Songs for the Road: The Psalms of Ascent

Day 11: The Happiness of the Straight Road

Scripture Reading: Psalm 128

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 128 (CSB)
BLESSINGS FOR THOSE WHO FEAR GOD
A song of ascents.

1 How happy is everyone who fears the LORD,
who walks in his ways!
2 You will surely eat
what your hands have worked for.
You will be happy,
and it will go well for you.
3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house,
your children, like young olive trees
around your table.
4 In this very way
the man who fears the LORD
will be blessed.

5 May the LORD bless you from Zion,
so that you will see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life
6 and will see your children’s children!

Peace be with Israel.

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A Happy Song
The pilgrim-disciple sings a happy song about how living according to the wisdom of God brings joy, peace, and prosperity.

We all want these blessings in life—the confidence that our work matters, that our home is a happy place, and that what we leave behind will continue to affect change long after we’re gone. We are not passive in this process. This song calls us to work diligently, to love self-sacrificially, and to train the children in our lives to know and walk with God. We don’t just think about God; we live in response to His Word to us. Obedience is a path to joy.

Reflect
1. This happy song celebrates prosperity. What sort of prosperity helps us know and love God better? What sort of prosperity makes it hard to know and love God? What sort of prosperity does this psalm value, and how do we obtain the “blessedness” described here?

2. Why is obedience to God’s commands a path to joy? Do you believe it is? Where do you struggle to accept this idea? Why?

3. On what basis do we have hope for receiving God’s eternal blessings? What are those blessings?