Songs for Pilgrims: Psalm 120 – Proverbs 9


You can find a one-year Bible reading plan here.

Psalms 120-134 are called Songs of Ascent. Perhaps they were written for those ascending the hills up to Jerusalem for the yearly feasts. Perhaps they were used by priests ascending the steps of the temple as they prepared to worship. They are more likely intended for those on a spiritual pilgrimage, however, and may have been compiled by the exiles in Babylon who longed to return to their spiritual home. There is a clue to that effect in the first Song of Ascent.

Psalm 120. The psalmist laments his sojourn in Meshech and Kedar, vassal states of Babylon. The pilgrim expresses his pain at the culture from which he is coming out, a people who do not desire shalom but only war.

Psalm 121. Pilgrims on the road need protection, and they find it in the one who is creator, guardian of Israel, guardian at all times, and guardian eternally.

Psalm 122. Pilgrims rejoice as they see, either in person or with spiritual eyes, their beloved Jerusalem which is as real as a person to them.

Psalm 123. Pilgrims are moving away from the world’s contempt to the mercy, grace, and favor of their master.

Psalm 124. Pilgrims give thanks for their deliverer.

Psalm 125. Pilgrims find in Jerusalem a metaphor for the refuge they find in God.

Psalm 126. Pilgrims find their fortunes restored, like a dream fulfilled, like a desert stream renewed by rain, or like a bountiful harvest at the end of a long growing season.

Psalm 127. Pilgrims depend on God. The fruitfulness of their work depends on him and the fruitfulness of their family depends on him.

Psalm 128. Pilgrims will be blessed by God. Their work will be blessed and their family will be blessed. The blessing will come to those who fear the Lord.

Psalm 129. Pilgrims have a painful past but are preserved in the present and can pray for the future that God will rightly judge the world.

Psalm 130. Pilgrims find forgiveness as they cry out to God in brokenness, confess their sin, wait for God, and hope in him because of his steadfast love.

Psalm 131. Pilgrims can be content in their circumstances and confident in their hope, just as a maturing child trusts in its mother.

Psalm 132. Pilgrims will find the place God has made for them, just as David and Zion were bound together. Because of God’s promise to David, Zion was blessed. Because of God’s desire for Zion, David was blessed. Pilgrims will find a similar blessing in seeking and finding God’s kingdom.

Psalm 133. Pilgrims find a community of unity that is like the blessing of family.

Psalm 134. Pilgrims go on pilgrimage both to bless God and to be blessed by him.

About this blog

During 2020 I plan to post weekly writings covering the material you would read during each week as you proceed from Genesis to Revelation in one year. And so for this week I have covered Psalm 120 – Proverbs 9. Next week I will write about Proverbs 10 – 29. I hope you will continue along with me. You can find daily posts about these chapters archived here on the Bible in a Year blog. For your convenience here are the previous posts covering Psalm 120 – Proverbs 9.

How to build a house: Psalm 127

The God who is there: Psalm 139

The power of praise: Psalm 145

Summing up the Psalms: Psalm 146

Don’t be a fool! Proverbs 1

About adultery: Proverbs 5-6

Lady Wisdom: Proverbs 8-9

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