Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Psalm 120 - Are You in Distress?



There are 15 psalms that are called Psalms of Ascent (or Degrees) which were sung by the Jewish people as they ascended to Jerusalem for holy festivals three times a year. Psalm 120 is the first of these. It begins with a lament – a call for the Lord to save the psalmist from “lying lips and deceitful tongues”. He was surrounded by a wicked world. In fact there are clues in the psalm as to exactly which part of the wicked world encircled him: verse 5 says “Woe to me that I dwell in Meshech, that I live among the tents of Kedar!” 

Meshech was the son of Japheth whose descendants inhabited a barbarous area which is now the northern parts of Moscow, Russia. The tents of Kedar refers to descendants of one of Abraham’s sons who were nomads and plunderers … not very nice people.

The psalmist ends this short cry declaring that he is a man of peace, but when he speaks they (his evil neighbors) are ready for war. How distressful. This sounds utterly hopeless yet I would refer you back to the opening verse: “I call on the Lord in my distress, and he answers me.”

Call on the Lord in your distress and he will answer you.