Thoughts from Psalms 120-122 in the Passion translation.
If you’re like me, I had to toss my no-longer-highlighting highlighter by the end of today’s Psalms. There’s so much to unpack in a relatively small passage of Scripture, so let’s start at the beginning.
Every Chapter is titled “A song of the stairway”. Other translations read, “A song to take you higher”, or “A song of ascent”. You will see this continue through Psalm 134. As stated in the footnotes, it is likely these fifteen songs were sung on the fifteen steps that would take the worshiper into the temple. On each step they would stop to worship and sing the corresponding Psalm as they went up higher into the worship of God. Others believe they were the songs sung as David brought up the ark of glory to Jerusalem.
Can you imagine the dynamic movement in our lives if we took our worship this seriously? What if every day began with such devout worship? What if instead of hitting the snooze ten times on Sunday morning - secretly not wanting to get out of bed at all, we jumped up and began intentional worship from the time our feet hit the floor until we made our way to the altar in service? What if our daily lives were so worship-focused that we didn’t have time to focus on our circumstances? I dare say many of our circumstances would change!
Life is full of unpleasant surprises and unpleasant people. Notice how David begins Chapter 120 with the recollection of God’s faithfulness immediately followed with frustration of lying deceivers. Verse 4 in the Amplified reads, “Sharp arrows of the warrior, with the burning coals of the broom tree.” The coals from a broom tree are unusual in that they continue burning on the inside even after they are extinguished on the outside. They compared this to a person who listens to slander: even if you try to persuade him otherwise and he seems to be convinced, he is still “burning” on the inside, i.e. still unconvinced. We all know these people, right? They are the ones who don’t know how to live in peace - the ones whose lives are best described as “dramatic”, because without drama, they don’t know how to function. While in some cases you may be forced to do life alongside a drama queen, be it a co-worker or family member, but you do not have to allow peace to leave your heart. While that person may seem to have a never-ending internal wrestling match with bitterness or blame, God is your protector. Quote Chapter 121 over your life and the lives of your family. People may speak ill of you but God is your source of help, strength, and peace.
Begin a new habit in your life to be a lover of God far beyond what you’ve ever known before. Establish His peace in your life that cannot be swayed by the haters and naysayers. Be intentional about starting your day with uninterrupted worship that is continually on your lips despite the events of that day. Determine to make your life a Jerusalem, a city of praise!