Archive for December, 2009

From Here to There: Reflections on Psalm 133

December 8, 2009

How Do You Get from Here to There?

photo credit: http://www.toastmasters.org/OtherImages/DrivingDirections_1.aspx

Recently I was reflecting upon a teaching related to Psalm 133 and the unfolding of the breathtaking beauty of unity. As I re-examined a poem that I had just completed, I thought of other poetry I had written related to striving to “get there”, to scale Mount Zion to arrive at the place of everlasting blessing. I also recall a prophetic word from Al Thomas who touched upon the same topic a few years ago. Finally a couple of songs also came to mind, as I recognize that God is always speaking, that God is never not speaking. When I hear these two songs in my “inner ear,” I hear what I believe God is speaking to me at the time.

The first song I thought of was “I’ll Take You There” the inimitable version by Mavis Staples and the Staple Singers, with its refrain that indicates the possibility of reaching a place where there are “no smiling faces, lying to the races.” Even beyond the purest aspirations of the Civil Rights movement or any human efforts to attain unity and harmony in daily living, is the desire to dwell together in peace expressed in Psalm 133 which the song brings to mind:

Psalm 133

A Song of Ascents. Of David.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!

It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Running down on the beard,
The beard of Aaron,
Running down on the edge of his garments.

It is like the dew of Hermon,
Descending upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the LORD commanded the blessing—
Life forevermore.

Here is an excerpt from an excellent word of exhortation and encouragement from Al Thomas regarding God’s desire that we also reach that place of sublime communion with one another and with Him. Indeed God will take us from “here to there,” Here are the concluding comments he makes. To read the entire prophetic word click here.

”God Said, “YOU’VE BEEN HERE WAY TOO LONG, I WANT TO TAKE YOU THERE–GET READY”

“There ahead of you is your destiny,” says the Lord. “The hope, the dream and the fulfillment of My promise–it’s simply staring you in the face! Here, is where you are now, but how you conduct yourself today has everything to do with where I will take you tomorrow—My there. Extend My grace to others when you least feel like doing so–it will prepare you to go from here to there. Determine that you are serious to get to My there for you (Luke 9:62). You will get there by serving Me in the here and now (1 Corinthians 10:21, James 1:8).

“Are you serious about the vision you are following? If so, then build in the now (here) for what I have shown you in the future (there). If you are faithful in little, here, I will give you much there (Luke 19:17). Use the compass of praise, private prayer and undaunted searching in My word to guide you and keep you on course (Mark 4:14-20).

“Be faithful today–tomorrow is almost upon you, and it is nearly time to take you from here to there. Look up, it’s approaching and you are about to leave here and arrive there–right where I’ve been waiting for you. Pack up, say goodbye, and prepare to leave here for there. My command is coming for many to move out–out there.”

“Faithful is He that called you, who also will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

In the poem “Deeper” I express my desire for God to “take me there,” as I strive for deeper intimacy:

Deeper

Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls;
All Your waves and billows have gone over me.
Psalm 42:7

There is a place I long to be.
There is a face I long to see,
And in that place your face I’ll see
When I behold the glory of your presence for all eternity.
But until then I strive to reach the pinnacle set before me,
As I walk in power to see miracle after miracle, for your glory
And fight the good fight for deeper intimacy.
I shall follow closely all your ways that take me there.
Take me there, take me there, take me there.
Here I am, show me how to get from here to there.
Until I get there, where the air is rare,
where I have ever longed to be,
I shall relentlessly pursue you to find
and abide in deeper and deeper intimacy,
To find and abide in deeper and deeper intimacy.

To get from “here to there” on the surface, seems such a simple process: you simply go! On the journey, however, one encounters obstacles, pitfalls, diversions, distractions and all kinds of set-backs. At times it seems as though “you can’t get there from here.” I respond to that notion as I encourage myself along this tedious journey called life with this poem:

When at Last I Get There

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended;
but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind
and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,

I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call
of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:13-14

Despite constant reminders to the contrary,
I know in my soul that I can get there from here.
Someday I shall see the place of my destiny
And worship before the throne of God and serve there
When at last death is swallowed up in victory
And war and strife, poverty and disease have ceased.
In this place true believers dwell in unity.
Redeemed from sin, restored and made righteous; released,
Set free from bondage to savor sweet liberty,
To bask in the fullness of God’s glory and grace.
His favor and everlasting goodness increased
Beyond measure, as the champions finish the race
To stand under the banner of Judah’s lion
When at last I get there, when I reach Mount Zion.

God ever sets before us pictures of possibilities. The glorious portrait of harmony and communion of the highest degree is set before us in Psalm 133 which inspired another poem with a similar theme:

From Here to There

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together I fron unity!

It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron,
running down on the edge of his garments.

It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the LORD commanded the blessing—life forevermore.

Psalm 133:1-3

The final phase of life’s journey from here to there,
Yearning to return to Eden, beyond the place
Of the first promise spoken to all who would hear
And receive the fullness of the measure of grace
And know the never-ending flow of perfect peace:
Where perfect love has triumphed to cast out all fear;
Where all shall dwell in harmony and wars shall cease;
Where there shall be no night, for the Lamb of God is near;
Where our joy shall never wane but only increase;
Where we know intimacy far beyond Hebron;
Where our raptured souls shall find rest and sweet release
In endless afterglow of sublime communion;
Where we know the everlasting blessings of unity
As we dwell in Zion for all eternity

Finally my most recent reflections on Psalm 133 not only reinforced the message of earlier poetry based on that scripture, but I recognized the application of that particular scripture to my life, as a member of the Body of Christ, whereby we are all “endeavoring to keep the unity of the faith in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:3). I summarize my thoughts in this recent work:

How Good and How Pleasant

Psalm 133
Ephesians 4:3

I now behold how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity.
To commune together beyond the highest bliss
I strive to arrive at the place of my destiny.
Though small as a tiny grain, I add my measure:
A small amount multiplied in the Master’s hands.
In seeking to arouse the Father’s good pleasure,
I walk uprightly and follow as He commands.
May I come together to be of benefit
As one who adds favor but never takes nor divides
Now I see that God is faithful—His Word explicit:
In unity everlasting blessing abides.
As brethren we must come together to increase
The unity of the faith in the bond of peace.

I conclude my discussion with a final musical selection, a benediction of sorts, a message from the Father, by way of Oleta Adams, relating this reminder: “I don’t care how you get there. Get there, if you can.”

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