“Until I find out a place for the Lord, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob. Lo, we heard of it at Ephratah: we found it in the fields of the wood. We will go into his tabernacles: we will worship at his footstool.” (Psalm 132:5-7)
These fascinating verses may well have a double meaning. First, a retrospective reference to David’s desire to build a temple for God, and second, a prophecy concerning a still-future habitation for God. Ephratah was the same as Bethlehem, the birthplace of both David and his greater son, Jesus.
The writer of this psalm may have been King Hezekiah, a contemporary of the prophet Micah, who had written: “Thou, Bethlehem Ephratah,…out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2). He was also a contemporary of Isaiah, who had written concerning this same coming Son: “His name shall be called…The mighty God” (Isaiah 9:6).
David had desired to build an earthly habitation for the mighty God of Israel; Isaiah had said this “mighty God” would be “a child born” and “a Son given”; and Micah said He would be born in Bethlehem Ephratah. Our psalmist must have been thinking about these truths when he saw, through the future eyes of those “in the fields of the wood,” “at Ephratah,” this “place for the Lord,” who then would go to “worship at His footstool.”
Some 800 years later, “there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the fields” at Bethlehem Ephratah, when a great host of angels told them the promised Savior had come, directing them to go to His “habitation” to worship Him. And that was where they did, indeed, find Him, “wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger” (Luke 2:8, 12), and they were the very first to “worship at his footstool.” HMM
From Days of Praise