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FRAMEWORKS: Psa 120: Approaching God means stepping away from the world


A song of ascents.


[Preliminary Comments: This psalm is the first of fifteen psalms headed ‘A song of ascents', psalms of going up. It is uncertain what that ‘going up' referred to. These fifteen may be songs sung going up the steps into the Temple, or they may be simply psalms that pilgrims sang as they went up to worship. Perhaps we may see them as steps to take us nearer into the presence of God.

The start comes with the psalmist registering his discontent, his unhappiness, of having to listen to people bad-mouthing others [v.1,2], of having no stable basis to their lives [v.5], people who are violent in outlook [v.6,7], people who just deserve God's punishment [v.3,4]. In all of this he seeks to distance himself from the unrighteous as he approaches the Lord.]



v.1,2 A cry to be delivered from those who speak unrighteously


v.1  I call on the Lord in my distress,
     and he answers me.
v.2  Save me, Lord,
     from lying lips
     and from deceitful tongues.


v.3,4 The Lord will punish those who speak like that


v.3  What will he do to you,
     and what more besides,
     you deceitful tongue?
v.4  He will punish you with a warrior's sharp arrows,
     with burning coals of the broom bush.


v.5 I live among those with lives without foundations


v.5  Woe to me that I dwell in Meshek, [tribal wanderers]
     that I live among the tents of Kedar!

v.6,7 I almost despair of living among violent people, I long for peace


v.6  Too long have I lived
     among those who hate peace.
v.7  I am for peace;
     but when I speak, they are for war.



[Additional Comments: In approaching the Lord, ascending into His presence, the psalmist starts out by recognising the state of the world about him, and declares his intent to distance himself from such attitudes and such lives.]



Continue to Psa 121