Psalm 120 - Too long

Psalm 120 - Too long

Read: Psalm 120 vs 1-7

Psalms 120-134 share a common title in our Bibles. Together they are called the ‘songs of ascents’. The word ascent means ‘to go up’. In North Antrim people talk about ‘going up to Belfast’, in Cavan people talk about ‘going up to Dublin’. In Bible times people talked about ‘going up to Jerusalem’ and once a year people of faith made this journey of pilgrimage, going to Jerusalem to worship at the temple. As they travelled the road ‘up to Jerusalem ‘ they sang these ‘songs of ascents’.

In Psalm 120 we get a sense of anticipation as the writer of this song looks forward to gathering with other believers in a place where God’s name is honoured and worshipped. They have been in distress, but as Jerusalem gets closer they anticipate God meeting them and answering them (vs 1). Many people have opposed them but they believe that the time is getting close when God will defend the justice of their cause (vs 2-4).

Meshed and Kedar (vs 5) were two pagan regions which were far away from each other. Naming these two places the writer of the Psalm pictures themselves as having been in situations where no matter where they were they were surrounded by unbelief. But now these times are almost past.

In the Hebrew language the name Jerusalem means ‘city of peace’. The peace of being in Jerusalem is not far away and this gives this person strength for the journey that is yet to come (vs 7).

The New Testament pictures all Christians as being on a road that ultimately leads to a ‘new Jerusalem’, an image of the place where we will see God face to face and worship Him in a new creation (Revelation 21: 1-4, 22: 3-4). We’re not there yet, but the promise of what is to come keeps faithful people going. Psalm 120 gives us a song to sing along the way.