Summary: Learn how each Psalm in the Songs of Ascent (120-134) describe the exciting life of the modern day follower of God as we climb and grow in our relationship with Christ.
Perseverance: Hiking the Steep Grade
July 7, 2002
This morning, we’re going to be talking about the 5th word that you’re going to become very well acquainted with as you hike the upward trail we call the Christian life…
If you’ve been with us in past weeks you know that we’ve been using a special group of chapters out of the book of Psalms, called the “Songs of Ascent”,
Instead of singing “100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” or counting “blue trucks with license plates from Alabama”… ancient travelers used to sing these songs with their families, as they’d travel on foot to Jerusalem to worship in the temple.
As a group, they really symbolize what it’s like to travel with Jesus, following Him each step of the way. So let’s read Psalm 129 this morning together… (READ)
Psalm 129 is really a song about ‘perseverance’. If you’re going to be a faithful follower of Jesus Christ… you’re going to have to develop this characteristic in your life.
People who win in life (in any area) have developed the ability to stay at it, to never quit, to keep on keeping on!
Call it “grit”, tenacity, endurance, persistence, diligence, determination, stubbornness (some people even call it stupidity)… but without it… whatever you put your hand to…won’t succeed!
This is especially true when it comes to living the Christian life.
That’s because as you try and stand for what is right and Godly…everyone and everything will be against you at times.
The psalmist writes in vs. 1,2… “They’ve kicked me around ever since I was young…
You might as well know now… if you decide to follow Jesus Christ, the people you care about the most… may not support your decision! In fact, they may openly oppose it!
Friends at school, relatives, parents, husbands, wives… and they may even kick you around a little bit in the process!
When you decide to live like as a Christian… the world will oppose you… circumstances will oppose you… the devil will oppose you… So if you’re going to make it… you’re going to have to have that little ‘bit of grit’… ingrained deep down in the pit of your soul that says…
“You may have knocked me down temporarily… but with God’s help, I’m not going to stay there! You may have gotten the upper hand for the moment… but don’t worry… I’ll be back!
He says, “They’ve kicked me around…but they never could keep me down!” He says, “In the end, I WILL TRIUMPH!”
Have you ever noticed that the word “TRIUMPH” is nothing more than “umph”… added to “try”? It may not seem like a lot of difference, but as we’ll find out this morning… it may make ALL the difference… between winning and losing; between falling and standing.
The people of God are tough! They’re not these willy-nilly, fragile, fair-haired, feather-weights! They can take the heat!
For centuries those who belong to the world have waged war against the way of faith… vs. 3 says, “Their plowmen plowed long furrows up and down my back”… but they have YET to win!
The people of faith have always outlasted the oppressors, because FAITH lasts!
But what we fail to realize sometimes is that the very trials we want to ignore and pray to have removed… may be God’s way of toughening up our faith!
I thought this was interesting when I read it. These are actual comments taken from registration forms returned to the rangers at the “Bridger Wilderness Area” in Wyoming… (I think you’ll get a kick out of this!)
1. Trails need to be wider, so people can walk holding hands.
2. Trails need to be reconstructed. Please avoid trails that go uphill.
3. Too many bugs and leeches and spiders webs. Please spray the wilderness to rid
the area of these pests.
4. Please pave the trials so they can be plowed of snow during the winter.
5. Chairlifts need to be in some places so that we can get to wonderful views without
having to hike to them.
6. The coyotes made too much noise last night and kept me awake. Please eradicate
these annoying animals.
7. A small deer came into my camp and stole my jar of pickles. Is there a way I can
8. Reflectors need to be placed on trees every 50 ft so people can hike at night with
9. Escalators would help on steep uphill sections.
10. A McDonalds would be nice at the trailhead.
11. The places where trails do not exist are not well marked.
12. Too many rocks in the mountains.
Can you imagine what would happen to the wilderness if these people had their way? Talk about spoiled!
Sometimes when it comes to God, we’re no different! We want convenience and comfort…we don’t want hardship! We want escalators on the “steep uphill sections”… “a McDonalds at every trailhead”… but if you’re going to go all the way with God…