1 Samuel 22-24

Luke 12:1-31


“We heard it in Ephrathah, we came upon it in the fields of Jaar: ‘Let us go to His dwelling-place, let us worship at His footstool…’”      —Psalm 132:6-7

From the opening verse of this devotion, where is the “fields of Jaar” and what is significant about this place? To understand the answer to these questions, we must understand the context. For the Israelites, the most sacred cultic object was the Ark of the Covenant, which represented the presence of God, hidden behind a veil inside the Holy of Holies at the Tabernacle. The Ark of the Covenant, however, was captured by the Philistines in 1 Samuel 4 and after being passed around from city to city (1 Samuel 5-7), the Ark of the Covenant remained in Kiriath Jearim and brought blessings to Abinadab’s house. 

The “fields of Jaar” is another name for Kiriath Jearim, which was where the ark was for 20 years. In 1 Chronicles 13:2-3, king David said, “If it seems good to you and if it is the will of the LORD our God, let us send word far and wide to the rest of our people throughout the territories of Israel, and also to the priests and Levites who are with them in their towns and pasture-lands, to come and join us. Let us bring the ark of our God back to us, for we did not enquire of it during the reign of Saul.” In other words, the Ark of the Covenant was finally returning to its rightful place. Hence, as the Israelites ascended to the Temple three times a year; it was like an imaginary journey of God’s presence from out in the fields somewhere taking residence.

Now, in light of all this context, returning to the opening verse, it is talking about the worship of the Israelites. The psalmist continues, “Arise, LORD, and come to Your resting place, You and the ark of Your might” (Psalm 132:8). As the Israelites go to worship God at the Ark of the Covenant, they were going to encounter the presence of God. Likewise, when we go to church, God shows up. Because, if God does not show up, the whole thing—singing, confession, offering, preaching, prayer—would be an exercise in futility.

With God’s presence in worship, the psalmist prays, “May Your priests be clothed with Your righteousness; may Your faithful people sing for joy” (Psalm 132:9). In our modern-day context, it is the pastor, worship team, and others who minister that lead us in corporate worship. If we want to be blessed in the worship service, we should be praying for them to be filled with God’s righteousness as they lead. As we come, may we remember that we are coming into the presence of God.

Beautiful Lord, I lift my pastor, worship team and others who minister to You. May they be filled with Your righteousness as they lead in corporate worship. Thank You for Your presence with us as we come before You. Amen!

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