Fred Quick - Psalm 122 – Dandenong, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia - 1944

I will read a Psalm, the 122nd:

1) I was glad when they said unto me, "Let us go into the house of the LORD."

2) Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem.

3) Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together:

4) whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, unto the testimony of
Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the LORD.

5) For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David.

6) Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:  they shall prosper that love thee.

7) Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.

8) For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say, "Peace be within thee."

9) Because of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek thy good.

This is, I believe, one of the psalms of David.  This psalm has fit in with my thoughts.  David says, "I was glad when they said, 'Let us into the house of the Lord.'"  I believe this deals with what took place among the children of Israel as they assembled on three occasions yearly before the Lord.  It didn't happen the first year they came out of Egypt.  There are certain things we have to be reminded of year by year.  We, as they, are apt to forget the provision that God has made for us and in consequence, fall victims to doubt and unbelief.  I believe David said he was glad, not because of the judgments of God upon his life only, but I believe that David said this because, that in spite of failures and shortcomings and sin, there was an adjustment made there.  God could deal with all the wrong there was in his life and was willing and able to forgive him and enable him to go forward.

In Ezekiel 46:9, it says that when the people of the Lord came before the Lord in the solemn feasts, he that entered by the north gate to worship shall go out by way of the south gate, and he that entered by the south gate should go out by the way of the north gate; he shall not return by the way of the gate whereby he came in, but shall go forth over against it.  I believe that God always intended that in gathering His people to these solemn feasts they should gather not merely to meet with one another, but to meet with the Lord. 

In considering this convention as a solemn feast, there is need to strike a note of warning. In John 7:37, on the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried saying, "If any man thirst let him come unto Me and drink."  He had that living water.  This was speaking of the Spirit.  I thought, as I read that verse, how grieved Jesus must have been as year in and year out His professed people, Israel, had gathered together without knowing the true purpose of the feast.  On the last day He stood and cried, "If any man thirst let him come unto Me."  Although they went through all the form; they entered the gates and observed all, went in at one gate and out of the opposite gate, as God said through Ezekiel;  they failed to discern the true purpose of God.  Jesus was anxious that people might come up with a true purpose and to know His purpose and come into contact with a person.  It would thus be possible for people to come into the Presence of God and yet not know that meeting with God, and His being able to deal with them, to deal with their hearts and with things that should not be in their lives.

There are set “thrones of judgment.” David knew this, and said, "Let us go into the house of the Lord."  It is possible to feel very self-sufficient or on the other hand self-accusing.  But if God can put His finger on what is wrong, we would go out at the "opposite gate," or in other words, the opposite condition.  Come in with pride and go forth humbled, come in hard and go out softened.  The Lord can discern and deal with us and bring us to an end of ourselves.

We wouldn't go forth in the same condition as we came in.  It doesn't matter so much what gate we enter; what does matter is which gate we leave by; whether we come in proud or self-sufficient, etc.  But it would be a calamity if there was no change wrought of God.  There is nothing but what God can deal with if we will only allow Him.  He can make us conscious of things we ourselves are not conscious of.  If God speaks to us in the light of His Presence, we will be conscious of things we were not hitherto, and it is possible for us to go in the opposite condition.

I believe it was because of understanding this that made David glad.  I don't believe that enjoying the good of the feast would depend upon being in a sinless condition.  If that were so, there would be no need of all the things recorded.  A good feast as far as the individual is concerned, would depend more on allowing God's dealings and to put away those things that should not be in our lives, and be willing to go out in the opposite condition.

God was continually reminding them of the provision He had made for them and even though there was set thrones of judgment, I feel that David feared more than anything lest God became silent unto him.  He said, "Lord be not silent unto me," lest he became like one that went down to the pit.  This caused David more concern than the thought that there would be things in his life that God would put His finger on; the fear that God would not be able to speak.

There were three feasts mentioned - there was the feast of the Passover - called also the feast of unleavened bread.  This was one of the solemn feasts.  I thought of it as being like us coming into the Presence of God – into the house of God, if you like.  The first feast was in the month "Abib."  The center of the Passover feast was the Lamb slain.  They gathered around and feasted upon it as the central figure.  I believe He should be the central figure of our gathering - the focal point of our attention - the person we have come to see.  We can gather around Him, having our eyes anointed and feast upon the living bread.  He should be the center.

Associated with that, there is the unleavened bread.  Nothing could show up the things that are wrong, that are working within us, better than to get this vision of the Lamb of God as the central figure.  Nothing else will help us to make the adjustment that is so necessary more than this.

We read of the feast of the first fruits and the feast of the seventh month.  In all these things, God is reminding us of all His Truth.  He reminded them of the provision He had made. Judgment was there but it was also tempered with mercy.  Such a gathering helps us to know ourselves, our failures and our sins.  No one else knows what I am except God and myself.  I don't believe He brought us here to bring all this to light merely if we got what we deserve, I don't think we would enjoy convention.  One reason David was glad in his heart; He felt he couldn't go on without this.  It was necessary that he might not only know himself but also to know God's love and mercy.  There is no excuse for any person if we will stand in the Presence of God and not allow His dealings.  His work is perfect and complete.  The least of all excuses would be sin; it couldn't be an excuse in the Presence of God.  We often excuse ourselves because of being conscious of what is in us.  God is continually reminding us of the provision He has made for this.

There is the "Feast of Trumpets" spoken of - the day of atonement.  The fifteenth day of the seventh month there was the Feast of Tabernacles.  (Leviticus 23:34) It had become just a religious ceremony in the time of Jesus.  The sacrifices were offered, but there was little  understanding of what it meant.  If they had, they would have all been able to use the language that David used and say, “I am glad…" Sacrifice was associated with it.

We read of the two goats being taken to the door of the Tabernacle.  One was sacrificed for the sin offering; Aaron laid his hands on its head and confessed the sins of the people.  The other was taken to the wilderness.

God was thus reminding them of the provision He had made for sin.  It wasn't only the first time He reminded them, but year in, year out their sins had to be confessed and removed by the grace of God, by a gracious loving Father.  Many came, conscious perhaps of a great burden.  They were burdened down with many things, but there was no need to go away like that.  They were conscious of the trumpet, of Jubilee, or that God would not bring that up again.  The past is over and done with.

This can be coupled with what we read in Revelation 2:17, "He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches, 'To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone,'" etc.  This is a promise to the overcomers. That does not mean a sinless person, but one who has availed himself of the provision God has made.  This symbol is taken from the ancient custom of breaking a stone and giving half to the person who was charged with an offence and the other half retained, so that if ever that person was charged again with the same offence, the stones could be compared and the pieces would fit in and show that his case had already been dealt with and it was no longer held against him.  I have felt that this was just what the Day of Atonement speaks of. There is a side of it that belongs to God, and a side that belongs to us.  He has kept His promise as far as He is concerned; our sins and iniquities will He remember no more.

What about our side?  Will we come into God's presence and allow Him to deal with our hearts and not go out and do the same thing again?  As far as God is concerned He is faithful in doing His part.  We have had to admit shortcomings and weakness.  God does His part and He can keep us in that condition and help us to be conscious of His help, and He strengthens us.  So there is much suggested to us by the Feast of Tabernacles.

Some gatherings were outstanding.  After a lapse of years, in Nehemiah's day, they kept a wonderful feast (Nehemiah 8:17).  We read how they got branches and made booths. This part had not been kept since the days of Joshua, and there was very great gladness, yet every year back to that time, God had been reminding them.  He reminded them in this, that they were strangers and pilgrims here, the same as Abraham.

We are looking to that city which has foundations.  God seeks to remind us of this still.  We are strangers in this world and not of the world, the same as Abraham.  We, too, are looking to that city which has foundations.  David's life was a wandering life, and that part seemed to stand out; although he was king, God's presence when he was a wanderer meant more to him than life in a palace and dwelling in the city of David.

In the book of Samuel, we read it was in this man's heart to build a house unto the Name of the Lord.  God didn't allow David to actually do this, although He said that it was well it was in his heart.  So much could have been said of the evidence in his life that he lived for something different to those around him.  He was able to say (I Chronicles 22:14),  "Behold, in my trouble, I have prepared for the house of the Lord."  He wasn't destined to have his name called upon it; that honor went to another man, but it was the thing that he lived for and that meant more to him than anything else.

Does the name of the Lord mean more to us than the things that mean ease, comfort, etc.? If the Lord could look on our lives and see that, in reality, if it had not been for David, there would have been no preparation and perhaps no Temple.  Many of those things we read of in connection with the Temple, because of David living for the things that were to adorn the house of the Lord, would not have been there otherwise.

Some months ago, a thing impressed me as I read of some of the Minor Prophets, especially in Haggai and Zechariah.  They lived about the same time as Ezra and Nehemiah.  The Temple then wasn't rebuilt.  Enemies had succeeded in weakening their hands.  They were in great distress because of the people of the land.  Haggai and Zechariah rose up and they built.  I was impressed by the message that God spoke through Haggai, "Is it time for you, 0 ye people to dwell in your ceiled houses and this house lie waste?"  They were dwelling in comfort in their houses; not doing anything wrong to speak of, but they hadn't done as David had done.  What caused them to rise and build?  The ministry of those two men inspired them.

In chapter 2, verse 3, the question was asked, "Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory?  And how do ye see it now?  Is it not in your eyes in comparison as nothing?" They had far more to go on to.  Jerusalem had known the time when it was circled by walls around about it.  In spite of what they saw around them, these men with anointed eyes could see great possibilities ahead.  They arose and spoke to the people of God, and arose and built, and the work was finished.

Returning to what I was speaking of:  I thought of the High Priest appearing before the Lord, and of them looking upon the Lamb that was slain and partaking of the feast with their vision renewed, also of the ministry of the High Priest associated with the gathering there.  He had to offer first an offering for his own sins because he was also a man subject to these things, and as a figure or type of our Great High Priest.

There were twelve stones on the high priest's garment, as he went into the presence of God to bear upon his heart the children of Israel.  This has spoken to me, as I thought of those jewels on the vesture of the High Priest.  We are precious to Him, He who was tempted in every way as we are but was without sin, who is able also to succor those who are tempted, who ministers as our Great High Priest in the presence of God and takes upon Him our cares, and takes up our case as our advocate in the presence of God.  So many things have been recorded in order that we might understand all that Jesus means to us, not only as shown in the scapegoat, but in bearing in His body our sins upon the tree.  He was also the sin offering.  The Old Testament is precious on account of the wealth of its detail.  It requires all this to show the wealth of detail and thus bring home to us all that He is to us.  These things help us to realize more fully all that He has done.  I don't think we would find it in the heart of any of us to withhold.  It is not a rod to chastise us but an appeal to all the best that is in us.

We are reminded of all that He has done for us again these days, and our hearts are softened and our purposes renewed before God.  "Thou Art Worthy” is the song of the redeemed; the song of Moses and the Lamb is a song we will learn here but sing there.  That is the experience of those whose hearts God could touch:  "Thou art worthy of the best that is in me, all that I have and am."

Could you imagine Peter holding back after what he had seen in Gethsemane?  The word means "winepress” or "oil press."  We see what it produced in Jesus.  He prayed, and then found the disciples sleeping.  The Lord said the spirit was willing but the flesh was weak.  He acknowledged every effort that was made; we would be more likely to find fault.  It is only the wine press, the oil press that produces the best.  When Peter denied Jesus and the cock crew, Jesus looked at Peter and it broke his heart.  What kind of a look would we give?  There was something in that look that was the result of pressure.  It spoke louder than any words.  When on the Cross, before His last breath; when the mob had done their worst and had caused Him to suffer; He prayed, "Father, forgive them."  That is not in us by nature.

God can so work in us as to make us Christ-like.  Everything that He has, has been provided at a time like this.  God desires to do what is necessary so that as we go forth, we will feel that it is possible for us to do His will.  The language we often use is, "I should do it, I should act like that," and resolve that I will seek so to act.  I believe that the language of Paul could be ours also – "I can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth me" – that we will go forth strengthened as the result of the time spent here in His presence, like David, conscious of the fact that it doesn't matter which gate we come in by; what does matter is the way we go out.

I have valued His dealings with me and would long to "do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me."