Psalm 120 – 128

120 – Deliverance from Hostility (Hezekiah?)

Speaks about how we are to live in this world but be a part of it.  The psalmist asks for deliverance from those who tell lies, falsely accuse him and are warlike.

 

121 – Depend on God, He’ll take care of You (Hezekiah?)

God is the creator of everything, he is all powerful, watches over us day and night, he shields and guards us.  He will help us, we can count on him.

 

122 – Entering the Presence of God  and Praying for Others (David)

Worship is a joy and a delight!  We are able to come before the creator of everything with not only our thanksgivings and problems but have the responsibility and privilege to hold up others in prayer.

 

123 – Seeking Mercy (Hezekiah?)

Be patient and persistent in prayer.  Follow God’s leading, look for his mercies have faith in him.

 

124 – God Delivers (David)

There are those who seek to harm us but God is on our side.  He all powerful and will provide a way out.  He has shown that he can be depended upon, he never leaves us.  He is our helper.

 

125 – God is Our Protector (Hezekiah?)

Like the mountains, God surrounds us, protects us and his character and promises do not change according to the whims of man.  God is steadfast and his Word endures forever.

 

126 – God does Great Things – Grief to Joy (anonymous written during Ezra’s time)

God  returned the Israelites from exile to their homeland.  God can release us from captivity of sin, turn tragedy to triumph, grief to joy.  A great harvest is coming and we will be
with him once again, be patient in hope!

 

127 – God Must Be in Every Part of Our Lives (Solomon)

Trying to live without God denies us the opportunity and blessing of a spiritual connection with our family and friends.  We need God as a foundation in all of our relationships.  Our children are valuable to God and we can learn from them how to be trusting and seeking of knowledge.

 

128 – God is the Head of the Home (Hezekiah? Often sung at Israelite Marriages)

Blessings and peace will be given to those families who revere God and honor the principles laid out in scripture.  We need to be loving, honest, serving others, diligent, prayerful, joyful and thankful.  

#2 – Another Reflection

(found in your Pew Bible on Pages 603 to 605)

 

In Psalm 120

Christians understand that we live in a world where many evil people surround us.  We must remember that we do not belong to this world, like other people — we belong to God who has a permanent home for us in heaven.  For a short period of time, we live here and are Christ’s witnesses.  When we become Christians, we must not continue to follow our evil thoughts and desires.  Instead, we invite God into our lives and ask for his help so that we can obey him.

There will be times when we still will do things that are against God’s law – then we must confess to God and he will forgive us.  Because we believe in God, there may be times when friends and family leave us because of our beliefs.  If this happens, Jesus has a promise for us – God will give us many more people to love in the future.  While there may always be trouble for us in this world, in the next world (heaven), our troubles will end because there, we will always live with God who is making a permanent home for us.

In Psalm 121

We follow a “poet” on his journey to Jerusalem where the roads are difficult and dangerous.  Besides wild animals, there were robbers, thieves, and even those who would murder anyone on the road.  There were other concerns such as travelling through a desert in the hot sun with very little water.  While many preferred to travel by night when it was cooler, they were still concerned because of the darkness and being unable to see what surrounded them.   The sight of the hill caused joy, not fear for the poet.  Every traveller could see the hill as he approached Jerusalem.  Among those hills, stood God’s temple.  God was in his temple and he defended Israel from there.

God made heaven and earth and is present everywhere – so He was also with the poet as he walked.  This Psalm promises God’s complete protection upon his servants.  He protects them from danger – he defends their lives – he is with them on their journeys.  His protection is both immediate and permanent.  The poet heard many stories about possible danger but he decided not to worry because he was God’s servant, and God was his master — he was walking to Jerusalem to worship God and God was would protect him.

In Psalm 122

We learn that the poet was please that he could go to worship God in Jerusalem and was especially pleased that many people from his hometown including relatives and friends wanted to travel to Israel as well.  It gave the poet great joy that people in his own family wanted to worship God.  It was even a greater joy to stand inside the gates of Jerusalem.  There he saw a small city with a wall around it.  But the city did not disappoint him because the wall was for the city’s protection.  The houses were very small and leaned against each other for support.  Like Israel’s people, they had come together to worship God and all the different families supported each other.  Alone they would be weak – but together, with God’s help, they made up a strong nation.

 

In Psalm 123

The focus is on prayer.  For many people, prayer is not an active thing.  They pray, and then do nothing.  The Bible teaches that we should do two other things after prayer – we should watch and wait, like servants.  Servants develop a skill when waiting for directions from their Master.  They learn to watch for eye contact, a nod of head, a slight movement such as putting two fingers together such as holding a glass which informs the servants that the master wants them to serve drinks immediately.  Other known signs, such as placing his hand flat on table like a plate, indicated the master wishes to have the food served.   The poet never forgot that God was really his master.  He was confident that God could act to rescue his people.  God knew the right time to act, and God knew the right way to act.  It took only the slightest movement of God’s finger for him to defeat his enemies (Exodus 8:19).

 

In Psalm 124

We realize that God saved people in the past and that is wonderful.  However, we are more concerned with the present and we too have problems and troubles.  God does save people in the present day.  However, if God only saves other people and not us, then that is not enough.  We each need the personal knowledge and experience that God saves us.    David knew that God had saved his nation.  But David also knew that God had saved David himself.  Some people only want God to save them from troubles in this world.  In this case, the devil remains that person’s master.   Such a person has more troubles than he ever imagined.  He must not assume that he will go to heaven.  His punishment in hell is certain.  But God wants to save people; and he wants to save them completely.  God wants to make free each person who is a slave of the devil.  God wants to forgive each person, whether that person’s evil deeds are few or many.  When God saves, he changes person’s life completely.

 

In Psalm 125

We learn lessons even from the geography of Jerusalem.  The poet sets out to teach us those lessons.  There is real security for people who trust God.  Problems cannot disturb their belief in God.  Troubles will not ruin their hope in God.  Other people may be afraid, but God’s people can be confident.  The mountain called Zion is strong because it is sold rock.  And God’s people have their security because of God’s strength and power. 

The poet does not compare their security with the strength of any mountain.  He says that they are like the mountain called Zion in particular.  That was the mountain in Jerusalem where the temple (God’s house) stood.  Zion had security because God had established it as the place for prayer.  Zion had security because of the promises that God had made.  And Zion had security because God was present there in a special way.

God’s people have security for the same three reasons.  God has established them; he has chosen them to be his people.  God has promised to help them and to guide them.  And God is with them.  He is present in their lives.

God’s people still have many troubles – there may be storms in the mountains, but the mountain stands firm whatever happens around it.  The soil on its surface may move, that is all – the mountain remains there.    In the same way, troubles may affect their bodies and their minds – but that is like the soil on the mountain’s surface.  Deep inside a person is that person’s spirit.  Unlike the body or the mind, the spirit never dies.  And if a person trusts God, that person’s troubles cannot affect the spirit.  The person’s spirit is safe because God is protecting that person.

It should be noted that this promise is not for everyone.  It is only for the person who trusts God.  The person who only trusts his own strength or his own skills is trusting something weak.  In the end, that person is certain to fail.  He cannot always be strong, and his skills have limits.  But God is always strong and there is no limit to the things that God can do.

 

In Psalm 126

 God is powerful and is active in the lives of ordinary men, women, and children.  They ask him for help, and he helps them. He changes their lives and gives them joy to replace their sad feelings.  They are glad they belong to him. 

Verse 1 shows something terrible had happened in Jerusalem.  It seems that the enemy’s army attacked Jerusalem and the soldiers had taken some of the people away as prisoners to a foreign country.  In the original language, the words could be described as some other trouble.  It says that something ‘turned round’.  They ‘turned round’ because their enemy took them away from Jerusalem.

But God did not leave Jerusalem’s people to suffer.  He ‘turned round’ too!  The poet uses a similar word to the word that described their troubles.  God ‘turned round’ to help them!  He turned to assist the people whose lives had ‘turned round’.  He rescued his suffering people.  He brought them back to Jerusalem.  There seems to be some confusion as to where these people came.  Initially, they were thought to be from Jerusalem.  The poet used the word ‘Zion’.  He may have used this word (instead of ‘Jerusalem’).  Zion was the hill in Jerusalem where God’s house, called the temple, stood.  So, by using the word ‘Zion’, the poet emphasises the connection between God and his people.   God cared about his people’s troubles and he acted to rescue them.

When this happened, it seemed like a dream.  God had done something that seemed impossible.  It was better than the people could even imagine.  They sang and they laughed. They felt so happy.  The news even astonished people in foreign countries.  People in foreign countries did not usually ‘worship’ Israel’s God.  They had their own gods which were false gods.  But those foreigners heard that the people from Israel were free again and had returned home.  Even these foreigners who worshipped false gods, were giving honour to Israel’s God.  The people in Israel also gave honour to God.  The people who returned did not say that they had saved themselves by their own clever schemes.  They knew the truth and that the foreigners were right – it was Israel’s God who had acted to help his people.  He had done good things for his people and they were very happy.

 

Psalm 128 

After David became King, he established Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city.  He built his own royal house there.  Then he wanted to build the house of God called the Temple there as well.  God sent a *prophet, called Nathan to David.  He told David that he must not build the house of God.  That was not God’s plan.  Instead, God would establish a ‘house for David.’

God did not mean that he would build a building for David.  David already had a good home to live in.  God meant that he would establish a permanent relationship with David and the future kings from David’s family.  That was what God meant by the word ‘a house for David’ (2 Samuel, Chapter 7).

It was too early for David to build God’s house.  God wanted its construction to happen only after he had given rest and peace to Israel.  That happened during the rule of Solomon, David’s son.  Because Israel’s wars had stopped, the people in Israel could work on the temple.  And they carefully followed the plans that God had given to David (1Chronicles 28: 19-21).

Because God had established David’s ‘house’ (in other words, his family), its rule lasted.  Only David’s son Solomon ruled all Israel.  But David’s family continued to rule Jerusalem for about 400 years.

Even after that, their authority to rule had not ended.  And it will never end.  Jesus Christ, who God has appointed as the King of kings, is from David’s family (Matthew 1:1; Revelation 5:5)