Day 10: Psalm 122
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.
Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises. In you our ancestors put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. To you they cried out and were saved; in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads. “He trusts in the Lord,” they say, “let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.”
Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast. From birth I was cast on you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.
Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me. Roaring lions that tear their prey open their mouths wide against me. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted within me. My mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death.
Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet. All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.
But you, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me. Deliver me from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dogs. Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen. I will declare your name to my people; in the assembly I will praise you. You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.
From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows. The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the Lord will praise him—may your hearts live forever!
All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations. All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—those who cannot keep themselves alive. Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!
Due to the location of my extended family and other commitments, I travel outside of Allen County many times each year. Even though I am always happy to travel, especially when it involves family, there is just something about traveling back home. Crossing the county line is a noted moment culminating in memories and anticipations of being home. Home is a place of refuge and rest where things are right – just as they should be.
Imagine the anticipation of the traveler that we find in Psalm 122. Jerusalem is the city of the Lord, a place of protection and justice. It is the place of God’s presence where the people gather to praise God. This is his home and he is rejoicing as he arrives. The pilgrim requests that those traveling pray for the peace of the city. For the sake of our families and friends, pray for peace.
Are we hopefully interceding for our city? Are we praying that God would transform us, and our city, into a place of refuge, praise, and justice?
It is devastating that Jesus, the answer and anticipation of their prayers for peace, weeps as he approaches Jerusalem. He says, “If you had only known on this day what would bring you peace” (Luke 19:41-42). The people of first century Jerusalem looked to the military, the temple, and the government for peace and they missed the one who brings peace.
We find and bring peace only as we go with Jesus.
To whom do you look for peace? Are you following Jesus as you become a person of peace?
Phil Starr | Student Ministry Pastor