Dec. 4. Songs of Ascent

Ps. 120:1-121:8; 123:1-125:5

It is thought that these psalms were sung as the people ascended the hill to worship at the newly rebuilt temple. Some are attributed to David and Solomon while others may have been written for that occasion. There was a renewed sense of rejoicing and worship among the returned exiles. These psalms consist of various praises and prayers to God.

The psalmist cried out to the Lord for deliverance from lying lips and the consequences of those who believed the lies. He called for peace with his enemies, but they only sought war. The source of one’s help is the Lord, the Creator—not the creation. Man is not able to succeed alone without the hand of God who never sleeps, to guide and protect him. God’s children are not immune to pain and suffering, but ultimately, if we remain faithful, salvation will come.

As servants are dependent upon their masters for sustenance and protection, man depends upon God for His mercy and care. The returned exiles had suffered intense scorn and hate from neighboring countries. It was God who had led them home. Without His protection and guidance, they would have been overwhelmed as a swollen stream consumes everything in its path. However, they were allowed to return to their homeland as a bird who has escaped from his captors. As the apostle, Paul stated many years later in Rom. 8:31, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Those who trust in the Lord will be unmovable as a mountain and surrounded by Him as the mountains surround Jerusalem. The wicked will not prevail against them, but will ultimately be led to destruction.

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