Dealing with Hard Places
Bible Reading of the Day: Psalms 120-122
Psalm 120 is one of the ascent Psalms. The Easy English Bible Commentary has this to say about these type of Psalms:
“Psalms 120 – 134 are all part of the 15 psalms that are called “Songs of Ascent” in many Bibles. “Ascent” means “going up”. We have translated it “climbing”. But what are we climbing? Students of the Bible give us 4 answers:
- One line in the psalm “climbs” on the line in front of it. This means that it repeats the line. Read the start of Psalm 124 for an example.
- There were 15 steps from where the women stood to where the men stood outside the temple. The temple was God’s house in Jerusalem. As the men climbed the steps, they sang one psalm on each step. This is why most of these psalms are short.
- Jerusalem was on the top of a hill called “Zion”. The Jews often went to Jerusalem to worship God at the temple. The Jews sang these psalms for climbing as they went up the hills to Jerusalem.
- Hezekiah was a king of the Jews. He was so ill that he would soon die. He asked God for a longer life. God made the clock “climb” back 10 degrees. This was about an hour. It was a sign that Hezekiah would live for another 15 years. Hezekiah made a book of 15 psalms, 10 of them new, the other 5 by David and Solomon. The story of Hezekiah’s illness is in Isaiah chapter 38.”
Dealing with Hard Places—The Psalmists’ Example
Who wrote the psalms for climbing? Some are by David, and one or two are by Solomon. Solomon was David’s son. The other psalms for climbing may be by Hezekiah or one of his friends like Isaiah; or by Ezra or Nehemiah. Ezra and Nehemiah were leaders of the Jews 500 years after Solomon built the temple, or 250 years after Hezekiah was king. This was when the Jews made the Book of Psalms. The psalms for climbing were part of this Book of Psalms.” (Easy English Bible Commentary).
The Psalmists learned that dealing with hard places was a part of life and God always held the answer.
Dealing with Hard Places—Cry Out!
In Psalm 120, the Psalmist is crying out to the LORD (all caps), meaning our covenant-keeping God. This is speaking of the relationship he had with God. He could come and pour out his heart to God and know that he would be heard.
In spite of challenges, the Psalmist didn’t to give up and asked for help and while sometimes the situations were intense that the Psalmist sought deliverance for, I think we can relate to his plight.
“In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. 2 “Lord, rescue me from lying lips and a deceitful tongue.”
Dealing with Hard Places—The Daily Grind
In short, sometimes it is not always a monstrous dire situation that is our struggle. It is the daily grind that wears us down. Dealing with hard places is not always the obvious problems we face.
- People were talking about him. Ever been slandered or gossiped about?
- And they were lying about him.
- Combative people were in his life who did not want peace. Ever had people stir the pot in your life?
Dealing with Hard Places—Peace in the Midst
Yesterday we talked about the need for peace in our lives – the Psalmist is seeking this peace. But the peace God wants for us is not just the absence of troubles. It is an abiding peace.
In the same way, it is when we go through hard things down here that we are desperate for relief. Sometimes we seek peace but dealing with hard places in our lives, we can run to things of the world for refuge.
What do you need to cry out to God about? Cry out, friend! Don’t resist asking our heavenly Father for help! He wants to help. He wants to have a relationship with Him. And He wants to be our Deliverer, Our rescue.
Dealing with Hard Places—Our Rescue
The Psalmist in Psalm 121 describes Who this is that we are crying out to. He is well able.
“I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? 2 My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. 3 He will not allow your foot to slip; your Protector will not slumber. 4 Indeed, the Protector of Israel does not slumber or sleep. 5 The LORD protects you; the LORD is a shelter right by your side. 6 The sun will not strike you by day or the moon by night. 7 And the LORD will protect you from all harm; he will protect your life. 8 The LORD will protect your coming and going both now and forever.”
God is our Helper. Our Protector. Our Shelter.
Scripture of the Day: Psalm 121: 7-8
“The Lord will protect you from all harm; he will protect your life. 8 The Lord will protect your coming and going both now and forever.”
Interestingly, the word protect is the Hebrew word, “shamar” and it appears three times in this verse. It means to keep, guard, observe, give heed, to watch over.
In the same way, sometimes we just want to know that we are seen in this life. God sees us, friend. And more than sees us, he is watching over us. With great care. He is our Protector. Of our coming and going, over all of our life.
Dealing with Hard Places—Pray for Others
Lastly, in Psalm 122 we are told to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Gotquestions.org has this to say about why we should pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
God tells us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem in Psalm 122:6-9: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.’ For the sake of my brothers and friends, I will say, ‘Peace be within you.’ For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your prosperity.” God promised blessings on those who bless Israel and curses on those who curse her (Genesis 12:3), and since Jerusalem is depicted as the center of Jewish life, it follows that those who pray for her peace and security will be granted peace themselves.
Dealing with Hard Places—Praying for Peace
Ultimately, praying for the peace of Jerusalem is most appropriate for a city whose name literally means “peaceful” and which is the residence of the God of peace. Further, Jerusalem will be the scene of Christ’s return (Acts 1:11; Zechariah 14:4), and at that time He will establish permanent peace with its walls. All Christians should be eagerly awaiting His return and praying for the time when the Prince of Peace will reign in Jerusalem.”
- Cry out to God. Numbing ourselves with the world’s solutions will not heal us.
- Don’t look for peace to be an end of troubles. Look to God as your peace.
- Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
𝗝𝗼𝗶𝗻 𝗺𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗕𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝗥𝗲𝗮𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗣𝗹𝗮𝗻 𝘁𝗼𝗱𝗮𝘆 𝗮𝘁 12 𝗽𝗺 𝗘𝗧.
Day #298: Psalm 120-122 – Dealing with Hard Places
𝒱𝑒𝓇𝓈𝑒 𝑜𝒻 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝒟𝒶𝓎: Psalm 121: 7-8
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