Meditation on Psalm 125 … giving attention to ascents, foundations, & escapes

Psalm 125:1-5 (esv) ~ A Song of Ascents.  1 Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.  2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people, from this time forth and forevermore.  3 For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous, lest the righteous stretch out their hands to do wrong.  4 Do good, O Lord, to those who are good, and to those who are upright in their hearts!  5 But those who turn aside to their crooked ways the Lord will lead away with evildoers!  Peace be upon Israel!

Parents of youngsters are kind to fill me in on the beyond-their-years spiritual insights of their children.  These sometimes bring a laugh, but more often they bring shouts of praise to God ~ that our little ones are (at some level) getting it, concerning the deep, saving truths of God.  May these episodes multiply a hundredfold; and may they continue for parents of grown-ups too!  My daughters are not children, but as my 23-year-old has chosen to live at home, I get more interaction with her than with my other three.  I am always glad for the ways God uses this one to spur me on to love and good deeds, and into careful consideration of God’s manifold truth.

Today we will be looking at Psalm 125 for a few minutes because several days ago this daughter asked me what Psalm 125:3 means.  It is wonderful that she has such respect for her father, imagining that I have given careful thought to every Bible verse!  I winged it well enough that she is none-the-wiser about my true status as a Bible student (!), but then I resolved to dig in some more.  I marvel that God’s word has a newness factor about it, and so it is unlike any other literature.  Simply, there is always more!

Psalm 125 is one of the Songs of Ascent, written and assembled as traveling songs for Hebrew pilgrims on their way to and from the several annual feasts in Jerusalem.  So they are for the worshiping community and (at least symbolically) for God’s people who are on the journey of life.  So there are many ups and downs, and these are reflected right away in Psalm 125:1 (since the issue of “trust” is not necessary, unless there are causes for anxiety).  Trips to Jerusalem back then (and even today!) involved much travail, and your life has had its fill of worrisome moments.  So we tell one another the greater truth ~ that we should trust in the Lord because He is trustworthy, and through that God-given faith He will make us as steadfast as the mountain toward which we journey.

Any mountain will do for the picture of stability, but Mount Zion is the dwelling place of God, the throne of God’s King, and the place of sacrifice where God meets with man through an adequate stand in.  Those of you in Christ Jesus have all of this, and so the fears associated with your journey find their place.

This Psalm closes with a prayer, that God will be good to the good, and upright to the upright.  Well, in a clear way, that is not about you and me!  Recall the context, that we are pilgrims on our way to Jerusalem, to participate in ceremonies having to do with Atonement, Passover, and Booths … that is, signs of our need for cleansing and constant provision.  So think about this modern figure of speech, something you might say to a friend with whom you’ve been having some trouble:  “Are we good?”  Are we, currently, in a good relationship?  Those who are “in good” with God get good, His good.

So we come to my daughter’s question, concerning the meaning of Psalm 125:3.  For those of us who are still living in this wicked world where it is very hard to do good (especially since this world often rewards the bad), we profess that God will make a way for His righteous ones to live uprightly.  God will not leave us with sin as our only option.  He provides His ways of escape.  1 Corinthians 10:13 ~ No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.  And God is faithful.  He will, with the temptation, provide a way of escape, so that you will be able to stand up under it.  So we have no excuse to sin, but we do have the assurance of God’s power and the opportunity to witness for Him throughout the sorrows and joys, the trials and victories of this journey.