Psalm 123

A Song of Ascents

To you I lift up my eyes,     
O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
Behold, as the eyes of servants     
look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a maidservant     
to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the Lord our God,     
till he has mercy upon us.

Have mercy upon us, O Lord,
have mercy upon us,     
for we have had more than enough
of contempt.
Our soul has had more than enough     
of the scorn of those who are at ease,     
of the contempt of the proud.

Psalm 123 ESV

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For God’s sake (and yours).

King David Art
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!     
“May they be secure who love you!
Peace be within your walls     
and security within your towers!”
For my brothers and companions’ sake     
I will say, “Peace be within you!”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.
Psalm 122:6-9 ESV

Our motivation for praying, even praying for others, will rarely (probably never) be free from selfishness in one shape or another. That we may pray, ultimately, not for our own sake, or for the sake of others, but in everything for the sake of the glory of God, is something to wonder at. Derek Kidner comments on Psalm 122:8-9…

“What Jerusalem was to the Israelite, the church is to the Christian. Here are his closest ties, his brethren and companions, known and unknown, drawn to the one centre as fellow-pilgrims.  

Before Thy throne we daily meet
As joint petitioners to Thee;
In spirit we each other greet,
And shall again each other see. (R. Baxter)

“And whatever the limitations of its citizens, Jerusalem was where God saw fit to build his house. The simple response to this, I will seek your good, was the least that such a fact demanded; and it had no upper limit. For the Christian it has, besides, no territorial boundary. For the inspiring implications of this, see Hebrews 12:22-24.

22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,
23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,
24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

Hebrews 12:22-24 ESV

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Psalm 122

A Song of Ascents. Of David.

I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord!”
Our feet have been standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem!

Jerusalem—built as a city
that is bound firmly together,
to which the tribes go up,
the tribes of the Lord,
as was decreed for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the Lord.
There thrones for judgment were set,
the thrones of the house of David.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
“May they be secure who love you!
Peace be within your walls
and security within your towers!”
For my brothers and companions’ sake
I will say, “Peace be within you!”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your good.

Psalm 122 ESV

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Living well in an unwell world.

Psalms decorative

Woe to me, that I sojourn in Meshech,
that I dwell among the tents of Kedar!
Psalm 120:5 ESV

 

 

 

Charles Spurgeon wrote about Psalm 120:5 … “As a Christian you have to live in the midst of an ungodly world, and it is of little use for you to cry “Woe is me.” Jesus did not pray that you should be taken out of the world, and what he did not pray for, you need not desire. Better far in the Lord’s strength to meet the difficulty, and glorify him in it.

“…. Seek to be useful as well as consistent. Perhaps you think, “If I were in a more favourable position I might serve the Lord’s cause, but I cannot do any good where I am”; but the worse the people are among whom you live, the more need have they of your exertions; if they be crooked, the more necessity that you should set them straight; and if they be perverse, the more need have you to turn their proud hearts to the truth.

“Where should the physician be but where there are many sick? Where is honour to be won by the soldier but in the hottest fire of the battle? And when weary of the strife and sin that meets you on every hand, consider that all the saints have endured the same trial. They were not carried on beds of down to heaven, and you must not expect to travel more easily than they. They had to hazard their lives unto the death in the high places of the field, and you will not be crowned till you also have endured hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Therefore, “stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.”

From Charles Spurgeon in Morning and Evening

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Psalm 120

A Song of Ascents

In my distress I called to the Lord,     
and he answered me.
Deliver me, O Lord,     
from lying lips,     
from a deceitful tongue.

What shall be given to you,     
and what more shall be done to you,     
you deceitful tongue?
A warrior’s sharp arrows,     
with glowing coals of the broom tree!

Woe to me, that I sojourn in Meshech,     
that I dwell among the tents of Kedar!
Too long have I had my dwelling     
among those who hate peace.
I am for peace,     
but when I speak, they are for war!

Psalm 120 ESV

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Bound for Glory?

Psalms decorative
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!     
We bless you from the house of the Lord.
The Lord is God,     
and he has made his light to shine upon us.
Bind the festal sacrifice with cords,     
up to the horns of the altar!
Psalm 118:26-27 ESV

 

Sometimes, the only way lies in harm’s way, so, rather than looking to avoid even the risk of harm, in order to accomplish God’s will in God’s way, we set ourselves to do the difficult, even dangerous thing, trusting God not just for the outcome, but for our life, sometimes physically, but almost always, certainly, spiritually.

Dr. G. Campbell Morgan writes on Psalm 118:27 – “(Psalm 118) is the last of the songs composing the Hallel, the last stage in the hymn which Jesus sang with His disciples before He moved out to Olivet. … It is a call to praise for one reason, and that is that ‘His steadfast love endures forever’ (118:1).

“It tells of deliverance from bondage, from peril, from calamity. It celebrates the entrance of the delivered to the Temple, the House of God. … and it certainly is the Song of the Redeemed, and they recognize how mysteriously and yet how mightily God has (worked) on their behalf. It is equally the Song of the One Who has accomplished this deliverance, the Stone rejected (by) the builders, Who becomes the Head of the Corner.

“…does it not seem fitting that here words should occur which reveal the fundamental need of sacrifice in order (for) redemption? The sacrificial lamb was at the heart of the Passover feast. The binding with cords to that end was necessary. – (May) we suggest that here the idea (is) that of sanctuary or safety formed by taking hold upon the hires of the altar?

“Reverently at least apply the idea to the mind of Jesus as He sang. All that was coming was necessary. He was bound to suffer and to die; but He was in the one place of sanctuary, of safety. In His cooperation with God on the sacrificial pathway, He was assured of perfect victory. He was accomplishing the Exodus.”

From Dr. G. Campbell Morgan in Searchlights From the Word.

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Psalm 118:1;19-29

 

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!

Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the Lord.
This is the gate of the Lord;
the righteous shall enter through it.
I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Save us, we pray, O Lord!
O Lord, we pray, give us success!

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
We bless you from the house of the Lord.
The Lord is God,
and he has made his light to shine upon us.
Bind the festal sacrifice with cords,
up to the horns of the altar!

You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
you are my God; I will extol you.
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!

Psalm 118:1; 19-29 ESV

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