STUDY IN THE ASCENT PSALMS
Today is our sixth study of the “Ascent Psalms” – Psalms 120-134. Have you checked out the first 5 studies in the “BLOG/JEREMY STOPFORD” section of the amazing web site of Brother Becker?
More importantly, how are you doing in applying these amazing psalms to your life?
OUR THEME VERSE
“Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage.” (Psalm 84:5 NKJV). Have you set YOUR heart on “pilgrimage”?
OR are you in a rut, short for “ROUTINE”!???
Today we are in Psalm 125. It is a psalm both of “trust” and of “turning aside”. As we soon begin, we each need to ask ourselves, “how do I know my TRUST is really in the Lord?”.
It is a brief psalm loaded with 5 most powerful verses:
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 forever.
3 For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest
On the land allotted to the righteous,
Lest the righteous reach out their hands to iniquity.
4 Do good, O Lord, to those who are good,
And to those who are upright in their hearts.
5 As for such as turn aside to their crooked ways,
The Lord shall lead them away with the workers of iniquity.
Peace be upon Israel!
Father – today, you are inviting us to examine ourselves as to where our TRUST is. We SAY it is in YOU alone, through the work of Your Son Jesus at the cross of Calvary, and through His amazing resurrection from the dead.
We SAY that. How can we examine ourselves – like a wise doctor would our physical selves – to PROVE to ourselves that our TRUST is in YOU?
May your Spirit give us Your understanding of this most challenging psalm.
And ahead of time, we give You thanks!
In Jesus Name, Amen
OUTLINE OF PSALM 125 (Dr. W. Graham Scroggie). Title: “Confidence in God”
1. Permanence v. 1
2. Protection v. 2
3. Promise v. 3a
4. Peril v. 3b
5. Prayer v. 4
6. Prediction v. 5a
7. Peace v. 5b
SOME INTERESTING INSIGHTS
Dr. Scroggie (author of the above outline) writes, “the permanent tranquillity of God’s people, forever (v. 1), is explained by the abiding protection of their Lord, forever (v. 2)”.
Where is the psalmist when he finds his security in the Lord?
Where are YOU when you are most confident and assured of the security of the Lord? Is that a PLACE or a POSITION or a PRESENCE?
Is it a “PLACE” – do you have to be in a church, for example, in order to feel most secured in the Lord? What if the nearest church to you – one that you “feel” most “secure” in, is miles away with no means of getting there? THEN what do you DO?
Is it a “POSITION” – do you have to be in prayer, for example? On your knees? Standing up? Looking up? Hands raised? Fallen prostrate? A POSITION? So what if you are not physically able to do any of that? THEN what do you DO?
Is it a “PRESENCE” – to be enjoying the place of most security, where you know the Lord’s PRESENCE has been promised ALWAYS, where should you be? What should you be doing?
Well, it is 2020! What with all the limitations due to the recent virus, you may find yourself only at HOME! So may I make an HUGE suggestion? Why not be in the PRESENCE of the Lord in His WORD!!! He will meet you there, regardless of how you FEEL, what situations you are in, what emotions you are in, what events are overwhelming your mental state. His PRESENCE is ALWAYS in His Word.
But Brother Jeremy, what about “PRAYER”? Isn’t God’s presence always in prayer? Well, what does the Good Book say? “If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.” (Psalm 66:18). The Lord is DEAF when sin is more pressing than HE is in our lives. So, no, PRAYER does not assure God’s presence.
But His Word does! And being in Sojourn Psalms such as Psalm 125 encourages the pilgrim in the security of God’s Forever Presence!!!
But what about when I STRUGGLE? What about when I am struggling with the enemy in the work of the Lord? What about when the enemy is struggling with ME when I’m trying to live for Jesus and the enemy wants me to live for the enemy? What about when all sorts of testings are in my life, orchestrated by the Lord, to develop my character in Jesus? What if? What if? What when? What? What? What???
What ONE word describes the reason for the righteous to struggle, as found in verse 3?
Yes, the word “REACHES”. It IS possible for the righteous – those like you and me who are striving to be holy in a most unholy world – to “reach out to iniquity”. It IS possible for the sojourner to be content with where he is, rather than “forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:13b-4). It IS possible for the believer to forget that he is but a sojourner, NOT a settler, in this world.
Daily, we must ask ourselves – rather, REMIND ourselves in a question – “today, am I a settler or a sojourner?”. The answer to that question will cause our obedience to the truths of Psalm 125!
In verse 4, WHERE does the sojourner find HELP? He finds HELP in…the PRESENCE of the Lord!!! When he is still before the Lord, he has hope that God will be the HELP of those who are GOOD, of those who are UPRIGHT in their HEARTS! What does that mean? It means that these remember when they wake up that they are but SOJOURNERS and that the Lord Himself is their HELP! They are not settlers. No, NO! “This world is not my home, I’m just a passin’ through!!!”.
Are YOU? Have you found your HELP and HOPE in the cross of Jesus? Is your eternal HELP and HOPE in His death, burial, and resurrection for you personally?
If so, then this psalm is for YOU!!!
I am most challenged how this psalm ends!
“Peace be upon Israel !”
I don’t get it, do you? Throughout this psalm, the unnamed psalmist has been talking about the marks of a sojourner. “Israel” as a nation is never mentioned, or is it? “Zion” and the “mountains of Jerusalem” point to both the historical importance and the amazing picturesque sight of Jerusalem and the nation in which it dwells.
So why finish with a prayer for peace? Is it not because the sojourner is more than just an individual? The sojourner is one of many along the road of pilgrimage! He/she is a pilgrim! Together! And together, they are members of a greater purpose than themselves.
In eternity, Israel will be the center of the world!
But apply this psalm to you, and the country in which you dwell. Perhaps like me, you are in the “good ol’ USA”. Like every nation, Covid-19 has hit us hard. Our economy has fallen. Businesses have closed. And even most churches have been closed for many months – and even some have yet to open to do the many challenges of being in compliance with the new “state regulations” for guidance “for the concern of the health of each attendee.” [Hmm. I won’t go there today.]. And in less than 2 weeks we will be voting AS A NATION for the office of President of the USA.
So by application, the psalmist would be praying, “Peace be upon America.”
Have you prayed that prayer today?
And if I may give a commercial – that I am sure both Facebook and Mr. Becker will not eliminate! – have you read the “Star Spangled Banner Series” written by our esteemed web site author? You can find the 6 books of the series at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple! The theme of this psalm is the theme of this series – the deliverance of a nation!
And LOOK for one of the swash-buckling rescuers in Book 6!
(I wonder WHO that could be? Perhaps a semi (?) retired pastor? Hmm?)
Father, we pray for the peace of Israel. We know that that nation is the heart of the world, and of Your end times for the world.
But until then, we pray for the peace of our country. We pray for the salvation through Christ of each one in our land. And we pray for our leaders – both national and local – that they will be guided by Your Spirit in all the decisions they must make each day. And we pray for us citizens, that we who love You will be reminded that You have designed us, as sojourners, to be a light wherever You have wisely planted each one of us.
Thank You for that grace!
We give You all the praise,
In Jesus Name, Amen!