Psalms 121, 122, 124, 125, 127

Part 18


Tonight we will be looking at five shorter Psalms, which come from the 15 Psalms (Ps. 120-134) called Songs of Ascents. The word Ascent means going up. Nelson’s Bible dictionary suggests:


“The songs may have been “Pilgrim Psalms” sung by those who were “going up” to Jerusalem and “ascending” to the Temple” (1 Sam. 1:3; Is. 30:29). Pg. 126


Our first Psalm is:


Psalm 121:1 A Song of Ascents. I will lift up my eyes to the hills -- From whence comes my help?  2 My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. 


This Psalm is known as a travelers Psalm. The hills he speaks of are usually a reference to Jerusalem as used in the book of Ezekiel. He is not saying that he gets his help from those hill, but from the creator of those hills. The writer knows nothing of evolution, he simply states the God made heaven and earth.


Sometime people try to look to the stars or other manmade ideas to help them in their time of need, but the true source of our help is God almighty. Even when we take certain drugs that helps us with a physical or mental problem we are having, we need to keep in mind that God is the one the created the ingredients that goes into the drug and gave the men and women who invented them the ability to do so. No matter how many discoveries we make as a human race, God is the one that deserves the credit, not man, because He is the source of it all.


The Psalmist continues talking about how God helps us.


He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.  4 Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep.  5 The LORD is your keeper; The LORD is your shade at your right hand. 


The Psalmist have full confidence in God’s ability to watch out for the faithful and He does not have a 40hr work week like most of us are used to. No, He never sleeps and He is there for us 24/7 with no vacation time. Like your shadow, God will always be there. The Psalmist says that the Lord is our keeper. This word keeper means:


To keep, guard, keep watch and ward, protect, save life


The Psalmist goes on to say:  


6 The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night.  7 The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul.  8 The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in From this time forth, and even forevermore.


These last verses are a great definition of how the Lord is our keeper and protector. The Psalmist is not saying that God is going to protect us from sun burn or sun stroke, but is saying whether it is day or night, God will be there for us to help preserve us from all evil. Even if someone evil does harm to our bodies, our soul will be preserved because they cannot touch our souls. It does not matter how much times passes by, God will continue to be there for us and He will to be our keeper and protector. Knowing this should bring us great comfort and cause to have confidence in our Christianity.


Psalm 122:1 A Song of Ascents. Of David. I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go into the house of the LORD."  2 Our feet have been standing Within your gates, O Jerusalem! 


This Psalm is attributed to David, but scholars are mixed on whether this Psalm was from David’s time or simply adapted from one of David’s Psalms to fit with the idea of the pilgrimages the Jews took when they went back to Jerusalem for the three annual feast they required to attend.  To me, these details do not matter because David’s Psalm could apply to his time or to a later time when the children of Israel returned back from their Babylonian captive.


David, a man after God’s own heart, loved the Lord and was always excited when He had the opportunity to go into the house of the Lord. His love of God was shared by others, because our Psalm speaks of more than one standing at the gates of Jerusalem.


This same sentiment should be felt by all those who love the Lord. We should never view our time of worship our time of Bible study as an obligation, but as joy. We should get excited when we have the opportunity to come together with our brothers and sisters in Christ for the purpose of worshipping God.


If you think there is something better to do than coming before God and worshipping Him in spirit and in truth, then your priorities are messed up and you need to examine your life because nothing should thrill our soul more than assembling with saints. Unlike David’s time where they had to meet at a specific place, we know today that we are the church, we are the house of God no matter where we are.


3 Jerusalem is built As a city that is compact together,  4 Where the tribes go up, The tribes of the LORD, To the Testimony of Israel, To give thanks to the name of the LORD.  5 For thrones are set there for judgment, The thrones of the house of David.  6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: "May they prosper who love you.  7 Peace be within your walls, Prosperity within your palaces."  8 For the sake of my brethren and companions, I will now say, "Peace be within you."  9 Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek your good.


Jerusalem is being described, and one of the reasons the tribes of Israel go to be in the house of the Lord is to give God thanks for everything He has done. They also come to pray for peace for Jerusalem and for peace within. This same advice holds true for us today, because Paul said:


1 Timothy 2:1Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men,  2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.  3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,


We should never cease to pray for the leaders of our country and to do our best to be at peace with those around us. Like the children of Israel, we should recall all the good the God has done for us especial His plan of salvation that was made possible through the death of His only begotten Son.


Our goals as Christians should be to always do good so that we can bring honor to our Father in heaven.


Psalm 124:1 A Song of Ascents. Of David. "If it had not been the LORD who was on our side," Let Israel now say --  2 "If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, When men rose up against us,  3 Then they would have swallowed us alive, When their wrath was kindled against us;  4 Then the waters would have overwhelmed us, The stream would have gone over our soul;  5 Then the swollen waters Would have gone over our soul."  6 Blessed be the LORD, Who has not given us as prey to their teeth.  7 Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers; The snare is broken, and we have escaped.  8 Our help is in the name of the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.


This Psalm is ascribed to David, and it records a time from his history, but the message is one that could apply to anyone. I believe this Psalm could be summed up with:


Romans 8:31  If God is for us, who can be against us?


Whenever we are on the Lord’s side, He will be on our side. Yes, we will still have hardships to face and enemies that will press in, but God will be there with us, and He will help us. We must remember that it is our responsibility to be on the Lord’s side.


A lady once asked Abraham Lincoln: “Mr. Lincoln, are you sure the Lord is on your side?” He responded, “Ma’am, I am not really concerned about whether or not the Lord is on my side, but I am mightily concerned about whether or not I am on the Lord’s side.”


It should be comforting to us to know that our God is always standing near to help us no matter what the situation may be, which is why the writer of Hebrews said:


Hebrews 13:5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."  6 So we may boldly say: "The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?"


The message of this Psalm would be encouraging to those of David’s time and to those who were returning back from Babylonian captivity, and it should be encouraging to us. Consider this quote from World War II:


During the twenty-three hundred bombings of the Island of Malta in World War II, as the people gathered for prayer, Psalm 124 was their favorite Psalm.”


Psalm 125:1 A Song of Ascents. Those who trust in the LORD Are like Mount Zion, Which cannot be moved, but abides forever.  2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem, So the LORD surrounds His people From this time forth and forever.


Trusting in God is important to ever child of God because God has never failed us, and He never will. This is a beautiful and comforting description of how our God protects. It pictures God surrounding us like these mountains that surrounded Jerusalem. It give you a sense of protection and confidence that God will continue to surround us for the rest of our lives. If you will remember, this was one the complaints the devil had against God in reference to Job.


Job 1:10 "Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.


I really like this idea of God providing a hedge of protection around His people.


3 For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest On the land allotted to the righteous, Lest the righteous reach out their hands to iniquity. 


Throughout the history of Israel, we have seen what the Psalmist said come true. When the children of Israel were faithful to God, they would prosper and their enemies could not overcome them, but as soon as they started moving away from God and starting living a life of sin, God would allow their enemies to come in and overpower them.


This is one reason I am concerned about our nation, which was established as God fearing nation, but now many in our nation are moving away from God and the more  corrupt our nation becomes, the more likely God is going to allow one of our enemies to overpower us.


4 Do good, O LORD, to those who are good, And to those who are upright in their hearts.  5 As for such as turn aside to their crooked ways, The LORD shall lead them away With the workers of iniquity. Peace be upon Israel!


If there is one thing you can count on, it is that God will bless those who are upright in their hearts. Those who are upright in their heart are those who are committed to serving God to the best of their ability because they want to be pleasing to God. But for those who turn away from God to live a life of sin, they will be lumped in with all the other sinners.


This Psalm teaches us that if we want the protection of God, we need trust Him and be obedient to His will. As James said:


James 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror;  24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.  25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.


Now let’s look at our final Psalm for the evening:


Psalm 127:1 A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon. Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain.  2 It is vain for you to rise up early, To sit up late, To eat the bread of sorrows; For so He gives His beloved sleep. 


This Psalm’s attributed to Solomon and matches up with his style found in the book of Proverbs. This Psalms emphasizes that if we try to do things on our own without God being involved, then we are wasting our time. As God told Israel in:


Haggai 1:6 "You have sown much, and bring in little; You eat, but do not have enough; You drink, but you are not filled with drink; You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; And he who earns wages, Earns wages to put into a bag with holes."  7 Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Consider your ways!


In the book of Haggi, the children of Israel had neglected the house of the Lord and they had been focusing on their own homes and what they could do for themselves and God kept making things happen to them so that they could not get a head because He was against them and not for them. But, they had a chance to turn things around and make things right, and they did. They went to the mountains and obtained the necessary supplies and rebuilt the house of the Lord.


If God is not on your side and it is not His will for you to succeed it does not matter how strong you make your house or your nation, or how good you watchmen do their jobs, it does not matter how early or late you stay up, if God is against you, you will not stand.


Several examples come to mind. Such as the men and the tower of Babel. They were building a mighty structure, and they were unified, but God was not with them, and He destroyed their unity and they built no more.


Or I think about the parable of the farmer who wanted to build bigger barns for himself. He did not thank God for what he was blessed with, nor did he consider sharing his abundance with others and this is life was required of him. A story similar to this was  Lazarus and the rich man. The rich man was prosperous on the earth, but his riches did him no good on the other side of life because he went to the place of torment while Lazarus who was on God’s side got to go to paradise where he received comfort.


Something that really saddens me that I wish wasn’t true is that denominations fall into this is category because the majority of people that attend them have never become Christian even though think they have. Most denominations teach that you do not have to be baptized to be saved, yet the Bible clearly teaches that baptism is the point our sins are forgiven (Acts 2:38) and is the point we are put into Christ (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3) So many of these poor people are laboring in the name of the Lord, but they or laboring in vain because they are not laboring in His kingdom.


It’s kind of like those men who tried to cast out a demon using the name of Jesus who had not obeyed the gospel:


Acts 19:15 And the evil spirit answered and said, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?"  16 Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.


One can look like, act like, and talk like a Christian, but until the obey the gospel, which includes being baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of sins, they are not a Christian and they have not been put into the protection of the Godhead. Again, Jesus talks about people that were in this condition in:


Matthew 7:21 " Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.  22 "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?'  23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'


Even those that have become Christians must still live in accordance with God’s Word. If they do not worship God in accordance to  God’s Word, they will find themselves in opposition to God. If our homes are not built in accordance with God’s Word in how we treat our mates and train our children our homes will crumble.


Again the key idea, here is summed up by Solomon in:


Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man's all.  14 For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.




3 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.  4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one's youth.  5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.


Every child we have is a blessing from God, and ultimately, they belong to the Lord. Back in ancient times it was good to have large families because it gave you advantage when you numbers were large. A quiver was as accessory that held their arrows and the more arrows you had the better off you were and the idea is the more children you had the better off you are.

God has always been concerned about the family and how we as parents raise them up. If we do not raise our children in the Lord, then they will grow up and grow away from God and from us. So, let us always strive to build our homes in accordance with God’s will.



The main though that has come from all 5 of these Psalms is to trust in God and He will protect you and always be there for you, but if you turn your back on Him, then His protection will be removed and you will be treated like any other sinner who has rebelled against God.