Sinclair Ferguson claims that the Psalms of Ascent serve as “A Hitchhiker’s Guide for Spiritual Survival.” In Psalm 122, the hitchhiker anticipates what it will be like to worship in the house of the Lord. He says in verse 1: “I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD.'”
Few things ought to rejuvenate and refresh our spirits more than a trip to the house of God. Which house of God is the Psalmist discussing? This Psalm may be looked at in three very different ways. All with good biblical warrant.
Literally, it is about worship in the earthly city of Jerusalem.Symbolically, it can be applied to the church as the author of Hebrews applies it (Hebrews 12).Prophetically, Psalm 122 directs our thinking to the new Jerusalem, of which the earthly city is but a type. Believers are called to look for and long for the city that is to come. Hebrews 13:14 reminds us: “For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.”
We too are pilgrims who should long for and love our times of corporate worship. But, we are marching up another hill – to our new, heavenly Jerusalem. When we arrive there all of our struggle with sin and weakness will be forever gone.
In the late 1700s, George Horne wrote beautifully about this:
A day is coming when we shall be called to the house of the Lord not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. One day you will hear: “Your labors and sorrows are at an end, and the hour of your transferral is come; put off mortality and misery at once; quit your house of bondage, and the land of your captivity; fly forth, and ‘let us go together into the house of the Lord, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.’”