May 1, 2019

Psalm 120 is the first of fifteen psalms that the pilgrim Jews sang on their journey to Jerusalem. We are also pilgrims on our way to heaven so lets see what we can learn from this psalm.

Psalm 120:1 (NLT) — 1 I took my troubles to the Lord; I cried out to him, and he answered my prayer.

If our troubles drive us to the Lord they are a good thing. They are only bad if we let them drive us away from our Lord. He is our refuge and strength a very present help in times of trouble. Instead of talking back to man let us talk to God. He hears, He answers. He is our helper. Even Jesus cried out to his heavenly father when men lied about him.

Another thing to remember about trouble is that it comes to test our faith. To see how mature we are. To see what kind of attitude we will face the trouble with. To see if we will trust the Lord to bring us through the trouble. Trouble should never surprise us. We can be as much assured of trouble as we can of death and taxes. This is what James, the half brother of Jesus says about trouble:

James 1:2–4 (NLT) — 2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

James says that the way to defeat trouble is to lead out with joy. We are to look at the trouble as God’s way of shaping us into complete maturity. Knowing that God is at work shaping us should give us great joy. After all we are His masterpiece and a masterpiece takes time to shape but O how precious that masterpiece is to the Master!

Psalm 120:2 (NLT) — 2 Rescue me, O Lord, from liars and from all deceitful people.

We live in a world full of lies. There are those who say there is no God. Some say Jesus wasn’t God. Others say that there is more than one way to heaven. People say you can choose your gender, practicing homosexuality is fine, that God helps those who help themselves, sex before marriage is ok, the fetus is not a human being, a woman has the right to do with her body what she wants to do, the bible is a book of myths, there is no life after death, socialism is the best form of government, the world is going to end in twelve years if we don’t do something about carbon emissions, and on and on it goes.

Help us Lord to not to succumb to these lies.

Psalm 120:3–4 (NLT) — 3 O deceptive tongue, what will God do to you? How will he increase your punishment? 4 You will be pierced with sharp arrows and burned with glowing coals.

The future is not bright for those who speak lies and live out the lies. We must continue to speak the truth no matter what opposition we face. “But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8) Perhaps the truth that we speak will free those who have been deceived.

Psalm 120:5 (NLT) — 5 How I suffer in far-off Meshech. It pains me to live in distant Kedar.

“These two peoples were located so far apart geographically that they can only be taken here as ‘a general term for the heathen.’ No one person could have lived among both. They are examples of warlike tribes, among whom the singers of Psalm 120 had no true home.” (Boice)

Like the singer we must remember that this is not our true home. We are just passing through on our way to our home in heaven. Perhaps God uses all the lies, crime and corruption to remind us not to get too settled or too comfortable. And certainly not to become like those around us. Like they say at Caribou Coffee, “Life is short–Stay awake for it!”

There should be a noticeable distinction between God’s people and the people of the world. Remember that there are those in distant countries today that are in jail, some are cut off from their families and others are being persecuted because they refuse to blend in but remain faithful to the Lord. To maintain a song in the world that we live in truly is the grace of God working in us.

Psalm 120:6 (NLT) — 6 I am tired of living among people who hate peace.

I can identify with the singer on this one can’t you? I get tired just reading the headlines each day of how our politicians can’t agree, can’t get along, argue, fight and criticize one another. Without peace we will eventually be destroyed from within. The only real solution is for people to yield to the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.

Psalm 120:7 (NLT) — 7 I search for peace; but when I speak of peace, they want war!

“The psalmist was a peacemaker and tried to encourage his godless Jewish neighbors to be peaceable, but they were more intent on making war. His loving words only made them more and more angry. After over fifty years of ministry, I am convinced that most of the problems in families and churches are caused by professed Christians who do not have a real and vital relationship to Jesus Christ. They are not humble peacemakers but arrogant troublemakers. Until God changes them or they decide to go elsewhere, the dedicated believers must be patient and prayerful. This is the way Joseph dealt with his brothers in Canaan and his false accusers in Egypt. It is also the way David dealt with King Saul and Jesus dealt with His enemies (1 Peter 2:18–25)” Warren Wiersbe.
Sometimes we have to seek out better company. Got together with other joyful believers and enjoy some uplifting, encouraging conversation. Find those that have a good sense of humor and have a few good belly laughs. Go out and enjoy a hot beef sandwich at Big Chief or ribs and fries at the Legion or coffee and a chocolate chip cookie at Caribou. And don’t take yourself and life so seriously. Remember Jesus said that he had overcome the world. So live like you’re on the winning side. 🙂 Keep singing.
Be Inspired Hilltop!