Julie Davis, Financial Secretary, Governing Board
Today’s reading from The Book of Psalms is part of a larger collection of fifteen Psalms referred to as the Psalms of Ascent. It is believed that men sang these Psalms as they journeyed to Jerusalem for the sacred holidays during the year. I tried to imagine the pilgrimage of the Jewish men of this time, singing these prayers of worship, reverence, repentance, faith and praise as they traveled to come together in prayer and offer sacrifices to God. The journey usually lasted 3-4 days to reach Jerusalem, therefore the words of these psalms were sung repeatedly over and over again for hours. What was this experience like–the hundreds walking together and singing these scriptures over and over again? Did it allow these verses to become written on the hearts of these men? Did it change their hearts before they arrived to worship God? Did it remind them of why they made the pilgrimage to worship God?
So, in the best effort, I printed each psalm and laid them out before me so I could read out loud and repeat each one and imagine that I too was on this journey. How would God speak to me through this scripture and this experience? These are the thoughts that were impressed upon my heart:
There will be blessings for those who fear, respect and follow the ways of the Lord. “How joyful are those who fear the Lord–all who follow His ways! You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be!” Psalm 128: 1-2
We will have enemies, persecution and trouble, but the Lord is good; we will never be defeated. The Lord is righteous. “They have greatly oppressed me from my youth, but they have not gained victory over me…But the Lord is righteous; he has cut me from the cords of the wicked.” Psalm 129: 2-4
We are encouraged to cry out to the Lord and to long for the Lord in repentance of our sins. God offers hope and forgiveness. “From the depths of despair, O Lord, I call for your help…Lord, if you kept a record of our sins, who, O Lord, could ever survive?…O Israel, hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is unfailing love. His redemption overflows.” Psalm 130: 1-8
God keeps His promises, but we must remain obedient to Him. “The Lord swore an oath to David, a sure oath he will not revoke…If your sons keep my covenant and the statutes I teach them, then their sons will sit on your throne forever and ever.” Psalm 132:11-13
We are encouraged to praise the Lord and lift our hands in praise to God- Not just when we are in church or one day a week, but continuously! We are called to remember the miracles of God. We are all to praise God. “Lift your praising hands to the Holy Place, and bless God. In turn, may God of Zion bless you– God who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 134: 3, Psalm 135
Yes, my heart was changed and my eyes were opened as I spoke these psalms out loud over and over again. God gave me a beautiful perspective of all His provisions: s His blessings, miracles, protection, mercy, and Holiness. I am so thankful for God’s word! It is my prayer today that as you to read through these Psalms your heart is filled with hope and praise for the Lord.