Psalms

  • Psalms Facts

    150 chapters
    2,461 verses
    41,277 words
    Wisdom Genre

  • Psalms Word Cloud

    This word cloud picture shows the most repeated words in Psalms

  • Writings about Psalms

    Christian education materials about Psalms, including book overviews, reading guides for the Wisdom genre, discussion questions, discipleship lessons, and throught-provoking essay.

  • Psalms Daily Readings

    Start reading or listening to Psalms and its associated daily readers on Day 276 when Psalms begins

Daily Reader for Day 295: Psalms 120 - 131


by Dave Moore

After the lengthy Psalm 119 and its celebration of God’s law, it seems like a good time for a series of brief, focused Psalms of praise.  Each of them is labeled as a “Song of Ascents,” the meaning of which is unclear.  They could be songs that were sung while journeying toward Jerusalem, or while climbing the steps of the Temple mount.  It’s possible they are to strive toward a musical crescendo.  Or there is possibly, even likely, another meaning altogether that escapes us. 

Regardless of the true meaning, you’ll get to know what a “Song of Ascents” feels like by the end of today’s reading.  A number of them have an idea near the center around which they pivot, such as 123 around “mercy” and 129 around “wait.”  You’ll also notice an emphasis on Zion’s position, as in Psalm 122: Jerusalem—built as a city that is bound firmly together, to which the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, as was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the LORD.  There thrones for judgment were set, the thrones of the house of David.

Notice the hopeful tension that inhabits many of the prayers.  Individual and national distress are often close to the composer’s mind.  But the Psalmist faithfully proclaims that Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth...  O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with Him is plentiful redemption.   And He will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

Our verse for this week is James 5:16: Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

Psalms 120 through 131.  Now let’s read it!

Psalms 120 - 131

120:1   In my distress I called to the LORD,
    and he answered me.
  Deliver me, O LORD,
    from lying lips,
    from a deceitful tongue.
  What shall be given to you,
    and what more shall be done to you,
    you deceitful tongue?
  A warrior's sharp arrows,
    with glowing coals of the broom tree!
  Woe to me, that I sojourn in Meshech,
    that I dwell among the tents of Kedar!
  Too long have I had my dwelling
    among those who hate peace.
  I am for peace,
    but when I speak, they are for war!

121:1   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.
  He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.
  Behold, he who keeps Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.
  The LORD is your keeper;
    the LORD is your shade on your right hand.
  The sun shall not strike you by day,
    nor the moon by night.
  The LORD will keep you from all evil;
    he will keep your life.
  The LORD will keep
    your going out and your coming in
    from this time forth and forevermore.

122:1   I was glad when they said to me,
    “Let us go to the house of the LORD!”
  Our feet have been standing
    within your gates, O Jerusalem!
  Jerusalem—built as a city
    that is bound firmly together,
  to which the tribes go up,
    the tribes of the LORD,
  as was decreed for Israel,
    to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
  There thrones for judgment were set,
    the thrones of the house of David.
  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
    “May they be secure who love you!
  Peace be within your walls
    and security within your towers!”
  For my brothers and companions' sake
    I will say, “Peace be within you!”
  For the sake of the house of the LORD our God,
    I will seek your good.

123:1   To you I lift up my eyes,
    O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
  Behold, as the eyes of servants
    look to the hand of their master,
  as the eyes of a maidservant
    to the hand of her mistress,
  so our eyes look to the LORD our God,
    till he has mercy upon us.
  Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us,
    for we have had more than enough of contempt.
  Our soul has had more than enough
    of the scorn of those who are at ease,
    of the contempt of the proud.

124:1   If it had not been the LORD who was on our side—
    let Israel now say—
  if it had not been the LORD who was on our side
    when people rose up against us,
  then they would have swallowed us up alive,
    when their anger was kindled against us;
  then the flood would have swept us away,
    the torrent would have gone over us;
  then over us would have gone
    the raging waters.
  Blessed be the LORD,
    who has not given us
    as prey to their teeth!
  We have escaped like a bird
    from the snare of the fowlers;
  the snare is broken,
    and we have escaped!
  Our help is in the name of the LORD,
    who made heaven and earth.

125:1   Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion,
    which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
  As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
    so the LORD surrounds his people,
    from this time forth and forevermore.
  For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest
    on the land allotted to the righteous,
  lest the righteous stretch out
    their hands to do wrong.
  Do good, O LORD, to those who are good,
    and to those who are upright in their hearts!
  But those who turn aside to their crooked ways
    the LORD will lead away with evildoers!
    Peace be upon Israel!

126:1   When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion,
    we were like those who dream.
  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.”
  The LORD has done great things for us;
    we are glad.
  Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
    like streams in the Negeb!
  Those who sow in tears
    shall reap with shouts of joy!
  He who goes out weeping,
    bearing the seed for sowing,
  shall come home with shouts of joy,
    bringing his sheaves with him.

127:1   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.
  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.
  Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
    the fruit of the womb a reward.
  Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
    are the children of one's youth.
  Blessed is the man
    who fills his quiver with them!
  He shall not be put to shame
    when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

128:1   Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD,
    who walks in his ways!
  You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;
    you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.
  Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
    within your house;
  your children will be like olive shoots
    around your table.
  Behold, thus shall the man be blessed
    who fears the LORD.
  The LORD bless you from Zion!
    May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
    all the days of your life!
  May you see your children's children!
    Peace be upon Israel!

129:1   “Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth”—
    let Israel now say—
  “Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth,
    yet they have not prevailed against me.
  The plowers plowed upon my back;
    they made long their furrows.”
  The LORD is righteous;
    he has cut the cords of the wicked.
  May all who hate Zion
    be put to shame and turned backward!
  Let them be like the grass on the housetops,
    which withers before it grows up,
  with which the reaper does not fill his hand
    nor the binder of sheaves his arms,
  nor do those who pass by say,
    “The blessing of the LORD be upon you!
    We bless you in the name of the LORD!”

130:1   Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD!
    O Lord, hear my voice!
  Let your ears be attentive
    to the voice of my pleas for mercy!
  If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities,
    O Lord, who could stand?
  But with you there is forgiveness,
    that you may be feared.
  I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
    and in his word I hope;
  my soul waits for the Lord
    more than watchmen for the morning,
    more than watchmen for the morning.
  O Israel, hope in the LORD!
    For with the LORD there is steadfast love,
    and with him is plentiful redemption.
  And he will redeem Israel
    from all his iniquities.

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.
  But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
    like a weaned child with its mother;
    like a weaned child is my soul within me.
  O Israel, hope in the LORD
    from this time forth and forevermore.

(ESV)

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