The first day and first month of the new year, January ’20 – 1/20, gives us an opportunity to pray God’s word in a fresh way using Psalm 120.
Psalm 120 is the first song in the collection called “Songs of Ascent” within the Psalter (Psalms 120-134). These are pilgrim songs sung and prayed by travelers going up to Jerusalem for one of the traditional festivals on the Jewish calendar.
This first song is placed in a remote and foreign location far from home (in Meshech and Kedar–good luck finding those on a map). The pilgrim has a very strong sense of being out of place and not belonging. It’s not just that the location is far from the temple, it’s also the fact that lies and deception, conflict and war are the preoccupation of those on every side.
“ I cried to Yahweh in my distress and He answered me.
Deliver me, Yahweh, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue.
What will be given to you, deceitful tongue, and what will be added to you?
The warrior’s sharp arrows and burning coals of the broom tree!
Woe is me, that I am camped in Meshech, that I dwell among the tents of Kedar!
My soul has stayed too long with the one who hates peace.
I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war.”
Let’s pray for peace, speak up for peace, and set our hearts on journeying closer to God this year. Don’t live like someone settled down and at ease especially with the hatred, conflicts and deception that is too common around us. Shake it off and set your direction to head home to God. Let’s start climbing!