1ST DAY IN THE ASCENT PSALMS
Retired Pastor Jeremy Stopford
September 8, 2020
Today is our first day in the study of the “Ascent Psalms” – Psalms 120-134. I would encourage you to read them, a reading which can be done in one sitting! They are loaded with practical help! My favorite above all is Psalm 131, but perhaps you’ll find one that you will treasure.
Complete these familiar sentences, and then tell me – what do they all have in common?
* This world is not my home, I’m just ….
* When the roll is called up yonder …
* In the sweet by and by we shall meet …
* He is too heavenly minded and of no …
* Face to face in all His glory I shall …
How did you do? Did you see the theme “journey” in these familiar sentences? The “Ascent Psalms” were written while the Israelites were on their way to Jerusalem. The occasions? Either at the time of returning from captivity OR while going to the temple for the various sacrifices throughout the year.
THEME VERSE OF STUDY – perhaps you should memorize it!
“Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage. (Psalm 84:5 NKJV)
For additional challenge, check out:
Psalm 119:54 – “Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.”
Exodus 6:4 – “ I have also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, in which they were strangers.”
Genesis 47:9 – “And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The days of the years of my pilgrimage are one hundred and thirty years; few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.”
OUTLINE OF PSALM 120 (Dr. W. Graham Scroggie)
- Supplication (vs. 1-2)
- Retribution (vs. 3-4)
- Lamentation (vs. 5-6)
HELPFUL TOOLS:“broom tree” (v. 4) (“juniper” KJV) = thrive in poor soil; roots make good fuel and charcoal
“Meshech” (v. 5) = a town in far north of Israel
“Kedar” (v. 5) = a town in far south of Israel
TO WHET YOUR APPETITE: LESSON QUESTIONS FOR YOU:
In your life, how have you completed the statement of verse 1:
“In my distress I ………… Honest? Are you being honest in your answer?How has God answered your “cry”?
Is the psalmist requesting a deliverance from a condition, or from people (v. 2)?
How are words with an edge of war an indication of a non-journeying heart? (v. 5)
What should be the Christian’s response to such an heart?
Using the “helpful tools” of “Meshech” and “Kedar”, where did the author dwell? Why was this a concern? Did they feel “at home”? Did the author feel “at home”?
The psalmist was on a journey, just like us! In that journey, he learned some amazing lessons – and we should be so thankful that he put them in to print – under the inspiration of God’s wonderful Holy Spirit. Look at all the amazing things that we have been given insight that the psalmist learned in his journey of faith:
In his distress – whether specific or not – he knew he had the freedom and joy of “crying” to the Lord. And what did he experience? THAT GOD HEARD HIM!
Have you learned that freedom? Have you experienced God’s “hearing”?
In his journey, he was surrounded by “lying lips” and a “deceitful tongue”?
Are you surrounded by liars and deceivers who seem genuine but end up being someones who drag you down in your journey of faith?
In his journey, he zeroed in on the foundation: “his soul” (v. 6).
Is your soul’s journey of faith in Christ your foundation for your daily walk in the real world where the wise Lord purposely placed you?
Father, as I travel my journey of faith, I have already seen many who would drag me down away from You, the Author and Finisher of my faith.
Keep me tenderly to Your Book!
When I am down, when discouraged by the residents of my “Meshech”s and my “Kedar”s, may my soul be lifted up with Your Presence and grace.
You brought me to this journey of faith at the cross.
I trust You to bring me all the way HOME in your perfect timing.
I love you today! Thank You for wisely planning the journey through which I tread today…
In Jesus’ Precious Name, AMEN!