Psalm 134

Unseen, But Far From Unappreciated.

“Oh, praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord, you who serve at night in the house of the Lord.” ­– Psalm 134:1 NLT

Just three verses long, this Psalm seems to be a short, simple conclusion or benediction to the Song of Ascents, the hymnbook used by pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem to celebrate the annual feasts of Passover, Pentecost and Booths. The Song of Ascents included Psalms 120-134. In this particular concluding Psalm the emphasis turns toward those who serve God in the Temple at night. Care for the Temple was an around-the-clock affair. While the people slept, the priests were busy caring for, cleaning, purifying and readying the Temple for the following day. It seems that there was a group of the Levites whose duty it was to perform some of the more mundane or less-than-glamorous duties associated with the Temple. According to 1 Chronicles 23, “The duty of the Levites was to help Aaron’s descendants in the service of the temple of the LORD: to be in charge of the courtyards, the side rooms, the purification of all sacred things and the performance of other duties at the house of God. They were in charge of the bread set out on the table, the flour for the grain offerings, the unleavened wafers, the baking and the mixing, and all measurements of quantity and size.  They were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD. They were to do the same in the evening, and whenever burnt offerings were presented to the LORD on Sabbaths and at New Moon festivals and at appointed feasts. They were to serve before the LORD regularly in the proper number and in the way prescribed for them (1 Chronicles 23:28-31 NLT).

This Psalm was meant to be an expression of encouragement to those who serve the Lord at night, in relative obscurity – serving Him joyfully, offering Him praise even in the midst of their nightly duties. It was a reminder to the pilgrims and the priests that the role these priests played was far from unimportant. While no one saw what they did, God was watching. Their duties were just as important as those of the priests who offered up the sacrifices in the courtyard. Without their careful purification of the utensils and objects used in the sacrificial system, the sacrifices offered up to God would have been considered unclean and unacceptable. I can only imagine the cleanup job each evening after a full day of sacrifices with the blood of thousands of animals having flowed within the grounds of the Temple. Everything had to be cleaned and purified. These men played a critical role in the sacrificial system of Israel. And their efforts were a blessing to God.

What a reminder to us that there are those who serve the body of Christ in obscurity, doing roles that many of us would think are unglamorous and even unimportant. I think of the men and women who serve each week on our Parking Posse, overseeing the flow of cars on to and off of our campus each week. Without their efforts, the chaos that would ensue would be unbearable. Yet many don’t even notice these people are there. I think of the hundreds of Sunday School teachers and volunteers who serve each and every Sunday throughout the year, caring for and teaching our children. We take them for granted. We come to church knowing they will be there to provide our children a safe environment in which to learn and grow in their knowledge of God and His Word. What about the maintenance staff who work all throughout the week, caring for the buildings and grounds, ensuring they are clean and that everything works properly? They operate behind the scenes, invisible and unknown to most of us. But just think about how their efforts enhance our worship of God on Sunday.

From those who design and print the worship folders each Sunday to those who prepare the coffee, countless individuals serve behind the scenes in an effort to make our worship of God as comfortable and hassle-free as possible. May God bless them for their efforts. And may we learn to thank them for all that they do.

Father, thank You for reminding me of all those who serve You selflessly each week. Create in me a heart of gratitude, expressing my thanks to them for all that they do to enhance our worship experience each week. May You bless them Father for their willingness to serve in ways that many of would not do. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men