Songs for the Road: The Psalms of Ascent

Day 4: Longing for the Nearness of God

Scripture Reading: Psalm 123

The Christian life is a climb—a journey of constant growth, sacrifice, and trusting God for what we cannot see. As Eugene Peterson said, we are pilgrims, but we are also disciples—always moving and always learning. The Psalms of Ascent (Psalms 120-134) were sung by worshipers as they made the journey up to Jerusalem for the annual feasts. In this 3-week reading plan, we are digging into these traveling songs with the help of short summary essays and thoughtful, reflective questions for each psalm. Take your pack on your shoulder and walk with us as we pursue God together.

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Psalm 123 (CSB)
LOOKING FOR GOD’S FAVOR
A song of ascents.

1 I lift my eyes to you,
the one enthroned in heaven.
2 Like a servant’s eyes on his master’s hand,
like a servant girl’s eyes on her mistress’s hand,
so our eyes are on the LORD our God
until he shows us favor.

3 Show us favor, LORD, show us favor,
for we’ve had more than enough contempt.
4 We’ve had more than enough
scorn from the arrogant
and contempt from the proud.

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A Song About Who We Are
The pilgrim-disciple meditates on who he is to God, and who God is to him.

Who gets to tell us who we are? Many voices will try to answer that question for us. For the pilgrim-disciple, our Maker is the only one who has that right. Our goal in life is to grow in our understanding of who God is and who we are in our relationship with Him.

Reflect
1. This psalm promotes enthusiastic obedience to God’s commands. The servant watches for the master’s hand to beckon. Why does it make sense to desire the instruction of the Lord? Why should we be eager to hear His commands?

2. This psalm asks God for mercy. What are some specific things we are asking for when we ask God to show us mercy? What sorts of things must we be willing to surrender when we ask God for mercy?

3. We cannot know all there is to know about God, but God has revealed Himself in part. What has God made known to us about Himself? What has He revealed about who we are?