The Joy of Being Where You've Always Wanted to Be
Songs for the Journey (3): Sermons on the Psalms of Ascents
Reading: Psalm 122
Have you ever experienced the joy being somewhere you've always wanted to be & the surreal excitement of knowing you’re actually there? That will help you understand how Jewish pilgrims felt when they arrived in Jerusalem! What we essentially have in Psalm 122 is a song expressing the sheer joy of being in Jerusalem & the unity experienced there, as well as prayer for the peace & security of Jerusalem. From a whole Bible perspective such joy & unity will be fully realised, & this prayer fully answered, when as God’s people we stand within New Jerusalem with all the redeemed of every nation, tribe & tongue to worship under Christ our eternal King!
Songs for the Journey (2): Sermons on the Psalms of Ascents
Reading: Psalm 121
Psalm 121 is all about knowing God’s protection as his pilgrim people. Six times the author uses the Hebrew word ‘shámar’ to speak of God’s protection. The Psalm opens with a declaration of where the Psalmists help comes from (1-2). It comes from the maker of heaven & earth, pointing us to the truth of God’s infinite power! In context the specific help needed is protection. The God who created the hills is well able to protect pilgrims from any dangers lurking in the hills! The Psalm declares that as your all-powerful protector God will watch over all your steps (3-4), is right beside you in the challenges of the day & night (5-6) & will ultimately preserve you from all evil, in all of life, forevermore (7-8)!
Songs for the Journey (1): Sermons on the Psalms of Ascents
Reading: Psalm 120
Psalm 120 is the first of a collection of Psalms known as the Songs of Ascents (Psalm 120-134). This group of Psalms, written at different times by different artists, became the songs Jewish pilgrims sang on their way up to Jerusalem for major festivals. Psalm 120 was originally written by someone a long way from Jerusalem, likely in the time of the exile, so it's fitting this Psalm begins this collection. The author is clearly distressed with lies & deceit & has had his fill of residing among those opposed to God’s way of peace, he expresses all this very strongly. It’s okay for us to feel like this & express it to God in prayer. However, like the Psalmist we also need to trust in God's deliverance, leave justice with him & remain committed to peace! This Psalm helps us remember as Christians we do not fit comfortably in the present world because we are resident aliens, pilgrims on our way to the New Jerusalem!
When everything in life goes wrong does it mean we have lost favour with God or that he has forsaken or forgotten us? The central truth of Psalm 42 & 43 (originally one song) gives a resounding NO & instead declares that even on the worst day of life God is still orchestrating his steadfast love for us! He is not only the LORD of our good days & good times but he is the God of our whole life! This is why his people can have chorus of living hope ringing in our hearts in the midst of all inward & outward trials of life.
Reading: Psalm 42-43
Reading: Psalm 51
This message looks at Psalm 119, a love poem about the word of God.It is the longest Psalm & longest chapter in the Bible found in the central pages of our Bible. It expresses in the most passionate & beautiful way how we should view & feel about all of God's written word. The Bible is not God but it is God's voice, God's view, God's opinion, God's standard on morality, justice, mercy & righteousness etc, God's story of creation & redemption. This is why is it wholly appropriate for the Psalmist & us to treasure & speak of the words of God with great affection & esteem. Love, trust & esteem for God & his words rise together. God is not who he is because of what the Bible is, the Bible is what it is because of who he is. It can be trusted as completely faithful & true because God himself is completely faithful & true. It is unchanging because he is unchanging. We esteem the Bible so highly & love it so much not because it is an end in itself but because it is the breathed out word of God.
Bible Text: Psalm 119
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