I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth (Psalm 121:1-2, ESV).
Typically, I write Psalms On Saturday focusing on one Psalm.
Today, I’m writing about fifteen Psalms. I guess I had a good night’s sleep.
Psalm 120 to Psalm 134 is my favorite grouping of Psalms. If you look at my Bible, I have marked many verses from these chapters …
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! May they be secure who love you! (Psalm 122:6)
Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth (Psalm 124:8).
Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain (Psalm 127:1).
If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness (Psalm 130:3).
The Psalms in this section (120 to 134) are known as the Psalms of Ascent.
They were sung in worship for over a thousand years by worshippers in Jerusalem before the Babylonian captivity of the Israelites. There were also 15 steps (for 15 Psalms) leading from the lower court to the upper court in Solomon’s temple.
One Psalm for each step.
The Psalms were sung by pilgrims returning to Jerusalem for annual feasts.
Those traveling to Jerusalem would start the ascent from the Dead Sea area which has a negative altitude of about 1500 feet below sea level, traveling up to Jerusalem which has an altitude of about 2,500 feet above sea level.
The pilgrims would walk an upward journey of about 4,000 feet of elevation in their approach to Jerusalem while singing the 15 Psalms of Ascent.
A life motto for those of faith today can be found in Psalm 128:1 …
Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways!
My ministry has constantly involved busyness with new opportunities. I’ve tried to remember Psalm 131:1 …
O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.
I’ve read the Psalms of Ascent for many years.
Often in my devotions, I would start with Psalm 120 and read another Psalm the next day for 15 days and then start over, spending 15 or 30, or 45 days in this section of Psalms.
One point that I have learned from the Psalms of Ascent, one focal point that has been beneficial to my pilgrimage and I believe essential for yours as well is …
Every one of these Psalms is about going up.
I hope you get the point. Our walk with Jesus is about going up. Not straight up (as we go up and down in our relationship with Jesus). We have success, and then we sin – but the forgiveness received from God allows us to go up again.
Our walk is up: up and down, up and down, and after years we realize that we are up and not down! And that the downs have enabled the ups.
Please get the point; it’s simple – up!
Lift up your hands to the sanctuary and bless the Lord. May the Lord bless you from Zion, He who made heaven and earth (Psalm 134:2-3).