Psalm 120-134 are psalms of degrees or ascents. It appears from Psalm 122 that these 15 psalms composed a hymn book from which Jewish believers sang as they ascended to Jerusalem for the annual feasts of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. We read in Psalm 122:1-4, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem. Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together: Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord.”

Psalm 124 speaks of how the Lord delivered the children of Israel from their enemies. This psalm states, “If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, now may Israel say; If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us: Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us: Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul: Then the proud waters had gone over our soul. Blessed be the Lord, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth. Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped. Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” This makes us think of the Babylonian captivity and how the Lord delivered Israel after 70 years of captivity.

In Psalm 125 the Lord has special lessons for the faithful Jews about things that they had seen and were dear to them: Mount Zion and the other mountains that surrounded Jerusalem. Verse 1 says that “They that trust in the Lord shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.” Trusting in the Lord makes us stable, just as mount Zion is stable. The Lord is using mount Zion as a picture of stability. We know in 2 Peter 3:10-11 that “the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness.” Even though Mount Zion will burn, melt, and be dissolved in the future, the Lord is using something that the Jews could see and relate to as a type of stability. Psalm 125:2 says that “As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people from henceforth even for ever.” Continuing the type, the Lord compares the security that the mountains give Jerusalem as a picture of the eternal security of believers. Trust, or faith, in the Lord is necessary for salvation and keeps us close to the Lord for the rest of our lives as well. Psalm 125:3 says that “For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest upon the land of the righteous, so that the righteous will not put forth their hands to do wrong” (NASB). This verse is saying that wicked people will not permanently rule over the land of the godly Jews. The purpose of ending the rule of the wicked is so the righteous will not do wrong, apparently out of frustration for being oppressed.

Verse 4 states, “Do good, O Lord, unto those that be good, and to them that are upright in their hearts.” We know from Romans 3:12 that “there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” In our sins, before we knew the Lord as our Savior, none of us were good. However, the Lord makes us good when He saves us. We are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and He gives us new desires. As we let the Spirit control us, we will show forth the fruit of the Spirit of “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23, NASB). Psalm 125:5 says, “But as for those who turn aside to their crooked ways, The Lord will lead them away with the doers of iniquity. Peace be upon Israel” (NASB). God promises to judge those who do evil. Leading them away appears to mean leading them captive, just as the Israelites had been led captive to Babylon. However, the psalm ends on a bright note of God’s desire of peace for Israel. God desires each of us to experience His peace as well. We can have “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” after we have been “justified by faith” (Romans 5:1). We can also have the “peace of God” (Philippians 4:7) through all of the storms of life so that we can live confidently without anxious fear. Let us trust Him today! (247.2) (DJ)