Songs for the Road: The Psalms of Ascent

Day 12: Patience and Perseverance

Scripture Reading: Psalm 129

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 129 (CSB)
PROTECTION OF THE OPPRESSED
A song of ascents.

1 Since my youth they have often attacked me —
let Israel say —
2 Since my youth they have often attacked me,
but they have not prevailed against me.
3 Plowmen plowed over my back;
they made their furrows long.
4 The LORD is righteous;
he has cut the ropes of the wicked.

5 Let all who hate Zion
be driven back in disgrace.
6 Let them be like grass on the rooftops,
which withers before it grows up
7 and can’t even fill the hands of the reaper
or the arms of the one who binds sheaves.
8 Then none who pass by will say,
“May the LORD’s blessing be on you.
We bless you in the name of the LORD.”

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A Song of War
The pilgrim-disciple asks the Lord to bring a reckoning to evil and evildoers, to smite the wicked “far as the curse is found.”

It is appropriate to desire a reckoning for evil. We should want evil eradicated from the world and we should ask God to do it—not simply because we loathe how bad it can be, but because there is something even higher we want: peace. Jesus broke the curse by taking our sin upon Himself, giving us that peace.

Reflect
1. What questions come to mind when you read verses in the Bible calling for God to put the wicked to shame? Why do you think God gave us a psalm like this?

2. Are you offended by the evil around you? What is the war-song in your heart? What do you want the Lord to banish from this world? Why?

3. How do we apply a psalm like this to our own hearts? Where do you see the seeds of wickedness bearing unwanted fruit in your own life? How does God tell us He has dealt with the evil in us?