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Ambassador Baptist Church
1926 Babcock Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15209
(412)822-7255
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Pastor's Pen - July 9, 2007
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July 9, 2007

Psalms 120 - 132
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Psalms
Chapter 120
  1. (A Song of degrees.) In my distress I cried unto the LORD, and he heard me.
  2. Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.
  3. What shall be given unto thee? or what shall be done unto thee, thou false tongue?
  4. Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper.
  5. Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar!
  6. My soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth peace.
  7. I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war.


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Psalms
Chapter 121
  1. (A Song of degrees.) I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
  2. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
  3. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
  4. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
  5. The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
  6. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
  7. The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
  8. The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.


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Psalms
Chapter 122
  1. (A Song of degrees of David.) I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.
  2. Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem.
  3. Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together:
  4. Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the LORD.
  5. For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David.
  6. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.
  7. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.
  8. For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee.
  9. Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good.


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Psalms
Chapter 123
  1. (A Song of degrees.) Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens.
  2. Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until that he have mercy upon us.
  3. Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us: for we are exceedingly filled with contempt.
  4. Our soul is exceedingly filled with the scorning of those that are at ease, and with the contempt of the proud.


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Psalms
Chapter 124
  1. (A Song of degrees of David.) If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, now may Israel say;
  2. If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us:
  3. Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us:
  4. Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul:
  5. Then the proud waters had gone over our soul.
  6. Blessed be the LORD, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth.
  7. Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped.
  8. Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.


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Psalms
Chapter 125
  1. (A Song of degrees.) They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.
  2. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever.
  3. For the rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous; lest the righteous put forth their hands unto iniquity.
  4. Do good, O LORD, unto those that be good, and to them that are upright in their hearts.
  5. As for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways, the LORD shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity: but peace shall be upon Israel.


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Psalms
Chapter 126
  1. (A Song of degrees.) When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream.
  2. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them.
  3. The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.
  4. Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the south.
  5. They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.
  6. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.


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Psalms
Chapter 127
  1. (A Song of degrees for Solomon.) Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
  2. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.
  3. Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
  4. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
  5. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.


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Psalms
Chapter 128
  1. (A Song of degrees.) Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways.
  2. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.
  3. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table.
  4. Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD.
  5. The LORD shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life.
  6. Yea, thou shalt see thy children's children, and peace upon Israel.


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Psalms
Chapter 129
  1. (A Song of degrees.) Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth, may Israel now say:
  2. Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth: yet they have not prevailed against me.
  3. The plowers plowed upon my back: they made long their furrows.
  4. The LORD is righteous: he hath cut asunder the cords of the wicked.
  5. Let them all be confounded and turned back that hate Zion.
  6. Let them be as the grass upon the housetops, which withereth afore it groweth up:
  7. Wherewith the mower filleth not his hand; nor he that bindeth sheaves his bosom.
  8. Neither do they which go by say, The blessing of the LORD be upon you: we bless you in the name of the LORD. .


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Psalms
Chapter 130
  1. (A Song of degrees.) Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O LORD.
  2. Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.
  3. If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?
  4. But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.
  5. I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.
  6. My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.
  7. Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.
  8. And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.


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Psalms
Chapter 131
  1. (A Song of degrees of David.) LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.
  2. Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.
  3. Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and for ever.


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Psalms
Chapter 132
  1. A Song of degrees. LORD, remember David, and all his afflictions:
  2. How he sware unto the LORD, and vowed unto the mighty God of Jacob;
  3. Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed;
  4. I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids,
  5. Until I find out a place for the LORD, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob.
  6. Lo, we heard of it at Ephratah: we found it in the fields of the wood.
  7. We will go into his tabernacles: we will worship at his footstool.
  8. Arise, O LORD, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength.
  9. Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy.
  10. For thy servant David's sake turn not away the face of thine anointed.
  11. The LORD hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne.
  12. If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore.
  13. For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation.
  14. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.
  15. I will abundantly bless her provision: I will satisfy her poor with bread.
  16. I will also clothe her priests with salvation: and her saints shall shout aloud for joy.
  17. There will I make the horn of David to bud: I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed.
  18. His enemies will I clothe with shame: but upon himself shall his crown flourish.


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Thought for the day:
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 These Psalms all begin with the notation "A Song of Degrees". To the best of my knowledge there is no hard and fast evidence as to exactly what these Psalms, plus numbers 133-134, were used for to merit that designation. The Hebrew word translated "degree" comes from a root word meaning "elevation". Some believe that this means that the psalms were to be sung at a high musical pitch. Others think that these were songs that were sung on the way up to Jerusalem for the feasts. Still others claim that there were fifteen steps that led up to the Temple, and that one of these songs was sung on each step as the Jews arrived. Others believe that they represent a raising of the spirits of the writers. Suffice it to say that we do not know exactly why the title was given to them, but that does not change their importance.

 Once again there are several verses that stand out to me in this section. One of them is found in 122:1:

"I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD."
I understand that David was not speaking of the New Testament church when he made these statements, but I believe that an application to the church can easily be made. The church is referred to as the House of God (I Tim. 3:15), so there certainly is a connection. David wanted to go to the place where God's presence was. He wanted to go with God's people to a place where the Lord was the focal point of all that was going on. He wanted to be in a place where the Word of God was being taught so that the people could learn more about Him. This is what should be happening at the local church today. If it isn't what is happening, then the church needs to change its focus. However, if your church is committed to functioning in a Biblical manner, I would ask you this question: are you happy and excited whenever you have an opportunity to go there? Many Christians grumble and complain when it is time to go to church. They complain that "Sunday is my only day to sleep in", or "I had a hard day at work today, so I can't attend Prayer Meeting". It is almost impossible to get church members to attend an entire week of Revival meetings or a three-day Missions Conference. Why is this? I understand that in some instances people simply are not healthy enough to be out every night. Some have work schedules that simply forbid being in attendance at every meeting. However, for many it is simply a matter of not really having a great desire to go. They aren't glad when the pastor says, "We are having special meetings next month." They aren't happy when their spouse or children ask with anticipation, "Are we going to church tonight?" David, the man after God's heart, wanted to be where God was, and where God's people were. While it is true that God exists everywhere, and is not confined to any building, the same was true in David's day as well, yet he desired to go to the House of God whenever possible Do you?

 A second passage that challenges me is Psalm 127. The end of this chapter speaks of the fact that children are a blessing from the Lord. In our Western society children are often thought of as hindrances or inconveniences. Many couples put off having children as long as they can, and stop having them after one or two because they are too expensive or too difficult to raise. Yet the Bible teaches that it is a blessing for people who can have children to have children. They are like arrows in their parents' hands, giving them strength (4) and confidence (5). However, before children can become what parents want them to become, they must be brought up in accordance with the Word of God. Verse 1 states,

" Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it."
If I as a parent don't apply Biblical principles to my child-rearing, then all the efforts in the world are not going to accomplish what needs to be done. Verse 2 tells us that getting up early and staying up late and worrying are not going to solve anything - but doing things God's way solves everything. While this passage speaks directly towards families, it is applicable to all walks of life. Unless the Lord builds my marriage, it will crumble. Unless He builds our church, it will fail. Unless He builds my career, all my efforts are in vain. Nothing can be accomplished without the Lord's help, and with His help I have nothing to fear.

Pastor Mark J Montgomery

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