The Psalms of Ascent are a set of fifteen psalms that were traditionally sung as priests entered the temple, and Jews journeyed to the Holy Land to celebrate the Passover Festival. They offer hope, encouragement, and peace in a time of uncertainty. Today we will read and discuss Psalm 120, the first psalm in the psalms of ascents.
As I was laying in bed recently, trying to fall asleep and praying over the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent worldwide shutdowns, the Lord impressed upon my heart the need to not only study the Psalms of Ascents, but to share them publicly.
I decided to go live on my Instagram channel each day for fifteen days, discussing one of the psalms each day. Together, we will read and study all fifteen of the psalms of ascents, beginning with Psalm 120.
About the Psalms of Ascents
The Psalms of Ascents are Psalms 120-134, a set of fifteen psalms, or songs. These songs were traditionally sung by the Levitical priests entering Solomon’s temple as they moved closer to the Holy of Holies, or the presence of God.
Later, they were sung as the Jews entered the Holy Land during their pilgrimage there to celebrate the Passover Festival. Priests entering the temple during the Passover Festival would pause on each step to sing one of the psalms.
As we step closer to the season of Passover and Easter, and because of the current anxiety of our nation and our world, I thought it would be appropriate to study these psalms together, and speak them to the Lord.
Psalm 120 is a cry of distress to the Lord. The author speaks to the Lord about people who are speaking evil, with “lying lips” and “deceitful tongues”.
The author cries out in misery to the Lord, and says the Lord will punish them with “a warrior’s sharp arrows, with burning coals of the broom brush.”
Finally, the author says that even in his home, where he has lived a long time, he feels like a foreigner because he is surrounded by so much evil. Even when he tries to speak truth and peace, evil spills over.
I think this speaks to our society today. People are arguing over opinions, politics, religion, and at this time, due to COVID-19, even the availability of toilet paper. People get angry at other people for either being overly cautious or not cautious enough.
But Psalm 120 reminds us that we can cry out to God in our times of distress, and He will hear us. What an assurance of peace that is!
Each day, from March 23-April 6, 2020, I will be live on Instagram reading and discussing each of the fifteen psalms of ascents. I want to encourage you to join me.
Also, take a moment each day for your own study. Write the psalms (they’re all relatively short), and dig into God’s Word. That is where we will find peace.