Psalms of Ascent: April 11th

So often we fly through this season without slowing down to prepare our hearts for Easter. We don’t take the time to remember Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, His death, and His resurrection. When we look into Scripture, we see how God prescribed for His people a day of rest every week the Sabbath and several yearly festivals. He wanted to break His people out of their normal routine to allow them to remember who He is and who they are in Him.

One of the yearly festivals that Israel celebrated was Passover, which harkens back to the story in Exodus where God’s people were delivered from slavery under Pharoah. God’s people had put the blood of a lamb on their doorposts so that the angel of death would “pass over” them. Every year after that amazing deliverance, the Israelites would set aside time to remember their bondage, their need for a deliverer, the power displayed in the plagues that finally convinced Pharaoh to let them go, God’s provision of the lamb, God’s protection at the Red Sea, God’s care in the desert, His sacrificial love for them.

Each year as Passover approached, the Israelites would journey to Jerusalem for the festival, and while they were making the ascent into Jerusalem, they would sing songs of remembrance. We know these songs as Psalm 120-134, which start with themes of exile and need and move toward restoration and worship. We are going to spend the next week reflecting on the songs of these travelers as we too prepare our hearts for Passover and Easter. Our first one is Psalm 122:

Let Us Go to the House of the Lord

A Song of Ascents. Of David.

122 I was glad when they said to me,

“Let us go to the house of the Lord!”

2 Our feet have been standing

within your gates, O Jerusalem!

3 Jerusalem—built as a city

that is bound firmly together,

4 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.

5 There thrones for judgment were set,

the thrones of the house of David.

6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!

“May they be secure who love you!

7 Peace be within your walls

and security within your towers!”

8 For my brothers and companions’ sake

I will say, “Peace be within you!”

9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,

I will seek your good.

Joy in Communion

In Psalm 122, we see the traveler getting excited about entering Jerusalem. He is with his people and his God. Here are some questions for thought:

  1. Why would it be important for God’s people to go to Jerusalem each year and not just stay home? Is there importance in worshipping with others?
  2. What was the traveler’s response to being in Jerusalem (verses 4, 6, 9)?
  3. How can you respond in thankfulness and prayer as you remember what Christ did for you in Jerusalem on that Passover before Easter?

Prayer

Lord, help me find joy in being with you and your people today. Give me a thankful heart and make me a peacemaker, seeking the good of my companions for your sake.  Thank you that we can come before you because of Jesus and that we can intimately know you.

— Jamie Harms

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