“Bless” is a big word in Psalms. It occurs in some form over 50 times in the book. Therefore, when we encounter it in the first and last verses of the final psalm of ascent we’re not surprised, and it serves as a fitting conclusion. What began on the road to Jerusalem with a call on the Lord in a time of distress (120:1), now ends with a call to bless the Lord and be blessed by Him (134:1 ESV). That is the pilgrim’s song.
The psalmist instructs those who “minister by night” to bless the Lord. This refers to the priests, Levites, and musicians who served in the temple (1 Chronicles 9:33). Why is this specific group of people singled out to “Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the Lord” (v. 2 ESV)?
One reason might be that the nocturnal nature of their work meant that sleepiness and inattention were potential obstacles to performing their tasks. The idea is to alert those most challenged in order to ensure that everyone was engaged in blessing (praising) the Lord. Or maybe they are mentioned because their work under the cover of darkness meant they were rarely acknowledged or thought of. If this is the case, the psalmist wants to show he is leaving no stone unturned in his call that everyone is involved in praising God.
And why is he so intent upon this?
That’s simple to answer—because he is convinced and convicted that God is worthy of praise. When you arrive at this point in your journey, it not only touches everything you do—you want it to touch everything everyone does because you have come to understand enough of the greatness of God to want to see Him glorified in all ways.
And one day that that is exactly what will happen (Romans 14:11).
Until then we do what the psalmist says. We remain at our posts, lift up our hands, and bless the Lord. He is worthy!
“The twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:
“You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being.” (Revelation 4:10-11)