Psalm 132 – Praying for God to Dwell In Our Hearts

Psalm 132, at first glance, is about Zion and temple theology. The psalmist talks about how David worked really hard to build God a temple in Jerusalem(v1-5), the community’s excitement over the temple (v6-7), an invocation for God to come and rest in his dwelling place (7-10), the promise of God for Davidic kingship (v11-12), and the blessing from God that comes with him resting in his temple (v13-18).

I was reading it this morning and was so moved by the Psalm with a New Testament perspective. I began seeing that the Psalm is not just about temple theology, but a desperate plea for God to dwell in our hearts.

v1-5 Partnering with God over finding a place of his resting

Remember, O Lord, in David’s favor,
all the hardships he endured,
2 how he swore to the Lord
and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob,
3 “I will not enter my house
or get into my bed,
4 I will not give sleep to my eyes
or slumber to my eyelids,
5 until I find a place for the Lord,
a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”

David has a powerful heart. His heart is so beautiful in this passage. He says that he would not rest until he finds a place of resting for God. At that point they were dwelling in tents, as Israel was nomadic for many years. Now that they were settled in Israel, David wanted to honor the God who brought them there by building him a temple, a fixture of his presence. This desire drove him, and so desperately longed for that honor to honor God.

This should be the desire for our hearts–that God would find a resting place in us.

That we would, like David, not rest in our spiritual lives until the Holy Spirit finds a home in us. NT teaches us that he lives in us, but the question is whether he lives in us comfortably or is he an unhonored guest? We dishonor him with our waywardness, we dishonor our guest with our sinful ways, and more often than not, whether we know it or not, we are truthfully more at contention with the Holy Spirit than at rest with him.

God is, for the most of our lives, trying to contend with us and our character that we may have unbroken fellowship with Him, AKA finding a resting place for him.

v6-7 Stirring our hearts by seeing the hunger in others

6 Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah;
we found it in the fields of Jaar.
7 “Let us go to his dwelling place;
let us worship at his footstool!”

There is a communal response in v6-7. The Psalmist is saying there are people who are saying “Let’s go to the presence of the Lord!”

There are many people who share experiences of being in the presence of God which make me jealous (in a good way) to experience what they experience. When I think about God making a dwelling place in me, I think about those experiences that my spiritual friends, my fathers, my mothers share about in their encounters in the Lord. Those short times when God comes powerfully and consumes the temple of our being.

Those times should stir us saying “Yes Lord, come and do it again. Come and rest even longer in my being.”

v8-10 Let Us Pursue Righteousness As the Priests of His House

8 Arise, O Lord, and go to your resting place,
you and the ark of your might.
9 Let your priests be clothed with righteousness,
    and let your saints shout for joy.
10 For the sake of your servant David,
do not turn away the face of your anointed one.

I really like v9. The Psalmist is praying that the priests who operate in his temple by “clothed with righteousness”. There is, in the OT, a correlation between the quality of the priesthood and the spiritually well-being of the people. When the priests put away idolatry and lead the people in right worship, the entire nation is blessed.

In the same way, as the ministers of our own hearts, we have the responsibility of ensuring that we are “clothed with righteousness” that the temple may be a good resting place for the Holy Spirit. Righteousness is fragrance which draws the Spirit to be nearer to us.

And may our pray be the same as the Psalmist–that we would be clothed with righteousness.

13-18 The Blessing of God being on the Throne of Our Hearts

13 For the Lord has chosen Zion;
he has desired it for his dwelling place:
14 “This is my resting place forever;
here I will dwell, for I have desired it.
15 I will abundantly bless her provisions;
I will satisfy her poor with bread.
16 Her priests I will clothe with salvation,
and her saints will shout for joy.
17 There I will make a horn to sprout for David;
I have prepared a lamp for my anointed.
18 His enemies I will clothe with shame,
but on him his crown will shine.”

The last section speaks of the blessing which comes when God is in his rightful place in his temple. In the same way, do we realize the amount of blessing available to us when he is properly on the throne of our hearts?

v15 “I will abundantly bless her provisions…”

There is a crazy blessing for those who make their hearts a proper place for the Holy Spirit.

Author avatar
Phil Chan
Phil has been writing for over 15 years. His passion is to help people see God and to live a life that matters.

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