Read: Psalm 121 & 130
The Pilgrim Psalms, or the Psalms of Ascent, document the desire of God’s people to be in Jerusalem and to be near the temple where God dwelt in the Holy of Holies. They were are believed to have been sung during pilgrimage feasts, during the rebuilding of the temple, or during Babylonian captivity, when God’s people were desperate for his presence.
Imagine David, the warrior-king, sitting in the wilderness, making his way back to Jerusalem. The night casts a shadow over everything. As the wind blows, he scans the darkness. He knows the enemies surround him. His hand rests on his sword, even though he is too tired and too sore to lift it. If only the day would illuminate what I cannot see. If only light would cast out my fears. Broken, bruised, bloodied. David, full of fear, begins to write a song.
“I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait,
And in His word do I hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
More than the watchmen for the morning;
Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning.”
Picture the Israelite people making their pilgrimage to Jerusalem to worship Yahweh. Much like their parents and grandparents before them, they are walking through the wilderness to the land that God had promised. The journey is difficult. The entire family is exhausted. The sun beats down on their skin. They thirst in a way they never knew possible. They can see the city on the hill in the distance. Though the journey is long, they trust God will sustain them in their pursuit of worship.
“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.”
Now imagine your life. What journey has the Lord placed before you. Are you in battle, fighting your way back to the place where God dwells? Are you bruised and bloodied? Can you lift your hands?
Do you feel like you are in the wilderness, just trying to draw near to God? Are you thirsty and famished? Are you tired and weary? Can you lift your eyes?
See that your help comes from the Lord. We will wait for him, expectantly. More than the watchmen wait for the morning.
- In the last year, have you found yourself in the wilderness? Are you bruised and bloodied? Have you felt exhausted on the journey the Lord has placed before you?
- How have you felt the Lord telling you to lift your eyes up to him? Have you felt him saying that recently?
- What makes it difficult for us to have hope in God’s help?
- How can you remind your Missional Community of the hope we have in the Lord’s presence? How can they remind you?
Pray the Psalms
Read and pray through the Psalms this week. As you pray, reflect on the refrain for each Psalm written below. Conclude each Psalm with “Glory to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever. Amen.”
- Psalm 121 – The Lord shall keep you from all evil.
- Psalm 24 – The Lord of hosts; he is the King of glory.
- Psalm 62 – Wait on God alone in stillness, O my soul.
- Psalm 130 – My soul waits for the Lord.
- Psalm 71 – O God, be not far from me.
- Psalm 69 – Hide not your face from your servant.
- Psalm 23 – I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.