Songs for the Road: The Psalms of Ascent

Day 5: Our Protection Comes from the Lord

Scripture Reading: Psalm 124

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 124 (CSB)
THE LORD IS ON OUR SIDE
A song of ascents. Of David.

1 If the LORD had not been on our side —
let Israel say —
2 If the LORD had not been on our side
when people attacked us,
3 then they would have swallowed us alive
in their burning anger against us.
4 Then the water would have engulfed us;
the torrent would have swept over us;
5 the raging water would have swept over us.

6 Blessed be the LORD,
who has not let us be ripped apart by their teeth.
7 We have escaped like a bird from the hunter’s net;
the net is torn, and we have escaped.
8 Our help is in the name of the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

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A Song of Rescue
Danger takes on many forms, both externally and internally.

Israel’s story is full of danger—warring with neighboring armies who wanted to destroy them, and fighting against the temptation to follow after other gods. The pilgrim-disciple confesses that, had it not been for God, all of Israel would have been consumed by enemies, dragons, and floods. This song calls us to to deal honestly with our need for rescue, and to make this part of our worship as we praise God for His mercy and grace.

Reflect
1. When was the last time danger snuck up on you or surprised you? What are some of the real dangers you face externally right now? Internally?

2. This psalm describes danger as a dragon that swoops in to swallow us alive. How does this song respond to the danger? What would happen if God opted not to rescue you? What would become of you if God left you as He found you?

3. From what does God rescue us? How does God rescue us? See Ephesians 2:1-7.