Psalms of Ascent – What do they teach us about our Lord?

The Lord gladly answers us when we call out to Him in our distress (Psalm 120)

The Lord exercises His watchcare over us when we face physical and spiritual dangers (Psalm 121).

The Lord is worthy of our thankful praise for He extends peace to us (Psalm 122).

The enthroned God of heaven delights to show mercy to us (Psalm 123).

The providential Lord draws near to His suffering people to deliver us (Psalm 124).

Our trustworthy Lord surrounds his people and offers us true security (Psalm 125).

The Lord who weeps promises future joys for tearful sowers (Psalm 126).

Our Lord is the divine architect and builder of our lives, families, and church. Therefore, he sets us free from the blasphemous anxiety of trying to do his work for him (Psalm 127).

Our blessed Lord comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found: in our work, our families, our church, and our community (Psalm 128).

Our suffering Lord enters into the affliction of His people and is afflicted Himself in order to ultimately end all affliction (Psalm 129).

Our gracious Lord delights to forgive sin and redeem us (Psalm 130).

Our high and holy Lord sets his people free from the spiritual cancer of pride (Psalm 131).

Our Lord has chosen the new Zion as your dwelling place, the Church as your place of rest. and have kindled in it a lamp that will burn brightly forever before Jesus Christ, our anointed ing.

Our Lord delights when his people reflect his nature and dwell together in unity (Psalm 133).

Our Lord, the maker of heaven and earth, looks down with delight when His family gathers for worship and graciously pours out His blessing (Psalm 134).

 

Going to the House of the Lord

Sinclair Ferguson claims that the Psalms of Ascent serve as “A Hitchhiker’s Guide for Spiritual Survival.” In Psalm 122, the hitchhiker anticipates what it will be like to worship in the house of the Lord. He says in verse 1: “I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD.'”

Few things ought to rejuvenate and refresh our spirits more than a trip to the house of God.  Which house of God is the Psalmist discussing? This Psalm may be looked at in three very different ways. All with good biblical warrant.

Literally, it is about worship in the earthly city of Jerusalem.Symbolically, it can be applied to the church as the author of Hebrews applies it (Hebrews 12).Prophetically, Psalm 122 directs our thinking to the new Jerusalem, of which the earthly city is but a type. Believers are called to look for and long for the city that is to come. Hebrews 13:14 reminds us: “For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.”

We too are pilgrims who should long for and love our times of corporate worship. But, we are marching up another hill – to our new, heavenly Jerusalem. When we arrive there all of our struggle with sin and weakness will be forever gone.

In the late 1700s, George Horne wrote beautifully about this:

A day is coming when we shall be called to the house of the Lord not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. One day you will hear: “Your labors and sorrows are at an end, and the hour of your transferral is come; put off mortality and misery at once; quit your house of bondage, and the land of your captivity; fly forth, and ‘let us go together into the house of the Lord, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.’”

What if God eliminated suffering? – A Reflection for Good Friday

One question that skeptics and believers both ask frequently is: “if God is so loving, why does He allow suffering and evil?”

The Psalms of Ascent (Psalm 120-134) are written to facilitate the worship of God’s pilgrim people on their journey up to Jerusalem. One notable feature of the journey of faith is oppression and suffering.

Good Friday is a great time to reflect on Psalm 129. In it, the Psalmist laments the repeated and frequent afflictions of his people. This Psalm is most applicable to Jesus on Good Friday for He is the ultimate sufferer whose back is plowed to bring healing to us – His sin-sick people.

But what would life be like in our fallen world if God eliminated suffering? Malcolm Muggeridge, a noted British author and journalist answers:

“Supposing you eliminated suffering, what a dreadful place the world would be. The world would be the most ghastly place because everything that corrects the tendency of this unspeakable little creature, man, to feel over-important and over-pleased with himself would disappear. He’s bad enough now, but he would be absolutely intolerable if he never suffered” (Jesus Rediscovered, 1969. pp. 199-200).