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!
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