Psalm 132 has its context in God’s Covenant with David and looks back to his desire to build a house for the LORD v3-5. This noble wish was denied to him but granted to his son Solomon and later this Psalm was penned as a ‘Song of Degrees’ to be sung by the pilgrim Israelite as he travelled to Jerusalem to keep the appointed feasts in the Temple. They sang of God’s choice of Zion to be his dwelling place v13, and of their longing for the kingdom of God to advance under God’s blessing v17-18.
The Psalm is prophetical of Christ and its petitions carry our desire for God’s blessing on His Church which he has chosen from the world and will dwell in forever. Our prayer is not ‘LORD, remember David in his afflictions’ v1, but rather Remember David’s greater son v1, turn not away the face of your Christ’ v10. Make his ‘horn to bud’ v17 and let the crown flourish upon His head of our Messiah as His Kingdom advances among the nations v18. It is in this context that we want to address the beautiful promise found in v15 where God promises to feed His poor saints in Zion.
God says he will satisfy her ‘poor.’ While God is clearly concerned with social justice, we should recognize that ‘the poor’ in the Psalms is often a descriptor of sincere hearted believers. God will not forget the ‘poor and needy’ in Psalm 9:18 where they are contrasted not with the rich but with the wicked v17. At least thirteen psalms speak of ‘the poor and needy’ including Psalm 40:17 where David applies the words to himself. He was not socially poor as he was the king of Israel but he did feel spiritually poor. When Jesus came, he was marked by the same spiritual fruit as he walked in total dependence on His Father in the Spirit and when he outlined the blessed characteristics of the godly in Matthew 5:3, he began with this, ‘Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’
Those whom God saves by His grace in the Church are marked with this poverty of spirit. They have been brought down from their pride to know they have nothing before God but their sin and all they can do is bring their need to God. When they gather in worship around the means of grace, they come as beggars reaching out their empty hands to Christ but they come with promises like this ‘I will abundantly bless her provision I will satisfy their poor with bread.’
Christ has covenanted to provide for His people’s good, he will feed His poor with bread. As a husband nourishes and cherishes his wife, so Christ will see to it that His saints lack nothing. He brings beggars who have nothing, to a royal feast where he gives them everything. Indeed, He gives them Himself and all the benefits of His covenant by means of His Word and Sacraments. As God daily provided Mana for Israel as they wandered in the wilderness, so He provides for His people in these ordinary means of grace. The worldly heart has no real appetite for this food and will despise it and look for other substitutes. Like Israel they lust for flesh rather than God’s Mana and they long for the leeks and cucumbers of Egypt because they find no delight in Christ in the way He has appointed. The Lord’s poor on the other hand, are glad to take what Christ has provided and know that He has prepared for them a table in this wilderness that is sufficient to feed them all the way to the heavenly Canaan. Therefore, week by week saints of all strengths and degrees of maturity gather in Zion and Christ the good Shepherd comes to feed them. He says open your mouth wide, and I will fill it (Psalm 81:10), and by faith they do.
Christ feeds His poor ones in Zion but our text describes this as in a most copious manner. God says he will not only bless but ‘abundantly bless her provision’ so that her poor will be ‘satisfied’ with bread v15. The word translated ‘satisfy’ comes from the word to be full. It can also mean ‘enough’ and on occasions to be ‘weary’ in the sense of a person having had enough of something. Christ’s appointment of Word and Sacrament for His Church is enough to sustain his people in this life and He can and will bless these means so that His people are satisfied to the full. These means are enough because through them Christ communicates Himself to the believing soul. They are enough because He is enough! There is sufficient in Christ to satisfy the hungry, thirsty and longing soul of every one of His people. When they come to ‘Zion’ to hear the Word preached or to sit at the Lord’s Table, there really is more in the sermon or in the bread and wine, received by faith, than if the minister could present the whole universe to them on a plate. They are poor in spirit but theirs is a blessed poverty for when they are poor in this way, they are infinitely rich. Theirs is also a blessed hunger because Jesus promises that He will fill them ‘Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled.’ This has always been the Lord’s promise to his people – He will feed and fully satisfy his poor saints in Zion.