Psalm 120: Just Starting Out

 By Jeffrey Stivason - Posted at Place for Truth:

Reading the Psalms can be or should I say ought to be existential. In other words, we should be able to experience through the Psalmist. We ought to be able to read a Psalm and say, “That describes where I am!” The Psalms, unlike other portions of Scripture, are supposed to function in that way. They actually invite us in. Yes, it is true that all of the Psalms are historical but not all of the Psalms supply the reader with that geographical and temporal context. For example, Psalm 3 is written by David when he fled from Absalom but Psalm 112 has no such context. Psalm 120 is like that.

However, Psalm 120 does have a function in the life of ancient Israel. It was one of the fifteen psalms titled the Psalms of Assent. These were Psalms taken by the pilgrim on their journey to Jerusalem. What is more, this collection of Psalms does provide us with a sense of movement. For instance, in Psalm 120 the Psalmist starts his journey far away. In fact, he speaks of sojourning in Meshech and Kedar. Now, those two locations are entirely separated! It would be impossible to be in both at the same time. Yet, the Psalmist is merely stressing that he is far away from Jerusalem. However, by the time we get to the final psalm of the collection, Psalm 134, the Psalmist is inviting all of the Lord’s servants to “stand by night in the house of the Lord.” He has finally arrived!


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