Psalms of Ascents: Psalm 129

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 129, the tenth psalm in the psalms of ascents.

Psalm 129 shows us a two-pronged approach to pain or difficulty in our lives: perseverance and prayer. In today’s Bible study video, I share quite a few scripture cross-references which I will list in the notes below.

Psalm 129

A song of ascents.
 
1 “They have greatly oppressed me from my youth,”
let Israel say;
2 “they have greatly oppressed me from my youth,
but they have not gained the victory over me.
3 Plowmen have plowed my back
and made their furrows long.
4 But the Lord is righteous;
he has cut me free from the cords of the wicked.”
 
5 May all who hate Zion
be turned back in shame.
6 May they be like grass on the roof,
which withers before it can grow;
7 a reaper cannot fill his hands with it,
nor one who gathers fill his arms.
8 May those who pass by not say to them,
“The blessing of the Lord be on you;
we bless you in the name of the Lord.”

Psalm 129 talks about how God has saved Israel from their attacks, remembering God’s goodness, then prays for God to remove the evil ones from them. Despite the fact that they feel they have been greatly oppressed (“Plowmen have plowed my back and made their furrows long.” – v. 3), they know it could have been worse. The Lord is righteous (v. 4)

This is a two-pronged approach to pain and suffering: perseverance and prayer.

PERSEVERANCE:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Hebrews 12:1-3

Hebrews 11 tells us about the heroes of the faith, and Hebrews 12 reminds us that we are not running this race alone. 

Jesus is the personification of perseverance. 

Jesus understands what it’s like to persevere through pain, and He demonstrates what it looks like to get through it through prayer.

Other scriptures relating to perseverance:

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:6

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Romans 12:12

but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.

Matthew 24:13

And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.

2 Thessalonians 3:13

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Galatians 6:9

PRAYER:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Philippians 4:6

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Matthew 6:6

pray continually

1 Thessalonians 5:17

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

John 15:7

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.

Romans 8:26

We don’t have to have words when we pray. God knows what is on our hearts, and sometimes our pain or suffering is so bad that we can’t even express it in words. The Holy Spirit intercedes for us on our behalf, letting God know exactly what we are feeling. It’s a beautiful cry of desperation to our Father who can help us.

Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.

1 Timothy 2:8

“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.

Matthew 18:19

He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea.

Psalm 102:17

Throughout scripture, we see people going to God in prayer, and instructions for us to go to God in prayer. 

Think about Jesus and what He modeled for His disciples and for us. He was constantly going to His Father in prayer, and went three times the night of His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. 

To wrap up this two-pronged approach of perseverance and prayer:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Ephesians 6:10-18

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.

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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 129, the tenth psalm in the psalms of ascents.

MEET KIRSTEN

I'm Kirsten & I'm happy you're here! Sweet Tea & Saving Grace supports women seeking to find balance in the busy, deepen their faith, and instill joy and love in their homes, lives, and blogs by providing encouraging and inspiring content and valuable resources. My prayer is for you to leave here better than when you came. Be blessed!

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