Psalm 130

 A Song of Ascents.

Oriental Procession1 Out of the depths I cry to thee, 

O LORD! 

2 Lord, hear my voice! 

Let thy ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications! 

3 If thou, O LORD, shouldst mark iniquities, 

Lord, who could stand? 

4 But there is forgiveness with thee, 

that thou mayest be feared. 

5 I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, 

and in his word I hope; 

6 my soul waits for the LORD more than watchmen for the morning, 

more than watchmen for the morning. 

7 O Israel, hope in the LORD! 

For with the LORD there is steadfast love, 

and with him is plenteous redemption. 

8 And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities. 

We all go through times of despair. Thinking that all is lost. However in the scope of Christian History we don’t have it so bad, unless one in living in a Muslim Country. We are not being burned at the stake, or tortured till we recant. All in all the last 200-300 years have been pretty good to be a believer. However there were times of great persecution and oppression, when this psalm would have been very comforting.

Like the watchmen of old they looked for the morning of the coming of the King. Till then all we can cling to is the knowledge of His love. That our iniquities will not be marked but rather buried in the deepest sea.

In the mean time we keep marching or ascending to Zion.

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Psalm 129

A Song of Ascents. 

Oriental Procession1 “Sorely have they afflicted me from my youth,” 

let Israel now say — 

2 “Sorely have they afflicted me from my youth, 

yet they have not prevailed against me. 

3 The plowers plowed upon my back; 

they made long their furrows.” 

4 The LORD is righteous; 

he has cut the cords of the wicked. 

5 May all who hate Zion be put to shame and turned backward! 

6 Let them be like the grass on the housetops, 

which withers before it grows up, 

7 with which the reaper does not fill his hand or the binder of sheaves his bosom, 

8 while those who pass by do not say, 

“The blessing of the LORD be upon you! 

We bless you in the name of the LORD!” 

This seems to have been written during the Babylon captivity, as they recall their miss-spent youth, and like all of us blame it on those that we knew were not good company.

In their youth they had tied themselves to these wicked people but now the Lord has cut the cords that held the people to the wicked. In Babylon they had learned to never commit idolatry again. Now they call on God to keep His promised to punish Babylon for their hatred.

The Congregation of the Lord now makes the same plea, remember spiritual Babylon, (i.e. The Church of Rome) may she wither like grass with no roots. There is not fruit form such grass. Without roots it is just an ugly short lived weed. Which is what the Church of Rome will be in time. Even now we see that her power has wained to the point of being an insignificant player on the worlds stage. There is no blessing from the Lord upon the false Church. Only the true and faithful are Blessed.

Psalm 128

A Song of Ascents

Oriental Procession1 Blessed is every one who fears the LORD, 

who walks in his ways! 

2 You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; 

you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you. 

3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; 

your children will be like olive shoots around your table. 

4 Lo, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD. 

5 The LORD bless you from Zion! 

May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life! 

6 May you see your children’s children! 

Peace be upon Israel! 

This is a psalm of blessing, followed by a list of things that demonstrate that one is blessed.

The fear to the Lord brings a blessing. Not real popular in the post modern church, they are uncomfortable with a God that is to be feared. They want the friendly pal around kind of god. Your “best friend forever” god. One who will join in the fun, and never condemn. However in order to get this blessing one must walk in His ways.

If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. John 15:10 

To “walk” in His ways is called halakha which means the “way we walk”. Throughout the Bible “walk” is used for how well one obeys.

And he blessed Joseph, and said, “The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has led me all my life long to this day, Gen. 48:15 

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law or not. Ex. 16:4 

One of the signs that a person is walking with the Lord, is that they are eating their own bread. They are not begging or living off the generosity of others. God doesn’t  desire welfare queens. Sure in times of economic struggle everyone needs help, but we are not to make it a habit or a lifestyle.

For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: If any one will not work, let him not eat. 2Th. 3:10 

Children are a blessing from God. However it is a blessing many decide to terminate. This rejection of God’s blessing shows that one does not fear God. To murder another human being just because God’s blessing is inconvenient is evil.

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. Matt. 15:19 

Such an act makes it plain to everyone that there is no fear of God in the souls of a man. This blessing in only for those that fear God. They tremble when they fail in His service, and beg for forgiveness at the slightest inner thought that is not captive.

We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 2Cor. 10:5 

Blessings come form Zion, for that is where the Lord chose to put His name.

Yet to his son I will give one tribe, that David my servant may always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem, the city where I have chosen to put my name. 1Kings 11:36

We now look to a spiritual Jerusalem and no longer to that physical city. For the Lord now dwells in our hearts, and we are the temple. His name is to be there on our foreheads just as His people are engraved on the palms of His hands.

. . . they shall see his face, and his name shall be on their foreheads. Rev. 22:4

Behold, I have graven you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me. Is. 49:16 

This psalm ends with a hope that the reader will see the prosperity of Jerusalem. For we are the city and the bride. Even though in this life we may suffer but the time of triumph is coming, when our Lord shows us to the world, as His pure bride, wearing robes of shinning white.

And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; Rev. 21:2 

Let those who keep faith with God live to see their grand children. Not just those of the physical world, but also those that are our children by faith. Those that chose to attach themselves to the family of God because we were faithful in our service to our King.

Then the final line, may those that “struggle with God” (for that is what Israel means) have Shalom. That peace that passes all understanding.

Psalm 127

Oriental Procession A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon. 

1 Unless the LORD builds the house, 

those who build it labor in vain. 

Unless the LORD watches over the city, 

the watchman stays awake in vain. 

2 It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, 

eating the bread of anxious toil; 

for he gives to his beloved sleep. 

3 Lo, sons are a heritage from the LORD, 

the fruit of the womb a reward. 

4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons of one’s youth. 

5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them! 

He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. 

Our first thoughts are of a literal house with wall and windows, however that is not the house we are building. We are building a spiritual house or mansions. In order to do this we must live a submissive life to the Lord, so that He can build a place for the Holy Spirit to live in our lives. For we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. We may be raising physical children, who are blessing from the Lord, but we are also raising spiritual children fit for the Lord service? This was our charge.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Matt. 28:19 

Our spiritual children should be cared with the same care as physical children. They must be carefully taught all the things that the Lord requires of them. A teacher becomes responsible for the information imparted to the disciple. James admonished that not all should become teachers because of the great responsibility.[James 3:1] Yet we are still responsible to fill the Congregation of the Lord with more souls.

Presently the USA has left its Southern Border open and all manner of people are streaming in. Although this is politically disturbing in a time of war, as believers it is an opportunity to reach people we would never otherwise never meet.

As for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. Gen. 50:20 

Time to fill the quiver with a few more souls, and shame the enemy while we are at it.

Psalm 126

Oriental ProcessionA Song of Ascents

1 When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, 

we were like those who dream. 

2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter, 

and our tongue with shouts of joy; 

then they said among the nations,

 “The LORD has done great things for them.” 

3 The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad. 

4 Restore our fortunes, O LORD, 

like the watercourses in the Negeb! 

5 May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy! 

6 He that goes forth weeping, 

bearing the seed for sowing, 

shall come home with shouts of joy, 

bringing his sheaves with him. 

This is one of those time were the translator’s seeking clarity has left the English reader missing the word study. The word restore is captive elsewhere. When the captives come home in the Hebrew language it is captivity captive.

Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. Eph. 4:8KJV

In Hebrew captivity can either take you away from or bring you back to a right relationship with God. One is either captive to the paganism that is always represented by Babylon or one is captive to God and His Son. One either goes to the temple of the pagans or keeps these pagan influences out of their own temple of the Holy Spirit. There is no fence sitting with a jealous God.

. . . you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, Ex. 20:5

It is a struggle to keep our interest in the Lord and to not wonder off after our own interest. However there is great joy in returning to the Lord. A joy so great that the nations hear of it. The call was to return to the holy mountain, return to Zion, return the temple to its right state. It took them 49 years for the people to get the courage to rebuild and restore the city. The sacred interest of the people had to be encouraged and worked through. We see their struggle in Ezra, Nehemiah, Habakkuk, and Zechariah.

The nations acknowledge the great things the Lord has done and then His people pick up the song as they realize the great things that have been done. Sometimes we are slow to catch on that it is the Lord that is doing the work. It sure look like we are doing it all ourselves. Often it is only in retrospect that we see the hand of our God.

Wadi in Nachal Paran, the Negeb IsraelThe people then ask the Lord to make their captivity back to a right relationship with God a perfect one, like watercourses in the Negeb. The Negeb is the desert between Israel and Egypt. Only rarely does any rain fall there. The wadis sit dry and empty most of the time. Only at time of exceptional rainfall do they become rivers. We all want river in dry and thirsty lands.

He turns rivers into a desert, springs of water into thirsty ground, Psa. 107:33

Now the English translations really disappoint. Verses six have a change in the singulars and the plurals that are there but not clearly.

In verse six it is easy to read over the phrase “the seed” because English treats “seed” uniquely. A bag of seed in English means that only one species is in the bag. It is either all corn, or all wheat etc. But seeds means many species. It is the difference between farmers and back yard gardeners.

There is only one seed in this bag, because it is the Seed of women.

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Gen. 3:15

It is the sowing of this one Seed that bring a harvest of great joy. For none of us can enter the Kingdom of God without His sacrifice. The Seed must go down into the ground to bring new life. So our Lord went down to death that we might live.

. . . in hope of eternal life which God, who never lies, promised ages ago Titus 1:2

Psalm. 125

Oriental Procession A Song of Ascents. 

1 Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, 

which cannot be moved, but abides for ever. 

2 As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, 

so the LORD is round about his people, 

from this time forth and for evermore. 

3 For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest upon the land allotted to the righteous, 

lest the righteous put forth their hands to do wrong. 

4 Do good, O LORD, to those who are good,

 and to those who are upright in their hearts! 

5 But those who turn aside upon their crooked ways the LORD will lead away with evildoers! 

Peace be in Israel! 

Another one of these Psalms that seem to be about physical Jerusalem but on further inspection just cannot be. As this psalm goes on and on about the peaceful protected nature of Jerusalem. It must be spiritual Jerusalem and not physical Jerusalem that is meant, because physical Jerusalem is one of the most sacked city in history and the prophecies of Zechariah are fairly clear that it will be sacked once if not twice more.

21   Tell me, you who desire to be under law, do you not hear the law?  22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave and one by a free woman.  23 But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, the son of the free woman through promise.  24 Now this is an allegory: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar.  25 Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children.  26 But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.  27 For it is written, “Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and shout, you who are not in travail; for the children of the desolate one are many more than the children of her that is married.”  28 Now we, brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise.  29 But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now.  30 But what does the scripture say? “Cast out the slave and her son; for the son of the slave shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.”  31 So, brethren, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman. Gal. 4:21-31

Spiritual or free Jerusalem is not located in anyone place, but freely moves to wherever God’s people are. It is part of the promise that He will never leave us.[1Kings 8:57] It is a place where no matter what is going on physically our souls are safe.

The passage is not about the ceremonial sacrificial system it is about sonship. Paul is teaching that believing Gentiles are the children of promise just as Messiah was the Child of promise. (See Also: The Vatar Covenant)

Hagar is the ceremonial sacrificial system, although Sarah is not named it is she that prefigures the New Jerusalem or Heavenly Jerusalem, the Jerusalem where there is no temple.

There are those that teach that this “free Jerusalem” is freedom from the law however that is not possible.

Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law. Rom. 3:31

The Isaiah passage that Paul quotes is about the Gentiles who were desolate are now needing their tents to be enlarged.  For these believing Gentiles will posses the desolate cities, places that had not known God, places that were cursed with the idols and practices of paganism.

1   “Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in travail! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her that is married, says the LORD.  2 Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; hold not back, lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes.  3 For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left, and your descendants will possess the nations and will people the desolate cities. Is. 54:1-3

All this is possible because the faith is no longer centered in a city in a particular place. For we are now the temple and the city is where we make our stand.

A time is coming when even greater truths will be revealed, but for now we see through a dim mirror, as mirror in the first century were made of shiny metal for there was no glass surface to make them clear.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. 1Cor. 13:12

And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. Rev. 21:22

Psalm 124

Oriental ProcessionA Song of Ascents. Of David. 

1 If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, 

let Israel now say — 

2 if it had not been the LORD who was on our side, 

when men rose up against us, 

3 then they would have swallowed us up alive, 

when their anger was kindled against us; 

4 then the flood would have swept us away, 

the torrent would have gone over us; 

5 then over us would have gone the raging waters. 

6 Blessed be the LORD, who has not given us as prey to their teeth! 

7 We have escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers; 

the snare is broken, and we have escaped! 

8 Our help is in the name of the LORD, 

who made heaven and earth. 

Most of this seems to be about the physical help the children of Israel received as they left Egypt. However the line that “the snare is broken” lends itself more to a spiritual interpretation as that is how the phrase is used.

They shall not dwell in your land, lest they make you sin against me; for if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you.” Ex. 23:33

Take heed to yourself, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither you go, lest it become a snare in the midst of you. Ex. 34:12

And you shall destroy all the peoples that the LORD your God will give over to you, your eye shall not pity them; neither shall you serve their gods, for that would be a snare to you. Deut. 7:16

It is paganism that is the snare. Those who belong to the Lord’s our only those that have escaped paganism. For the snare is alway set, and we must always be ready to make our escape. (See Also: The Pagan Origins of Christmas I, The Pagan Origins of Christmas II, The Pagan Origins of Christmas III, The Pagan Origins of Easter, The Pagan Origins of Lent)