Summary: We put too much faith in our ability to ‘get up enough faith’ (whatever that may mean), rather than placing our trust in the Lord. Do you see the difference? One focuses on US, the other on HIM.
A STURDY FAITH?
Sometimes we speak of a person’s great faith, or their unwavering trust in the Lord, as if this was not attainable by any and each and all of us. ‘Oh,’ we say, ‘he has such faith’. Or, ‘she trusts so entirely upon the LORD’. But Jesus, whilst He gently rebukes His disciples, ‘O ye of little faith’ (Matthew 8:26); also says that it only takes faith ‘the size of a mustard seed’ to accomplish things which we might otherwise have thought impossible (Matthew 17:20; Luke 17:6)!
Our problem, sometimes, is that we put too much faith in our ability to ‘get up enough faith’ (whatever that may mean), rather than placing our trust in the Lord. Do you see the difference? One focuses on US, the other on HIM.
Our Psalm begins with two complementary similes. First, “Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion” (Psalm 125:1a). Mount Zion stood for Jerusalem, or more specifically for the Temple; but spiritually, Mount Zion stands for the presence of God amid His people. Ultimately, this presence of God is personified in the Person of His incarnate Son, who ‘set up His tabernacle’ among us (John 1:14).
What is thus said about those who trust in the LORD? That “they cannot be moved” but “abide forever” (Psalm 125:1b). They are like trees planted by the waterside (Psalm 1:3) - but more than that (for trees might fall), they are like God Himself, for they are conformed to the image of the Son of God (Romans 8:29) and are assured that ‘nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Romans 8:38-39).
Second “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds His people” (Psalm 125:2a). Although the pilgrims spoke about ‘going up’ to Jerusalem, Mount Zion is not actually higher, but lower, than the surrounding mountains. What can this mean? Well, before ever we had faith, we were already surrounded by God’s grace. Jesus tells His disciples, ‘You did not choose Me, but I chose you’ (John 15:16); and the Apostle John reminds us, ‘We love Him because He first loved us’ (1 John 4:19).
This reassurance is the basis of the confidence expressed in the middle verse of our Psalm. Because He reigns in our lives, there is no room for the sceptre of any other. “The land” HAS been “allotted to the righteous” (Psalm 125:3). It is Jesus who bears the sceptre of God’s righteousness into the world, and we ARE ‘the righteousness of God in Him’ (2 Corinthians 5:21). In Him, our relationship with God is as sturdy and immovable as the mountains of Moriah. Only more so.
The Psalm offers a petition: “Do good, O LORD, to (the) good, and to (those who are) upright in their hearts” (Psalm 125:4). Who is good but God? Who upright (or righteous) but Christ - and all who are found in Him? Our goodness is founded upon His grace; and our righteousness is His righteousness, imputed to us through the blood of Jesus.
As for those who prefer “crooked ways” to uprightness, they will reap the consequences of their sin. They will be led away with the rest of the “workers of iniquity” (Psalm 125:5). This is not so much the flip side of the petition as a simple statement of fact.
We pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and the salvation of Israel. Shalom. Amen.