The Songs for the Journey to Worship (Psalms 120–134) celebrate the journey to Jerusalem to worship in God’s temple. Centuries before these psalms were composed, the Lord chose to make His earthly home on Mount Zion in Jerusalem and directed David’s son to build His house. King Solomon built the first temple and dedicated it to God in an elaborate ceremony that brought Israel together on the holy mountain (1 Kings 8). Now, clearly, the wise king believed that the one True God was present everywhere in the world, but he knew that Jerusalem was a special place, a sacred space picked by God. Solomon understood what we seem to have forgotten: those created in God’s image long to encounter God in His holiness. And if we try to make every place holy, then no place is holy because holy means “set apart,” “distinct,” “special.” So we need sacredness in our lives: sacred times, places, and people in our search for wholeness, for shalom. For centuries God’s faithful people of the first and second covenants have gone on pilgrimages to the Holy Land and Jerusalem. Often these songs have gone with them, for they desire to draw close to God and to walk in the steps of those who have passed the faith along.
1 When I was in deep trouble, I called out to the Eternal, and He answered my call. 2 I prayed: “Protect me, Eternal, from lips that lie and tongues poisoned with deceit.”
3 Liars, what will be your prize? And what will come your way, O you tongues poisoned with deceit? 4 Here’s what you can expect: the archers’ arrows honed sharp as well as the red-hot coals of the broom wood.
5 Sorrow is mine, for I am a foreigner wandering in Meshech; I am a stranger drifting among the tents of Kedar! 6 My soul has roamed much too long among people who despise peace. 7 I am for peace; I ask for peace, but even as I open my mouth, they are ready to fight.
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