Psalm 125


A Song of Ascents.

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,     
which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,     
so the Lord surrounds his people,     
from this time forth and forevermore.

For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest     
on the land allotted to the righteous,
lest the righteous stretch out     
their hands to do wrong.

Do good, O Lord, to those who are good,     
and to those who are upright in their hearts!
But those who turn aside to their crooked ways     
the Lord will lead away with evildoers!     
Peace be upon Israel!

Psalm 125 ESV

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Another fine mess?

King David Art

Our help is in the name of the Lord,     
who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 124:8 ESV

As a preschooler, my curiosity (I can’t bring myself to say my stupidity) led to me finding myself with my head caught between the bars of our garden gate. I had gotten myself into this mess but could not get myself out. My father laughed but from where he stood he could see the way out and (gently enough) extricated me from my mess. Dr. G. Campbell Morgan comments on Psalm124:8…

“To those who know what it is truly to wait upon God with dependence, obedience, and response, there are constant occasions for the use of such a song as this. To look back over life’s way is to realize how constantly we have been brought into circumstances which must have engulfed and destroyed us, had it not been that Jehovah was on our side. Seeing that He has been on our side, the story of life has been one continuous story of His deliverances and of our escapes from perilous positions. Indeed, these words tell all the truth about our deliverances and escapes.

“We have often involved ourselves in entanglements, through our own disobedience; but we have never been able to extricate ourselves from them. Escape has always come by His action. “Our help is in the name of the LORD,” and in none other. Let us never fail to remember this; and to give to God the glory due to His Name, in our praises.”

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

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Psalm 124

A Song of Ascents. Of David.

If it had not been the Lord who was
on our side—     
let Israel now say—
if it had not been the Lord who was on our
side     
when people rose up against us,
then they would have swallowed us up alive,     
when their anger was kindled against us;
then the flood would have swept us away,     
the torrent would have gone over us;
then over us would have gone     
the raging waters.

Blessed be the Lord,     
who has not given us     
as prey to their teeth!
We have escaped like a bird     
from the snare of the fowlers;
the snare is broken,     
and we have escaped!

Our help is in the name of the Lord,     
who made heaven and earth.

Psalm 124 ESV

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Look Up!

Psalms decorative

To you I lift up my eyes,     
O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
Psalm 123:1 ESV

 

Charles Dickens suggested it was a problem with people who considered themselves to be like signposts (giving direction to others) that, like signposts, they themselves had rarely been to the place they suggested. It is better for us surely to have our eyes fixed on our goal than to risk being delayed (or misdirected) by looking at signposts (however attractive) along the way.

Charles Spurgeon commented on Psalm 123:1….

“It is good to have someone to look up to. The Psalmist looked so high that he could look no higher.  Not to the hills (Psalm 121) but to the God of the hills he looked. He believed in a personal God, and knew nothing of that modern pantheism which is nothing more than atheism wearing a figleaf. The uplifted eyes naturally and instinctively represent the state of the heart which fixes desire, hope, confidence, and expectation upon the Lord. God is everywhere, and yet it is most natural to think of him as being above us, in that glory-land which lies beyond the skies. “O you who are enthroned in the heavens,’ just sets forth the unsophisticated idea of a child of God in distress; God is, God is in heaven, God resides in one place, and God is evermore the same, therefore will I look to Him.

“When we cannot look to any helper on a level with us it is greatly wise to look above us; in fact, if we have a thousand helpers, our eyes should still be toward the lord. The higher the Lord is, the better for our faith, since that height represents power, glory, and excellence, and these will be all engaged on our behalf. We ought to be very thankful for spiritual eyes; the blind men of this world, however much of human learning they may possess, cannot behold our God, for in heavenly matters they are devoid of sight.

“Yet we must use our eyes with resolution, for they will not go upward to the Lord of themselves, but they incline to look downward, or inward, or anywhere but to the Lord: let it be our firm resolve that the heavenward glance shall not be lacking. If we cannot see God, at least we will look towards him.

“God is in heaven as a king in his palace; he is there revealed, adored and glorified: thence he looks down on the world and sends (help) to his saints as their needs demand: hence we look up, even when our sorrow is so great that we can do no more.”

From Charles Spurgeon in The Treasury of David

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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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