Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Traveling Songs

Psalm 120 to 134 are songs of ascent. They were like marching songs that you sang on a journey. In this case it was the journey to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is surrounded by mountains.. no matter what direction you come from to travel to the city you must travel uphill to get to it.

Perhaps as a family you had songs you sang together in the car on a long trip. If you served in the military you might have had songs you sang as you marched or accomplished certain tasks. Tunes that are played at certain times on an instrument to let you know what came next.

They sang these songs on the way to Israel for the three pilgrim feasts.

"Three times in the year you shall keep a feast to me." - Exodus 23:14 ESV

"Three times a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God at the place that he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Booths. They shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed." - Deuteronomy 16:16 ESV

If you read these Psalms they are full of therapy and instruction. No one group was singing them alone either. Groups coming to Jerusalem were singing them as they came from every direction.

They are short Psalms but here is a glimpse of each one. Maybe you could read them later... they bring a person on a journey...

"A Song of Ascents. In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me... Too long have I had my dwelling among those who hate peace. I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war!" - Psalms 120:1, 6-7 ESV

"A Song of Ascents. I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth... The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore." - Psalms 121:1-2, 7-8 ESV

"A Song of Ascents. Of David. I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the LORD!" Our feet have been standing within your gates, O Jerusalem! Jerusalem - built as a city that is bound firmly together, to which the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, as was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the LORD... For my brothers and companions' sake I will say, 'Peace be within you!' For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your good." - Psalms 122:1-4, 8-9 ESV

"A Song of Ascents. To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens! Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he has mercy upon us. Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt. Our soul has had more than enough of the scorn of those who are at ease, of the contempt of the proud." - Psalms 123:1-4 ESV

"A Song of Ascents. Of David. If it had not been the LORD who was on our side - let Israel now say - if it had not been the LORD who was on our side when people rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us up alive, when their anger was kindled against us; then the flood would have swept us away, the torrent would have gone over us... We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped! Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth." - Psalms 124:1-4, 7-8 ESV

"A Song of Ascents. Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore... But those who turn aside to their crooked ways the LORD will lead away with evildoers! Peace be upon Israel!" - Psalms 125:1-2, 5 ESV

"A Song of Ascents. When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, "The LORD has done great things for them." The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad... He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him." - Psalms 126:1-3, 6 ESV

"A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon. Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep..." - Psalms 127:1-2 ESV

"A Song of Ascents. Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways! You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you... May you see your children's children! Peace be upon Israel!" - Psalms 128:1-2, 6 ESV

"A Song of Ascents. "Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth"-- let Israel now say-- "Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth, yet they have not prevailed against me. The plowers plowed upon my back; they made long their furrows." The LORD is righteous; he has cut the cords of the wicked. May all who hate Zion be put to shame and turned backward!..." - Psalms 129:1-5 ESV

"A Song of Ascents. Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD! O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy! If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared... O Israel, hope in the LORD! For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption. And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities." - Psalms 130:1-4, 7-8 ESV

"A Song of Ascents. Of David. O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore." - Psalms 131:1-3 ESV

"A Song of Ascents. Remember, O LORD, in David's favor, all the hardships he endured, how he swore to the LORD and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob, 'I will not enter my house or get into my bed, I will not give sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids, until I find a place for the LORD, a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.'... There I will make a horn to sprout for David; I have prepared a lamp for my anointed. His enemies I will clothe with shame, but on him his crown will shine." - Psalms 132:1-5, 17-18 ESV

"A Song of Ascents. Of David. Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the LORD has commanded the blessing, life forevermore." - Psalms 133:1-3 ESV

"A Song of Ascents. Come, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD, who stand by night in the house of the LORD! Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the LORD! May the LORD bless you from Zion, he who made heaven and earth!" - Psalms 134:1-3 ESV

In a way the journey to Jerusalem is our journey through life as we take step after step. Coming out of places of backbiting and deceptive talk and into the place where 'brothers dwell together in unity' is a beautiful journey. Going from the anguish of our trouble and lifting our hands to worship in the Holy place is so refreshing. Remembering as we go... David and the horn of power that sprung out from his family line, the Messiah, the Savior, Jesus the son of God.

"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." - Hebrews 4:15-16 ESV

Let's go there. I mean today. Let's present ourselves.

Let's make the trips into the fields bearing seed so we can continue on our journey of worship with more singers at our side.

We don't go alone. God hears our song.


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