Psalm 122

Worship.

What an incredible privilege it is to gather publicly to worship God with others!

This psalm of ascents was written to celebrate Jerusalem, the city of God, and the pilgrimage God’s people made to Jerusalem to worship at the temple.

Today, our pilgrimages are shorter, our worship gatherings scattered throughout the world. And still we are invited to rejoice at the opportunity to worship in God’s house with God’s people.

I rejoiced with those who said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the LORD.” (v. 1 CSB)

We, too, are invited to pray for the well-being and peace of Jerusalem.

Pray for the well-being of Jerusalem:
“May those who love you be secure;
may there be peace within your walls,
security within your fortresses.” (v. 6-7 CSB)

And we can pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world who risk their safety and even their lives to gather to worship. Here and here are some general ways you can pray for persecuted believers. If you want to pray for specific requests from persecuted Christians around the world, look here.

Father, thank You for the privilege of public worship. Help me – I never want to take for granted the privilege of worshiping with others. For my brothers and sisters around the world who are being persecuted for their faith in Jesus, protect them as they gather to worship. Let Your love and the power of the gospel reach the hearts of their enemies. And I pray that Your peace will fill Jerusalem today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

psalm 122.jpg

Psalm 121

 

Whenever I read or think about this psalm, I hear this song, the words of Psalm 121 set to music.

 

Father, I am in awe that You, the Maker of heaven and earth, are my help and Protector. You keep watch over my coming and going. You are my shelter. I lift up my eyes, looking for Your help today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

psalm 121.jpg

 

Psalm 120

It is difficult to live in a culture where words of peace are met with a hostile response. This psalm of ascent cries out to God for rescue from those who hate truth and peace. What was true of God then is true of God today: He hears and will answer.

In my distress I called to the LORD,
and he answered me. (v. 1 CSB)

Father, I live in distressing times. Lies and wars mark these days. I long for peace. I am thankful that I can call out to You for rescue from my distress. I am confident that You will answer. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

psalm 120

Psalm 119:1-40

Psalm 119 celebrates the gift of God’s Word and expresses a heartfelt desire to walk according to God’s ways. An acrostic based on the Hebrew alphabet, the 176 verses of this psalm make it the longest chapter in the Bible.

Let’s look at some of the wonders of God’s Word from the first 40 verses.

Blessing is given to those who walk by God’s law, obey God’s commands, and seek Him with all their heart.

Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the LORD!
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong,
but walk in his ways! (v. 1-3 ESV)

God’s Word helps us live pure lives.

How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word. (v. 9 ESV)

When we allow God’s Word to change our hearts, His Word keeps us from sin.

I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you. (v. 11 ESV)

Meditating on God’s Word helps us fix our eyes on God’s ways.

I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways. (v. 15 ESV)

We can ask God to teach us His Word.

Blessed are you, O Lord;
teach me your statutes! (v. 12 ESV)

… teach me your statutes! (v. 26 ESV)

Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes;
and I will keep it to the end. (v. 33 ESV)

We can ask God to open our eyes so that we can see the beauty of His Word.

Open my eyes that I may see
wonderful things in your law. (v. 18 NIV)

We can ask God to help us understand His Word and obey it.

Help me understand
the meaning of your precepts
so that I can meditate on your wonders. (v. 27 CSB)

Help me understand your instruction,
and I will obey it
and follow it with all my heart.
Help me stay on the path of your commands,
for I take pleasure in it. (v. 34-35 CSB)

God’s Word gives us strength.

I am weary from grief;
strengthen me through your word. (v. 28 CSB)

Father, open my eyes to see the beauty of Your Word. I want to seek You with all my heart and obey Your commands. Help me understand Your instructions. Teach me how to walk in Your ways. Strengthen me through Your Word. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

psalm 119 1-40

Psalm 118

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his faithful love endures forever. (v. 1 CSB)

Set in the midst of this psalm of thanksgiving is a personal testimony of God’s faithful, steadfast love.

Out of my distress I called on the LORD;
the LORD answered me and set me free. (v. 5 ESV)

In distress, the psalmist called on the LORD. The LORD answered, and even more, set the psalmist free from the confinement of his circumstances. No longer trapped, but free.

Because he had experienced God’s rescue and freedom, the psalmist declares:

The LORD is for me; I will not be afraid.
What can a mere mortal do to me? (v. 6 CSB)

How incredible!

The LORD is for me.
The LORD is on my side.
The LORD is my helper.
His faithful love endures forever.

With God on our side, we do not need to be afraid of what people can do to us.

Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? . . .
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35, 37-39 CSB

Father, thank You that nothing can separate me from Your faithful love. You are for me, so I don’t have to be afraid. Thank You for rescuing me and setting me free. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

psalm 118

 

Psalm 117

Praise the LORD for his love and faithfulness!

Praise the Lord, all you nations;
    extol him, all you peoples.
For great is his love toward us,
    and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.

Praise the Lord. (v. 1-2)

psalm 117