of our Saviour's words — "Not My will but Thine be done." Self is displaced and God is enthroned, and as the result the worshipper thinks as his Lord thinks, and his judgment is just and his valuation accurate.(3) Worship quickens all the faculties of a man's life. We often see amiss because we do not see with the whole soul. Our judgments are wrong because they are partially made. It takes a man in the full totality of his gifts to see God and to understand God's world. But there are many influences which rob us of this full-orbed activity. First of all there is sin. The man that has sinned away his purity has not only spoiled his character, he has mutilated his soul and robbed himself of the power of seeing God; and it is the same with the man who has become material, cynical, pessimistic, or self-sufficient. Then there is specialism. The age is more and more an age of specialization. Men are simply compelled to throw their whole energy into certain lines and to neglect certain parts of their nature altogether. You all remember the lament of Charles Darwin that he had lost the taste which once he had for music and poetry, and had become a mere machine for observing facts and grinding laws out of them. It is an undisputed fact that many men are in a parallel condition to-day, and to be in this state is to look at God and the world with half an eye and half a soul. The corrective for all this is worship, for reverence is the highest activity of the soul. Like the fly-wheel in a factory, it calls into movement all the multitudinous wheels of man's complex personality. Worship steadies the reason, chastens the emotions, vivifies the imagination, braces the will, spurs the spirit of inquiry, and gives unto man the full and free possession of all his faculties vitalized and alert.(4) Worship gives to the soul that hospitality which saves it from being deluded by dogmatism and self-sufficiency. There is more light to break forth from God's world and God's Word, and our hardest task is to keep our eyes open and our hearts hospitable towards the dawn. But this is the attitude of worship, for, as the shell on the shore is open to the waves of the sea, as the bud on the tree is open to the rays of the light, so is the soul of the worshipper open to the mysterious influences that perennially stream from the unseen and the unknown.

(T. Phillips, B. A.)

David, Psalmist
David, David's, Judges, Judgment, Line, Placed, Rulers, Sat, Seats, Stand, Thrones
1. David professes his joy for the church
6. And prays for the peace thereof

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Psalm 122:5

     5581   throne
     9230   judgment seat

Psalm 122:1-9

     1680   types

August the Eighteenth the Church of the Firstborn
"Pray for the peace of Jerusalem." --PSALM cxxii. And my Jerusalem is "the church of the living God." Do I carry her on my heart? Do I praise God for her heritage, and for her endowment of spiritual glory? And do I remember her perils, especially those parts of her walls where the defences are very thin, and can be easily broken through? Yes, has my Church any place in my prayer, or am I robbing her of part of her intended possessions? And is the entire Jerusalem the subject of my supplication?
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

Religious Patriotism.
"Jerusalem is built as a city that is at unity in itself. . . . O pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and plenteousness within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions' sakes I will wish thee prosperity. Yea, because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek to do thee good."--PSALM cxxii. 3, 6-9. As we draw near to the end of our summer term, when so many are about to take leave of their school life, there is sure to rise up in
John Percival—Sermons at Rugby

For the Peace and Prosperity of the Church. --Ps. cxxii.
For the Peace and Prosperity of the Church.--Ps. cxxii. Glad was my heart to hear My old companions say, Come,--in the House of God appear, For 'tis an holy day. Our willing feet shall stand Within the temple-door, While young and old in many a band Shall throng the sacred floor. Thither the tribes repair, Where all are wont to meet, And joyful in the House of Prayer Bend at the Mercy-seat. Pray for Jerusalem, The city of our God; The Lord from Heaven be kind to them That love the dear abode.
James Montgomery—Sacred Poems and Hymns

Ps. cxxii. 7-9.
Ps. cxxii. 7-9. God in his temple let us meet: Low on our knees before Him bend, Here hath He fix'd his Mercy-seat, Here on his worship we attend. Arise into thy resting-place, Thou, and thine ark of strength, O Lord! Shine through the veil, we seek Thy face; Speak, for we hearken to Thy word. With righteousness Thy priests array; Joyful Thy chosen people be; Let those who teach, and hear, and pray, Let all be Holiness to Thee!
James Montgomery—Sacred Poems and Hymns

O 'twas a Joyful Sound to Hear
[1178]Mt. Sion: Horatio Parker, 1888 Psalm 122 Tate and Brady, 1698 DOXOLOGY O 'twas a joyful sound to hear Our tribes devoutly say, Up, Israel! to the temple haste, And keep your festal day. At Salem's courts we must appear, With our assembled powers, In strong and beauteous order ranged, Like her united towers. O ever pray for Salem's peace; For they shall prosperous be, Thou holy city of our God, Who bear true love to thee. May peace within thy sacred walls A constant guest be found; With
Various—The Hymnal of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA

Of Four Things which Bring Great Peace
"My Son, now will I teach thee the way of peace and of true liberty." 2. Do, O my Lord, as Thou sayest, for this is pleasing unto me to hear. 3. "Strive, My Son, to do another's will rather than thine own. Choose always to have less rather than more. Seek always after the lowest place, and to be subject to all. Wish always and pray that the will of God be fulfilled in thee. Behold, such a man as this entereth into the inheritance of peace and quietness." 4. O my Lord, this Thy short discourse
Thomas A Kempis—Imitation of Christ

Beginning at Jerusalem
The whole verse runs thus: "And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." The words were spoken by Christ, after he rose from the dead, and they are here rehearsed after an historical manner, but do contain in them a formal commission, with a special clause therein. The commission is, as you see, for the preaching of the gospel, and is very distinctly inserted in the holy record by Matthew and Mark. "Go teach all nations,"
John Bunyan—Jerusalem Sinner Saved

There is a Blessedness in Reversion
Blessed are the poor in spirit. Matthew 5:3 Having done with the occasion, I come now to the sermon itself. Blessed are the poor in spirit'. Christ does not begin his Sermon on the Mount as the Law was delivered on the mount, with commands and threatenings, the trumpet sounding, the fire flaming, the earth quaking, and the hearts of the Israelites too for fear; but our Saviour (whose lips dropped as the honeycomb') begins with promises and blessings. So sweet and ravishing was the doctrine of this
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12

The piety of the Old Testament Church is reflected with more clearness and variety in the Psalter than in any other book of the Old Testament. It constitutes the response of the Church to the divine demands of prophecy, and, in a less degree, of law; or, rather, it expresses those emotions and aspirations of the universal heart which lie deeper than any formal demand. It is the speech of the soul face to face with God. Its words are as simple and unaffected as human words can be, for it is the genius
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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