Summary: How do we have a fruitful life - one filled with joy amidst the pressures of this age? These five psalms of assent give us clues as to how God blesses in the midst of pressure.
Last time we talked about the first five of the Songs of Ascent. They mostly had to do with pilgrims journeying from far away lands, anxious to get away from people who put down the truth of who God is and come into God’s presence in Jerusalem.
This time we will see the next five psalms, which generally have to do with foreign people’s oppressing the children of Israel and trying to wipe them out. The Psalmist prays to Yahweh to turn that curse around to a blessing!
For us, we who are part of God’s family often live our lives under pressure—pressure to reflect God’s character and be an ambassador for the gospel while enduring difficulties, trials, tribulations, and temptations. Let’s look at some ways to handle these pressures and continue to bear fruit for the Lord.
1 – 2
The psalmist paints two pictures of the Lord. First, He is like Mt Zion, the mountain where the Temple stood. Trusting in God means trusting in something stable and lasting, unlike those that reject the Lord.
Jerusalem was built on a series of hills and the psalmist sees this and feels the protection of the Lord surrounding His people.
3 – 5
As opposed to those who trust in God, those that reject Him will not stay in power. This was both a promise to Israel but also a greater promise to us. God will remove those who reject Him. He will show His goodness to those who love Him and “banish” those that do not.
Those that do not want anything to do with God and His Messiah Jesus will not have to. But in that, they will be separated from everything that is good.
In terms of living the Christian life under pressure, the lesson here is two-fold:
Our God, and our relationship with Him, gives us stability through rocky times.
The king of this world has been defeated, along with his power; so don’t let him influence you any more.
Psalm 126 seems to be written as a prayer for deliverance from Babylon.
1 – 3
When the children of Israel were taken to Babylon, they longed to come back to the Promised Land. In their dreams they laughed and sang again at home.
Two things come to mind here—one is the great thing that the Lord has done for us in bringing us salvation from sin and into eternal life through Jesus. That’s something to shout about!
The other are the dreams that we have of a coming age when evil will be banished and Jesus will rule this world in complete and total righteousness.
4 – 6
So here the psalmist is asking God to make those dreams come true. “Watercourses in the Negev” refer to wadis or occasional streams that only filled when there was a lot of rain. It might seem like a time of great dryness as they are prisoners in a foreign land, but when they return they will surely plant seeds and be there to reap the harvest.
The lessons on living a life of fruitfulness despite pressure are these:
1. We need to remember that it is the Lord who causes us to be fruitful, no matter how spiritually dry a place the Lord has placed us in.
2. The seeds that you plant for the Lord will bear fruit, no matter how much anguish or difficulty you encounter along the way.
John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me.
This psalm was written by David’s son, Solomon.
1 – 2
It’s interesting that Solomon wrote this psalm as the one who oversaw the building of God’s temple. He realizes that no matter how big or small the project, unless God directs it, it will fail.
One thing we have to keep in mind is when the Lord does build something, it might not be as impressive as the Temple; it might be as simple as a kind word of encouragement to someone who is discouraged. But also, no matter how grand a thing that is built, if we do it in our strength and purpose, and not God’s, we might as well not even undertake it.
That’s important because sometimes when we don’t see success as this age defines it, we start working harder—trying to help God out. Don’t bother.
Yes, work hard, but do what God calls you to do and look for success metrics as He would define them—lives transformed, hearts mended, seeds planted. Then you can sleep peacefully knowing you have engaged in God’s work.
3 – 5
Here the psalmist declares the blessings of the Lord that would be very meaningful to his culture—children were a huge blessing in an agrarian society that depended on having hands to help in the labor. Sons were a special blessing because they could keep the family name going.