Continuing the “Ascent” Psalms – Remember that the Ascent Psalms were sang as the Jews ascended to Temple Mount – a Praise and worship time as they reflected on what Yahweh had done in the past. Praise for who God is and was – an act of worship in preparation for the Passover time and celebration. Specifically, this weeks readings and remarks come from Psalms 125-129. It becomes evident that these Psalms [some anyhow] were written after the return from Babylonian captivity. When looking at Psalm 125, the trust in Zion and the surrounding mountains, were a protective, or security from approaching marauders. Knowing that Solomon’s Temple with its walls being built in 800 BC estimated; and to know that there are parts of the Herodian Temple in Jesus’ day that still stands adds to the statement that Mount Zion remains forever. If we consider that Jesus when He returns will descend on Mount Olivet [from which He ascended] is further credence that God still has plans for Temple Mount. I know that today the Dome of the Rock, the Muslim Masque is currently sitting on the exact place where the Temple exists; we cannot lose site that Jerusalem is still in the Plans of God.
At least twice we find the phrase “Peace Be Upon Israel” – I have received many emails and articles that encourage people to pray for the peace of Israel – no peace for Israel until they are restored to Jehovah. If we look at the total peace time in Israel’s history it is a mere 40 some years, and that was during King David’s reign. Israel has always been a land that everyone wants for one reason or another. Some it is the natural “King’s Highway” for travel and trade. For others it is the Promised Land, the Muslims/Arabs seek possession from Ishmael’s line. Yet we find that Esau’s line [Edom -Idumean] seeks first born rights over Jacob/Israel. How can a small place the size of America’s state of New Jersey cause such turmoil and fighting? Don’t forget, God promised Abraham the Promise Land as an eternal possession.
Further in our reading we find the well known and often quoted Psalm 127 – specifically verse 1; unless the Lord builds the house, the labor is in vain; unless the LORD keeps guard over the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain. Really, unless God is sovereign over what happens in Jerusalem and our lives, we work in vain. John 15:5 tells us without Jesus we can do nothing; yet Phil 4:13 tells us that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. We live life in the Power of Jesus’ name.
Another consistent statement is “Blessed are those who fear the LORD.” Now even in churches there seems to be a falling away of respect/fear/ awe for God. How have we supplanted the omnipotent God? We have eliminated the need for God in our daily lives. We see ourselves as the master of our own lives. It is only when we fail or are overcome by our “self created crisis” that we turn to God for relief. We today are no different that Israel/Jews. If we trust the Lord, if we fear and I mean a real fear, not an awe of God – fear that instills within our minds and hearts to be obedient. The Father will discipline His children [Heb. 12] If we will fear God – the we are promised prosperity, peace and progeny. [Psalms 128] Picture if you would a mass of people ascending up to the Temple to worship, the people are preparing for worship by recounting God’s blessings on them. I wonder if we prepared intentionally in such a way how our worship would be different? Do we rush in expecting that we can flip a switch and instantly move from the world to the presence of God? I don’t think so; hence by the time the service is over, many have just come to the place of worship. Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that
One response to “Post-exilic Psalms”
Thank you for this good article. It is another reminder to those living in free and relatively prosperous parts of the world how quickly we can forget how dependent upon God we are.