Notes from Psalms of Ascent – Week 3

Our next three psalms (125, 126, and 127) are all about the goodness of God! Encouraging words on our journey that we are protected on all sides, we are restored by His goodness, and we are confident in His will for our lives.

Psalm 126 tells us that God surrounds us like the mountains surrounding Jerusalem — sure, unshaken, everlasting. These aspects of the nature of God are secure, and we can rest wholly in the fact that His nature does not change. But how often do we trust the security of the blessings of God rather than trusting God Himself? How often do we believe that God is who He says He is based on whether or not we get what we want? We should be careful to not confuse His blessing with the nature of His person. In other words, as Beth Moore says, “If our trust is in manifestations of God’s favor rather than God Himself, we will crumble like dry clay when he calls us to walk a distance of our journeys entirely by faith and not by sight.” Rest securely in the fact that God’s goodness is present even in our struggles.

I love the opening verse of Psalm 127: “When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.” To me, this perfectly captures the sense of unbelief and overwhelming joy that God would be so merciful and good to us in the restoration He performs in our lives. When you think to yourself, “I must be dreaming!” God surely does great things for us. But Psalm 127 continues with the exhortation that the part we play in this blessing plan involves “sowing the seed.” The seed is God’s word and it must be applied to our lives. There are times when this sowing process involves tears and weeping, but we are given the promise that, in due season, our harvest will come with shouts of joy.

Psalm 127 reminds us that our efforts are in vain if we do not recognize that God is responsible for the goodness in our lives. I believe that the Psalms and Ecclesiastes are having what is called a “canonical conversation” here. Remember what the Preacher says in Ecclesiastes, “Vanity! Vanity! All is vanity.” The psalmist (Solomon in this particular case) echoes the same sentiment, “Unless the LORD builds a house, its builders labor over it in vain; unless the LORD watches over a city, the watchman stays alert in vain.” When we perform work thinking that we alone are responsible for our gain, this is vain labor. Yes, we are to labor in our earthly lives, but why and for what? So that we can claim sole responsibility for our own fortune and gain? Instead, we labor in recognition that we are doing so alongside our Lord, who is building us up and working all things together for our good.

See you next week!

Study Guide answers (pages 88 and 89 of your study book):

  1. seven weeks; Pentecost
  2. giving of the Law
  3. remembering; former bondage
  4. great generosity; grace; giving; spontaneous; bounties
  5. Feast of the Harvest

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