Semi Retired Pastor Jeremy Stopford



WOW! Already, today we are in Study #10 of our insights into the “Ascent Psalms” – Psalms 120-134!

Each song is unique, an individual, one of a kind. All together they form a panorama of the pilgrim’s journey.


“Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage.” (Psalm 84:5 NKJV). This is a short verse – but worthy of being not only OUR theme verse but YOUR Life Verse! Have you learned it yet?


Psalm 129 New King James Version (NKJV)

Song of Victory over Zion’s Enemies

A Song of Ascents.

1 “Many a time they have afflicted me from my youth,”

Let Israel now say—

2.  “Many a time they have afflicted me from my youth;

Yet they have not prevailed against me.

3  The plowers plowed on my back;

They made their furrows long.”

4  The Lord is righteous;

He has cut in pieces the cords of the wicked.

5  Let all those who hate Zion

Be put to shame and turned back.

6  Let them be as the grass on the housetops,

Which withers before it grows up,

7  With which the reaper does not fill his hand,

Nor he who binds sheaves, his arms.

8  Neither let those who pass by them say,

“The blessing of the Lord be upon you;

We bless you in the name of the Lord!”

TITLE AND OUTLINE OF PSALM 120 (Dr. W. Graham Scroggie)

TITLE: “The Vindication of the Righteous”

OUTLINE: #1. The Affliction of the Righteous, Past (vs. 1-4)

#2. The Judgment of the Unrighteous, Future (vs. 5-8)


To prepare our hearts for this study, let’s read together the following verses from PSALM 73:

Asaph, the author, began this psalm with these insightful, almost patriotic words:

“Truly God is good to Israel, to such as are pure in heart.

But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled;

My steps had nearly slipped.

For I was envious of the boastful,

When I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” (VERSES 1-3)

Asaph, like the unnamed author of Psalm 129, has an overwhelming zeal for Israel. Throughout the psalms, even the non-Jewish readers can note that there is a tender place in the Lord’s heart for His chosen people:

Note PSALM 73:17:

“Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end.”

Finally, note Asaph’s declaration of his inner faith, in PSALM 73:25-26:

“Whom have I in heaven but You?

And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.

  My flesh and my heart fail;

But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

Why are these verses important to our study of PSALM 129? Because they show the unity of the zeal for Israel, the anger of the non-Jews toward the nation and toward their God, and the firm hunger of God’s people of all ages for the intimacy provided in a relationship with the living God.

With those thoughts, coming to PSALM 129, note that there are at least 2 unusual grammar forms in this psalm:

#1 VERSE 3. “plowers plowed on my back”

This is a picture of both weakness and helplessness. It is a recurring theme in Scripture, and for good reason.

Let’s look together at a couple of verses to show this (there are MANY more – a casual reading of the entire Bible will find them readily!):


“They abhor me, they keep far from me;

They do not hesitate to spit in my face.” (v. 10)

“He has cast me into the mire,

And I have become like dust and ashes.” (v. 19)

“I cry out to You, but You do not answer me;

I stand up, and You regard me.” (v. 20)

“My skin grows black and falls from me;

My bones burn with fever.” (v. 30)

These all show an opposition to Job, an opposition which he did not ask for; an opposition which rears its ugly head not only with taunts of the wicked, but a seeming silence from God Himself.

Who else experienced this? Let’s check out:

ISAIAH 50:6 “I gave My back to those who struck Me,

And My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard;

I did not hide My face from shame and spitting.”

ISAIAH 52:14 “Just as many were astonished at you,

So His visage [“appearance”] was marred more than any man,

And His form more than the sons of men;

MATTHEW 27:26 “Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged

Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.”

In English literature, this is called the “Christus Element”. It is an identification of a character – or, even in Psalm 129 a nation – Who/which has suffered suffering for which He/it did not ask, and which was no fault of His/its own.

As in Isaiah 50, 52, and Matthew 27, Psalm 129 is a perfect example of the “Christus Element”. The unknown author of Psalm 129 is pointing the nation of Israel directly to the One Who one day in the future would willingly suffer in their place! And His Name is Jesus!

#2 VERSES 5-6, which includes the phrase “grass on the housetops”

In 2 KINGS 19:25-26, the prophet Isaiah encourages King Hezekiah that the purpose of opposition from the King of Assyria was to point that king to the reality that all his accomplishments were not a result of his power, might, or wisdom. The king’s victories were a result of the Lord Himself using an ungodly king to fulfill His purposes for the nations – including Israel – against which the Lord had sent the armies of Assyria.

In that passage is a similar phrase to PSALM 129:

“Therefore their inhabitants had little power;

They were dismayed and confounded;

They were as the grass of the field

And the green herb,


And grain blighted before it is grown.”

As in Psalm 129, this is a phrase of destruction. The picture is of grass which withers away, resulting in a useless and unprotected home – a type of how useless and unprotected any nation would be which seeks to oppose the LIVING God of Israel!

Oh how secure is the nation of Israel – as well as the believer – under the protective arms of our Great God and Savior!


A study of Psalm 129 would be incomplete without a comment on the psalm’s final phrase,

“The blessing of the Lord be upon you;

We bless you in the name of the Lord!”

There are at least 2 times in Scripture when this phrase or theme is used! In RUTH 2:4, the main male character Boaz at the start of the work day would greet his workers with, “The Lord be with you!”. In reply, they would respond, “The Lord bless you.”

Can you imagine your employer beginning the work day seeking a blessing from God upon the present day of labor?

But its origin is with the phrase often used throughout scripture and was initially found in NUMBERS 6:24-25, where the Lord instructed Moses as to how he was to bless the people of Israel, in part:

“The Lord bless you and keep you;

  The Lord make His face shine upon you,

And be gracious to you…”

PSALM 129 incorporates that blessing. It was a reminder to the people of God throughout all the ages that there is a DIFFERENCE between the people of God and the people of the world.

The people of God enjoy the blessing – the personal, intimate, deep blessing – of the living God!

The people of the world not only do not enjoy that blessing – they have no idea what it is!

When we have trusted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are people of the blessing of the Lord!

Aren’t you glad you are a blessed person? Don’t you wish that everyone knew the blessing of being a child of the King of kings?