God Has Priority
(H) A Song of Ascents. (1) Yahweh, remember David and all his afflictions, (2) how he swore to Yahweh and vowed to the mighty One of Jacob, (3) “I will not enter my house or climb into bed. (4) I will not give sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids (5) until I find a place for Yahweh, a dwelling for the mighty One of Jacob.”
These opening verses of the psalm contain several parallelisms and one repetition. The author juxtaposes “swore” and “vowed” (vs. 2), “enter my house” and “climb into bed” (vs. 3), “give sleep to my eyes” and “slumber to my eyelids” (vs. 4), and “place” and “dwelling” (vs. 5). The repeated phrase identifies Yahweh as “the mighty One of Jacob” (vss. 2 & 5).
I. Request: “Remember David.” (1)
II. Reason: David prioritized building a house for Yahweh. (2-5)
Placing Yahweh’s interests above our own is where worship must begin.
While preaching in Pisidian Antioch, Paul gave the following description of King David from Yahweh’s perspective: “I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do” (Acts 13:22). David’s resolve to build a dwelling place for Yahweh, expressed in this psalm, was first recorded in 2 Samuel 7:2 which reads, “Here I am, living in a palace of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.” Each demonstrated his desire to place Yahweh’s interests above his own. When we adopt the stance, “God before me,” Yahweh is pleased, and we will inevitably be blessed.
This is the same issue Jesus faced in the Garden of Gethsemane the night prior to his crucifixion. Knowing the suffering and shame he was about to face, he agonized in prayer, pleading, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup (of suffering) be taken from me” (Mt. 26:39). In his humanity, he dreaded what he knew was about to happen. But then he added the proviso that all those who truly love God will learn to pray: “Yet not as I will, but as you will.” He placed the Father’s perfect plan above his own desires even when that meant experiencing the horrors of the cross.
Whenever we are tempted to follow our own inclinations and abandon the will and purposes of God, we need to remember that denying ourselves and taking up the cross is the way to ultimate joy and fulfillment. Like David and like the Savior, we must learn to say “yes” to the Father in whatever circumstances we may find ourselves. Our attitude should always be, “Your will must take precedence over mine. Not as I desire, but have your way.”