It is possible that the fifteen psalms (chs 120-134) known as the “Songs of Degrees or Ascents” were sung by the caravans of pilgrims going up to attend the annual feasts at Jerusalem. But it is equally possible that the title has reference to some peculiarity in connection with the music or the manner of using it. It is unknown to me whether David wrote this group of psalms or if they were penned by someone else. Some of them, including this first one, may have been written while David was living with the Philistines in Ziglag.
- I call on the Lord in my distress.
- Save me from lying lips.
- Think what He will do to you, you deceitful tongue.
- You will be punished with a warrior’s arrow or perhaps burned with hot coals.
- Woe to me for living in Meshek and dwelling in the tents of Kedar under false pretenses.
- I’ve lived too long among those who hate peace.
- I am for peace, but when I speak of peace, they are for war.
This seems to be written during the time when David was running for his life and hiding from Saul. During a good share of this time he dwelt just over the boarder with the enemies of Judah.
Here he and his band of rebels lived a lie among their enemies. Under the guise of being outlaws, they claimed to be running night raids on villages of Judah. In reality they were destroying villages of Israel’s enemies. They would kill every man, woman and child, so that there would be no witnesses to what he was doing. The livestock would be driven to the nearest Israeli village and turned loose. Any gold and other valuables were taken back to Ziglag to be stored in their quarters.
So, it would appear that he was asking God for forgiveness for this deceitful life.
I’m wondering, how often do we deceive others, concerning our Christian life, while living in a sinful world. Instead of living a life of frugality in order to point those around us to God’s salvation, we live like they do. Our stock of “toys” and pile of debt looks just like theirs. Our topics of conversation sounds no different.
Instead of cheering on our favorite sports teams, we should spend more time cheering on our fellow pilgrims.
- I lift up my eyes to the mountains and consider; where does my help come from?
- My help comes from the maker of these mountains and the heavens above.
- He protects us; He never sleeps nor even catnaps.
- The Lord overshadows you; the sun will not harm you by day nor the moon by night.
- The Lord will keep you from all harm; He watches over your life.
- He will watch over your coming and going, both now and forevermore.
David was a man that spent a good share of his adult life on-the-run and eventually died an old man. So, when he says the Lord will watch over you and protect you from all harm, you gotta pay attention.
He spent a lot of those years, on-the-run from King Saul, hiding in the rugged hills. Even though he was hiding in the hills he acknowledged that his mountain hideaways were not really his protection. His real protection came from God.
As we approach the End of Days, it would be well to remember that it is God who watches over and protect us. We can do all the “prepping” that we want, we can be following all the “rules,” but in the end it will be our dependence on God that carries us through difficult times.