Songs for the Road: The Psalms of Ascent: Day 17

A Memory of the Past and a Hope for Future Glory

by

Today's Text: Psalm 132:1-18

Scripture Reading: Psalm 132

The Christian life is a climb—a journey of constant growth, sacrifice, and trusting God for what we cannot see. As Eugene Peterson said, we are pilgrims, but we are also disciples—always moving and always learning. The Psalms of Ascent (Psalms 120-134) were sung by worshipers as they made the journey up to Jerusalem for the annual feasts. In this 3-week reading plan, we are digging into these traveling songs with the help of short summary essays and thoughtful, reflective questions for each psalm. Take your pack on your shoulder and walk with us as we pursue God together.

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Psalm 132 (CSB)
DAVID AND ZION CHOSEN
A song of ascents.

1 LORD, remember David
and all the hardships he endured,
2 and how he swore an oath to the LORD,
making a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob:
3 “I will not enter my house
or get into my bed,
4 I will not allow my eyes to sleep
or my eyelids to slumber
5 until I find a place for the LORD,
a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.”

6 We heard of the ark in Ephrathah;
we found it in the fields of Jaar.
7 Let us go to his dwelling place;
let us worship at his footstool.
8 Rise up, LORD, come to your resting place,
you and your powerful ark.
9 May your priests be clothed with righteousness,
and may your faithful people shout for joy.
10 For the sake of your servant David,
do not reject your anointed one.

11 The LORD swore an oath to David,
a promise he will not abandon:
“I will set one of your offspring
on your throne.
12 If your sons keep my covenant
and my decrees that I will teach them,
their sons will also sit on your throne forever.”

13 For the LORD has chosen Zion;
he has desired it for his home:
14 “This is my resting place forever;
I will make my home here
because I have desired it.
15 I will abundantly bless its food;
I will satisfy its needy with bread.
16 I will clothe its priests with salvation,
and its faithful people will shout for joy.
17 There I will make a horn grow for David;
I have prepared a lamp for my anointed one.
18 I will clothe his enemies with shame,
but the crown he wears will be glorious.”

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A Song of Nostalgia and Future Glory
The pilgrim-disciple remembers when her people knew better days. But rather than return to a remembered past, she looks forward to a better future glory.

In the first half of this song (vv.1-10), God’s people cry out for God to repeat something He did before, about which they hold idealized memories. In the second half (vv.11-18), God beckons them to lift their eyes from the romantic fog of nostalgia and stop wishing for the past. Our security does not lie in a bygone era, but in an ongoing relationship with an eternal God.

Reflect
1. Are there any seasons in your past you wish you could return to? Why?

2. In his essay “The Weight of Glory,” C. S. Lewis describes nostalgia as “only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.” When we long to go back to a remembered time, or when we look forward to better days, what are we ultimately longing for?

3. In what ways do our desires for a better time help us worship God?

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  • When being ‘nostalgic’ I mostly lift up praise and thanksgiving for the ways in which God has been true and faithful.
    Recently events that’s have unfolded based on choices by those around me have left me in a dizzying flap and not pining for the past, but rather for a way out of the pain, disappointment and betrayal. I find my heart and mind racing as I kneel before God, and yet I am still here waiting for the fog to lift. Sometimes in these times of waiting it’s not about the past or the future, it’s about what’s immediately in front of you…

    • She Reads Truth

      Oh, sweet friend. I am so sorry to hear that you are going through this time of disappointment and hurt. Praying for you and thanking the Lord for being a constant of good in our lives – even in the midst of pain and betrayal. So grateful for you.

      – Stormye

  • Aimee Joy

    Remembering times of hope or joy provides me with the opportunity to affirm God’s presence in my life. Nostalgia can be a positive experience of God’s steadfast presence in my life IF the hope and joy I remember in those past moments is not kept in bondage to the fleeting moment. The hope and joy I experience as I reflect on the past are results of my relationship with God during that time. Hope and joy are everlasting character traits of God that He uses to instill in me a sense of confidence in His faithfulness for the future. I look back and see that God was there. I look forward and know that God will be there. And as I close my eyes and engage in relationship with God now, He is here. Praise be to God for he proves to be steadfast, not because He needs to prove it, but because it is an opportunity for connection using a means communication that His creation can take part in.

  • Ceci Frost

    When I think of times I wish I could go back to they are seasons of travel. 1-when I loved in Jerusalem 2- when I traveled America for 4 1/2 months in a trailer. They are days filled with new adventures, new people, and new food. Where my mind is awakened by the unfamiliar. I think I feel nostalgia with those memories because they are big and unpredictable experiences not filled with routine but filled with soaking in and learning.
    I know I can long for those “good ole days” but I know there is beauty to be found in my routine days, and where God has me for now.

  • When we long to go back to a remembered time or when we look forward to better days we are longing for a certain feeling; a feeling of love, happiness, belonging, etc. There is something that we want to feel in our hearts that we believe will fulfill us or make us the most happy.

    • Michelle

      Very very true. Good insight Molly. Do you think regret can also make one look back with longing?

  • churchmouse

    I want to mention this quote that i have written in my Bible, though I don’t know who said it : Forgiveness is letting go of the hope that the past could have been different. That quote has helped me so much in releasing the tendency to dwell on “if only…” God gives me TODAY every day. Let me give Him glory by how I use it. That will make my present good and my future sure. All glory days!

  • churchmouse

    On the school playground I was usually chosen reluctantly for team sports. And chosen often as the Very. Last. One. Being athletically challenged, that was my fate. A weekly if not daily humiliation. I just wasn’t good enough.
    Ahhhh BUT GOD! He chose me! I’m on His team! My past is behind me. My present is promising. My future guaranteed to be out of this world! I do my best to keep my eyes off of what was and on to what is coming. I’m not the odd man out. I’m on the winning team!

  • The invitation to Lean In to the Word & His Sharpening Power with you ladies is a high blessing. Considering the joys of past & present running richly with the lows or mundane. Across the spectrum of life, I pray we continue to Lean In

  • These psalms were the prayer book of Christ. And also, uniquely, he fulfills these psalms! I think this Psalm is about Christ, as the “anointed one” and the “Son of David” “the offspring” that God will/did set over his throne. He is the dwelling place of God, and now through His Holy Spirit God has poured out, God dwells in us.
    I love verse 14 “This is my resting place forever;
    I will make my home here
    because I have desired it.”
    God has made his home in us, among us through Christ. Nothing satisfies except him, and he also desires to be with us. Beautiful!! Manna for the soul.

    • Emily B.

      I love your commentary on verse 14. It’s so comforting. Thank you for sharing!

    • Sarah

      I love this! God’s chosen “place” isn’t a physical location but a people, reconciled through Jesus. May we always be reminded that everyday He chooses to live with and inside us, regardless of our present circumstances.

  • Melody Suarez

    I think I look back a lot on my past and think about how I could’ve done things differently or why I did certain things that were destructive on my own behalf. I also sometimes wish certain things would’ve played out differently. However, that’s only stealing away from the growth and refinement that God has let me go through and it is a reminder that God knew my steps before I would take them, yet He still makes everything work out for my good. Even the bad things that I think should be erased in my life, He has used for His glory. I think c.s Lewis is right when He says when we look back on our past, we are only looking for a scent of a flower that we have not found. It’s useless to try and search for something that’s not even there and I think we fantasize our past a lot when it shouldn’t be fantasized. God is doing something in our lives right now, today. We can stop searching for the “next thing” or an “old thing” because He’s making all things new in the process. We just have to look around.

  • In some ways its good to look back in life as long as we are thanking the Lord for those times – looking forward with hope to Eternal life is good. However I think that really its about our desire to ‘be in control’ where it’s comfortable. Really we need to redeem the now & trust the Lord. Its not to say we cant plan for something better or good but life & health & situations don’t always go as we’d hoped for & really God is our enough. Its a continual ‘let go & trust’ God & staying in the word & knowing it in our hearts.

    • Emily B.

      I like what you said about “redeeming the now” and emphasizing that looking back and looking forward are both fine as long as we’re trusting the Lord. Thanks for sharing!

  • Sarah D.

    God has kept His promises in the past, he keeps them in the present, and will keep them in the future! Thankful for His faithfulness! Also, got the SRT Bible yesterday and I LOVE it!! So excited to dive into God’s Word everyday with this beautiful Bible! Also also, less than a month left until I graduate high school! So excited to graduate, it has been a long four years…trying to enjoy the time I have left! Thank you Lord for being with me and helping me grow through it all. Love you SRT sisters!

    • She Reads Truth

      So glad you are loving your new bible, Sarah! So grateful to have you in the SRT community! Praying for you as you near graduation – what a sweet time of life you are entering in to!

      – Stormye

      • Melody Suarez

        Can we get this bible on the she reads truth website?

        • She Reads Truth

          Hi Melody! The CSB translation? Our new She Reads Truth Bible is this translation and is available at several major retailers including Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Lifeway. I hope this helps!

          – Stormye

  • So convicted by today’s study…how I have made idols out of times in my life to which I’m always trying to get back, thinking if everything was ordered in my life now the way it was then, I would have it all. I’m thanking the Lord for pointing it out for what it is: idolatry. He is the ultimate, and even if I never experience this situation for which I long, he is more than enough.

  • I always hope for an easier life… hope yours are going well.

  • As usual, my comment has gone for proofing again…
    Hope you are all well sisters.. and that life is being kind to you and yours…
    Love to all..xx

  • Sarah Smith

    Nostalgia is my drug. I have deep, deep, longings for places I grew up, visited, experienced, . . so much so, that I have a deep desire to revisit those places – to feel, to touch, to remember what happened there. I have a deep desire now to revisit a state where we briefly lived, and I don’t know why! I don’t know what I am ultimately longing for. Maybe I am having a hard time with the passage of time, because my 4 year old was 2 months old then. I don’t know why I wish I could return either – it was a hard time, a dark time, but sprinkled with good moments, love, and peace. Why would I want to return to something that I recall being so hard? To quote Moana – “what is wrong with me?”

    • She Reads Truth

      Sarah, thank you for sharing this. Encouraged by your words and your personal realizations today. Grateful to have you in this community.

      – Stormye

    • Peggy

      Hi Sarah,
      Twice in this psalm it mentions God’s faithful people shouting for joy. I believe He truly desires joy for us. I would encourage you to find joy in the present. Find joy in your dwelling, joy in your daily tasks and joy in your relationships. I’m going to pray that God will open your eyes to all the gifts he has given you in your present situation.

  • Caroline

    Amen! May we shout for joy for all he has done!

    http://Www.in-due-time.com

  • Allie Besing

    Our desire for a better time and for more remind us that we are not meant to be satisfied in this life – we are made for something greater, deeper. Which is only found in communion with God. Knowing this helps us to place a greater hope and trust in God, since we know that only he can fulfill our deepest longing (sometimes that we don’t even know what it is / can’t put it into words). One day we will know in full, as we will know Him in full!!

  • My first post to SRT :) As I was pondering the question about returning to a past time, I thought, yes please! Then I remembered what God has done w me here.
    Nine years ago, my husband and I moved to a new city and away from the church/city/friends/& grown sons. The environment here is much different than where we were, though on the map, you would never know it.
    In these years, God has sustained me, grown me and made “Rivers on the bare heights and springs in the midst of the valleys; and the dry land fountains of water.” (Isaiah 41:18)
    He has seen me through cancer, loss, illness and death of loved ones and has answered prayer beyond anything I could ever imagine.
    Yes, I would move tomorrow to my beloved city but only if the desert lessons would go back with me.

    • She Reads Truth

      Thank you for sharing with us, Bobbie! So grateful for your perspective on past times and what God has done in your life. So glad to have your wisdom in this community.

      – Stormye

  • Brittany Blackshire

    To answer question 3, the desire of better times draw us closer to God and into a deeper worship because we are trusting Him with our future! We are trusting Him because we know He’s capable to do great things. Thinking about the things He’s done for me in my past causes me to worship Him deeper for my future! I begin to thank Him in the present.

  • In case anyone hasn’t read The Weight of Glory in its entirety, i wanted to share the PDF (just a fee pages long!). A group of friends and I read and really digested it in college. It’s been impactful on my walk with the Lord… especially the formative years post-college when lots of decisions came up. If youd like to avoid the link, just google “weight of glory pdf”. Lots of options out there. http://www.verber.com/mark/xian/weight-of-glory.pdf

    • Leah S

      Thank you!! I was just going to search for it!

    • Cassidy C

      Thank you so much! I literally wrote the title in my journal to find it later and this pdf is great!

    • Sarah Joy

      Thank you for sharing! I read The Screwtape Letters that way. I was just looking for my next read.

  • Is it strange to say that I feel nostalgic for the present? With three small children, I’m in a season in which it’s common to collect smiles and well-meaning comments from older women. “Enjoy it now, they grow up so fast! Before you know it they’ll be gone!” I am currently living in THEIR nostalgic golden era, and yet I want to bite them for adding vague guilt to my weariness. Of course I want to enjoy the season, not wish it away, but it is challenging!

    I appreciated Ann Voskamp’s reflections on the idea of “eucharisteo,” the simple discipline of giving thanks in mundane or painful moments. People often accuse social media of being a platform for ‘identity management” or false pretense, but I find instagram is how I frame out those whiffs of that flower’s elusive scent or the echo of that tune in real time. (You know, the snapshot of the precious few seconds when all three kids are cuddling on the chair, after the dramatic scuffle, before someone’s arm got pinched in the recliner.) For me, it is less about projecting perfection and more about pausing to capture beauty, celebrate tiny victories and long for glory in the midst of the weariness and disappointments of life.

    • Gina

      Thanks for sharing. I’m a mom of 7. 5 married and two older still home. I find myself telling the sane to my daughter’s and young moms around me. I don’t think it’s because we live in our golden nostalgic era it’s more because we know that we didn’t stop and smell the roses when we should of or appreciated those times like we should of. We had wishes to hurry them through and be on the other side. On the other side it’s clear how fast time passes. I really liked your comment about Instagram. It dies get a bad rap for creating perfection but you are right that posting those sweet pictures does cause you to pause and look at the blessings in your life in the here and now. Don’t feel guilty about feeling tired and drained while raising those babies or having days of wishing you were on the other side. It’s a season and I think for the most part you young mom’s do appreciate the time. For us older moms we look at where you are and remember just how special it was even with the tired hurried days.

    • CJ

      I think we are soul mates <3 :) Keep on keeping on mama. I'll pray for both our sanity.

    • Lindsay Prater

      Oh man. Mom of three here, too. Age 2,4,6. I’m just always tired! ;) And, I totally agree, also about instagram and pictures in general. I was grateful to understand this about myself because frankly, enjoying is often a challenge!! I’ve told my husband, you can tell when I’m enjoying myself because I’m taking lots of pictures. I share a few, but they’re mostly for me and for our family. I’ve spent weeks building a memory book online and I realized, I ENJOY it. I need to look back a laugh, see the beauty and work of God. ♥
      Regarding mom comments, I appreciate the reminder to not feel guilty. I do know that I have also been encouraged by the Holy Spirit from some of the “you’ll blink and it’ll be over!” comments. Encouraged to see things through my Father’s eyes and not mine. Often, I can’t see past the laundry, dishes, discipline, and chaos!

    • She Reads Truth

      Thank you for sharing this, Carrie! Praying for you and asking the Lord to give you more opportunities to enjoy and soak in this present time you’re in with your sweet little ones. Grateful for you!

      – Stormye

    • Emily B.

      I like your description of how you see/use Instagram. I sometimes have a hard time “being” in the moment, and I think having that attitude would help me not compare my life and my Instagram feed to others. Thanks for sharing!

  • Like you, I was struggling with this exact same thing, so I really felt moved to comment back to you as God has just recently began to piece things together for me. The ultimate best thing you can do is to find your God given purpose for your life. Everyone has one. Make it your goal to grow as close to him as possible, be the best you can be, and pray non-stop that He will reveal it to you and help you to carry out His will. If you do that, I guarantee that slowly but surely your purpose will come out. That purpose is different for everyone, so of course there is never a need to compare your purpose to others. For some it is to show their children God, but for you it seems that he has given you the much bigger challenge of showing OTHER people God. Which I feel he has destined me to do as well. This can be a far more difficult task, so God seems to trust in you particularly much. You must be a strong woman. I’ll be praying for you as well that he shows you your purpose.

  • Good morning Sisters….

    The sweet memories of my childhood days with my dear daddy always tugged at my heart when life was tough as a teenager here getting to know my mum and stepsisters and brother.. fitting into a place and a already together unit, you’ve not known is hard… I think when unhappy the default in most is to recall a happier time, to help deal with the situation at hand, but we/i got there in the end…

    Right now, and, as my daughter’s birthday approaches I find myself looking back and hankering for those love and laughter filled days that are now just sweet memories…I do wish, for, in odd moments to return to that place where once, there was 5 in our family round the table, where 5 pairs of shoes were strewn across the hall floor, 5 toothbrushes lived in the cup by the sink… yes, life in my minds eye and memory was Good, happy, busy, blissfully messy…
    Then the heart shattering day came and our lives changed forever..
    My daughter died.
    My partner left..
    And then there were three…left to pick up pieces of a life shattered, that could never be the same again…
    That is true…

    But God….

    When I got baptized and gave my life to Jesus, on the 5th anniversary of my daughter’s passing, I was making a statement to God that I was trusting Him, I was holding tight to His promises, that I would walk with Him in the Hope He gives through His Son Jesus…
    Still Hoping, but, for sure, I know that by His grace, I am not where i used to be, but rather, closer to where I need to be …
    Thank you Lord God for walking with me through the trials and troubles,Thank you that you keep your promises, and that your faithfulness is true, and that you are a keeper of your word…
    Help me Lord God to keep looking to you …
    Thank you Lord God…
    Thank you.
    Amen.

    Praying the peace of God that surpasses all understanding be with you today and throughout your week, Sisters.
    Happy Wednesday!
    Love, Tina xxx

    • She Reads Truth

      What a sweet testimony, Tina. Thank you so much for sharing this today.

      – Stormye

  • Alice Carroll

    I wish I could return to when I was much younger, when the world seemed full of possibilities. Now I know that I will never have children and I will probably work till 70 and die at 90 in an old people’s home with dementia. Seems hard to look forward to…

    • Brandi

      ((hugs)) Have faith, hope, and trust that God’s plan for your life is filled with purpose and joy. You are a child of the Lord and He created you in all of your wonderful uniqueness for a reason. xoxo

    • Heather

      Alice, praying that the Lord reminds you today that He has chosen you for His dwelling place, and that He will bless you and satisfy you with abundance, so that you sing for joy! Look around at all the people’s lives you touch each day. Those are your children. Those are your legacy.

    • Gema Muniz

      Alice, I know is hard to feel blessed in the middle of the valley, but God is our redeemer. He has a redeeming story for you, but you need to stop focusing on your problem and ask him how he wants to use your brokenness for good. God always uses the broken and makes something beautiful out of it. Have faith sister and now that God is greater than any problem we may be dealing with, know that God has a purpose for you. Praying for many blessings and sending hugs and kisses your way.

    • Kari

      Like you, I was struggling with this exact same thing, so I really felt moved to comment back to you as God has just recently began to piece things together for me. The ultimate best thing you can do is to find your God given purpose for your life. Everyone has one. Make it your goal to grow as close to him as possible, be the best you can be, and pray non-stop that He will reveal it to you and help you to carry out His will. If you do that, I guarantee that slowly but surely your purpose will come out. That purpose is different for everyone, so of course there is never a need to compare your purpose to others. For some it is to show their children God, but for you it seems that he has given you the much bigger challenge of showing OTHER people God. Which I feel he has destined me to do as well. This can be a far more difficult task, so God seems to trust in you particularly much. You must be a strong woman. I’ll be praying for you as well that he shows you your purpose.

    • Elizabeth

      Alice, I am praying for you this morning. May the Lord fill your heart with hope and joy. I have seen Him give renewed purpose and vision to a friend in a similar situation recently and I know He can give you a vision, purpose and fulfillment as well. YOU have a story to share and there are those that He will use your story as a way to reach them.

    • Emmy

      Oh Alice, I can certainly sympathize with the hurt of a life that isn’t as we planned and hoped for. But I am praying for you, that you can find peace and joy. That you can look around and see all the things that God HAS given you, and that He has a grand plan for you!

    • Churchmouse

      God gives us this day for His purpose and His pleasure. How can I please Him this day? That is a good question to ask yourself each morning. I know it keeps me in the present and from regretting the past or fearing the future. When I am focused on Him, my attitude shifts from woe is me to how Great is my God! I don’t know what is in store for me but I know I have today and He is good and there is a blessing. Go on a holy hunt, dear Alice. He is there.

    • Emily B.

      Don’t let your heart be discouraged! You were created for a unique purpose–something only YOU can do. I know it’s easier to focus on the things we wish had gone the way we wanted, but don’t live in that land of “what-ifs” and regrets. That’s not what Jesus wants for you. Be encouraged by His presence in your life, and trust that He’ll reveal what He has in store for you.

    • Alice Carroll

      I don’t know if any of you who have replied to me will see this response, but I just wanted to thank you all. I spoke out of the fullness of my heart, and the love, wisdom and truth spoken in reply has overwhelmed me. I treasure the gentle rebukes which point me in the path of true hope. I can see now that I have felt it was my right to feel this way – however I am to submit to God’s purpose and trust Him. I may never meet any of you, but you have given me of your faith and it has greatly refreshed me, my sisters. May God bless you in equal measure.

      • Kari

        So much love for you Alice! I had been thinking about you all day yesterday and was looking forward to coming back here today to check in. You are such a strong and wise woman, and God sees that. He has trusted enough in you to give you a mighty task. You will be in my prayers girl :)

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