As Phillip Goodhew reminded us last Sunday, these Psalms,120-134, are known as Psalms of ascents, sung by pilgrims from all over Palestine – growing in numbers as they were joined by others all moving at last up the mountain, to the city of Jerusalem, to the temple itself for whatever religious festival was being celebrated.
(We have been trying to imagine walking, camping, eating and talking with many other like- minded pilgrims, all eager to reach the city, and the temple of God – singing as finally the mountain was tackled. The closest we can get to this is the hill climb by hundreds of excited people in January each year for CMS Summer School. We run or stride or struggle up the hill, meeting people we haven’t seen for a year or more and all eager to reach to top, there to join in robust singing and expectant for great teaching.)
Today’s Psalm, 123, like Psalm 121 encourages us to ‘look up‘ to God Almighty ‘enthroned in heaven‘.v1 It is a prayer that calls out to God for mercy because these people were downtrodden, rejected and ridiculed. v3-4. God is pictured as MASTER and the pray-ers as SLAVES. The pilgrims know their master is in relationship with his ‘slaves’, he cares and protects them. The slaves in turn reach out to receive care and protection from their benevolent master.
We know that we too can ‘lift our eyes’ and reach for God’s mercy, secure in Christ, for his provision for whatever situation we find ourselves in today. Jesus himself said, ‘Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat, drink or wear …….. Your Heavenly Father knows that you need them.’ ( Matthew 6:25ff)
Encouragement from St Paul – ‘Do not be anxious but in every situation by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God’. and from St Peter – ‘Cast all your cares on him for he cares for you.’ (1Peter 5:7)
Let us be thankful today that God, our Master cares for us.
Peter and Elizabeth.