Psalm 120:1-7 A Lament By Anonymous
Psalm 120:1-7 War And Peace
The songs of Ascent, the Songs of Degrees, and the Pilgrim Psalms are all the same thing. Just so you know. If you see them referred to, you won’t be confused.
They were psalms 120-134, recited as Jews walked (were they going to drive?) to Jerusalem for the Feasts of Passover, Tabernacles, and Pentecost. They were called songs of ascent because they had to ascend to get to Jerusalem aka Mount Zion. Four were written by David (David (Pss. 122; 124; 131; and 133), one was written by Solomon (127), and the other 10 were written by anonymous.
Psalm 120 is a lament. My favorite kind of psalm.
The writer says he is in trouble and when he called to the Lord, He listened (v. 1). That encourages me!
The psalmist again is being stalked by bad guys who are lying about him (v. 2). Of course, someone can tell the truth about you and it’s a lie, you know. Context is everything. Someone can say he knows more than anyone else in the room. You would think someone like that was quite arrogant. Then you find out he was teaching kindergarten. See what I mean?
Satan will lie to your face or your brain, more accurately. Don’t buy his lies. Be discerning and learn to distinguish God’s voice (cf. John 10:4) from the devil’s. Satan spoke to Jesus (cf. Matt. 4:1-11) but Jesus answered him with Scripture. The Word will always keep us straight.
God will take care of his persecutor’s mouth (vv. 3-4, cf. Rom. 12:19). That doesn’t mean what people say won’t hurt us. They can feel like arrows and burning coals (v. 4). Satan shoots darts (Eph. 6:16). The shield of faith in Ephesians 6:16 was actually a warrior’s buckler covered in leather and wetted down so the devil’s darts would be extinguished when they hit it. God thinks of everything!
Verse 4 can refer to the weapons of the oppressors or it could refer to the judgment the enemy would receive from the Lord. Most likely it refers to both. The persecutors’ words are like burning wood from a broom (juniper) tree which stays ignited for a long time and gets really hot. The Lord will respond in kind with sharp weapons and burning hot coals (cf. the double-edged sword in Heb. 4:12 and Rev. 19:15 as well as the burning coals of Rom. 12:20).
The poor psalmist lived in Meshech and in a tent in Kedar. We are used to at least having a roof over our heads in at least a shack. But not in Arab enemy territory like he was in (vv. 5-6, Meshech, cf. Ezek. 38:2; and Kedar, cf. Isa. 21:16).
If you are a Christian trying to please the Lord, don’t be surprised if you rile people up. You may not intend to irritate but your very lifestyle will bother people. Jesus put it this way, ” . . . whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next . . . A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master” (Matt. 10:23-24). He also said, “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you” (John 15:18).
When I was in high school, I had gone from fat to fit. Mark Spitz had nothing on me. (Those were the days!). One day while I was minding my own business, a bully came up to me and wanted to wrestle me. He mocked me for being muscular and said he wanted to take me on. I told him to get lost. Then he tackled me. So we got it on. I figured I could easily take him. But I couldn’t. We wrestled to a draw. Then he left me alone.
Now that incident reminds me of our struggle with Satan. I don’t look for trouble from him but he just mocks and then attacks. If I wrestle him, I usually fight to a draw. It’s better to just call elder brother, Jesus, and let Him deal with the devil (cf. James 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:8-9). What I’m saying is that I usually am for peace but the devil and his crew are always looking to bully and start a fight (see Armor-all).
Sometimes it is difficult when we are for peace but others just want to fight (v. 7, cf. Rom. 12:18).
Proverbs 16:16-17 The High Way To Heaven
Here’s my translation of verse 16. How much better to know the Bible than to get a new iPhone. OK, you can fill in the blank at the end of that sentence with what you lust after most.
Do you really believe that it’s better to have Bible knowledge and wisdom than anything else? Most people don’t. What that means really is that it’s better to go deeper with Jesus than have anything else in life.
If you are close to the Lord, of course you’ll be avoiding sin (v. 17a). Duh (cf. Rom. 6:1-2). If you do, you’ll be living the “abundant life” and taking the high way to heaven (v. 17b, cf. John 10:10).