November 11, 2015.
Daily Reading: Psalm 120-122.
Background: Psalm 119.
Concepts and Connections.
A cry for deliverance: Psalm 120 begins a set of fifteen psalms (120-134) that are labeled as “Songs of Ascents,” a phrase of which different opinions have formed as to its meaning. Two notable views put forth that these psalms were psalms that the children of Israel would sing along the way to Jerusalem for the three pilgrim festivals that would be held three times a year (the journey to Jerusalem was uphill, so the pilgrims would be ascending both physically and spiritually to Jerusalem, the holy city) according to Deuteronomy 16:16, and/or they were psalms that were sung by the Levitical priests on the 15 steps of the temple, one psalm for each step. This first psalm of ascents is a cry to the Lord in distress for deliverance from the lying lips and deceitful tongues of the people around the psalmist, as he dwells in a land that hates peace. The psalmist has dwelt in these lands for too long, and this psalm would be a very good psalm to begin the ascent into Jerusalem, coming out of the lands that hate peace and into the holy city, if this view of the psalms of ascents is correct. Regardless, this psalm focuses on the deliverance of the Lord.
The Lord will keep you: Another psalm of ascents (see Psalm 120), this psalm focuses on the strength and protection of the Lord. The psalm opens with the psalmist lifting his eyes to the hills, fitting for a journey ascending to Jerusalem (see previous chapter), to teach a lesson on where his help comes from- the Lord, Creator of heaven and earth. Note the trust that the psalmist puts in the Lord here, as He is the One who keeps Israel from stumbling. The psalmist sings to his audience that the Lord is their keeper, shade and protection, keeping their life and watching over their going out and coming in forevermore. We should look to the Lord our God to be our strength and protection just as the psalmist does here, putting our life and trust fully into His hands.
Jerusalem and the house of the Lord: Another psalm of ascents (see Psalm 120), this psalm is attributed to David and it is focused on the house of the Lord and Jerusalem, the holy city. It opens in joy for the journey to the house of the Lord and continues on to lift up Jerusalem as the place where all the tribes of Israel come to to give thanks to the name of the Lord. Prayer is offered for the peace of Jerusalem and those who love the city, prayer for peace and security within her walls. The psalmist ends with a promise to seek the good of Jerusalem for the sake of the House of the Lord. Let us ever be this joyful to go up the the house of the Lord to give thanks and praise His name.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Ecclesiastes 5-6.
Lift your eyes to the Lord.