Day1

The First Step: Repentance



Psalm 120:1-7


Scripture Reading: Psalm 120

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’ll dig 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.

//

Psalm 120 (CSB)
A CRY FOR TRUTH AND PEACE
A song of ascents.

1 In my distress I called to the LORD,
and he answered me.
2 “LORD, rescue me from lying lips
and a deceitful tongue.”

3 What will he give you,
and what will he do to you,
you deceitful tongue?
4 A warrior’s sharp arrows
with burning charcoal!

5 What misery that I have stayed in Meshech,
that I have lived among the tents of Kedar!
6 I have dwelt too long
with those who hate peace.
7 I am for peace; but when I speak,
they are for war.

//

A Leaving Song
The pilgrim-disciple laments his culture of dishonesty and hostility, and leaves for the holy city of Jerusalem. This song was sung with an eye toward the goal: worship on God’s holy hill. It is the song of a person who is stirred to leave a broken world in search of a place where peace reigns.

Dissatisfaction with the brokenness of our world is an essential component to a pilgrim’s journey. It stirs us to get up from where we are and seek a better way. We aren’t called simply to flee from the lies of our culture. We are called to flee to God.

Reflect
1. Do you know any other leaving songs? What are they about? What do you want to be delivered from? What do you want to leave? Why?

2. The pilgrim-disciple prays to be delivered from lies. What are the lies that most often have your ear? Do you struggle to recognize the lies you are told? What lies do you tell to paint yourself in a better light? Why do you think we do this?

3. What does it mean to flee to God? In what ways do you practice, or in what ways can you begin to practice, fleeing to God?

Post Comments (7)

7 thoughts on "The First Step: Repentance"

  1. Billy B says:

    The songs about leaving I know are mostly about leaving a broken relationship or a depressing home town.
    I want to be delivered from anxiety over my future. Of feelings of purposelessness, insignificance, and apathy.
    I want to leave money and career-focused social circles.
    I want to be delivered/leave because I can feel them eating away at me. I know there’s a real purpose to our time here. I want more confidence, more faith in following Christ. I want “real” intimacy with God.

    I listen to lies that I am not good enough and never will be. Or that it’s up to me to make myself acceptable. As a Christian, as a man, as a friend and partner.
    I sometimes confuse lies with my own inner monologue or voice of “common sense”.
    I lie to depict myself as more disciplined and holy. Oftentimes leaving my doubts or frustrations stay under the surface in order to put on a good face.
    I think I do this because I’m afraid of rejection from people I admire and love. I’m worried that if they really knew me they wouldn’t waste their time knowing me.

    Fleeing to God means going to him for answers, for escape, rather than listening to ourselves or the world. It means trusting what he says is true. It means talking to him, venting to him, reading his word, closing your eyes and asking him for help.
    Too often when I actually flee to God it’s in a dramatic moment of frustration. Breaking down in my parked car, crying out to him.
    Fleeing to him could be a more regular, healthy part of my life. Like daily prayer and reading. Fleeing to him first thing in my day.
    Not hesitating to take a deep breath and pray when things seem their worst.

  2. Jesse Wood says:

    1. The Lord not only hears our prayers, but he answers them!
    2. How do we deal with our sin? Like warriors with sharp bows slaying it.
    3. We are all sojourners in a foreign land. We come across those that want war when we seek peace. This should not be strange or foreign to us.

  3. Nathan Dodd says:

    1. Do you know any other leaving songs? What are they about? What do you want to be delivered from? What do you want to leave? Why?
    Most songs are about leaving a lost love behind. They engage with the principle that people are the answer, and when they aren’t, it sucks. Me? I want to be delivered from the comfortable idea that we ought to build up for ourselves treasures on earth. I’ve built up debt trying to maintain and reach something that I know will never satisfy. I want to leave the idea that I am what matters most. That’s the only way I can serve my wife and more importantly my God better.

    2. The pilgrim-disciple prays to be delivered from lies. What are the lies that most often have your ear? Do you struggle to recognize the lies you are told? What lies do you tell to paint yourself in a better light? Why do you think we do this?
    Lies I hear are… you aren’t qualified. You’re too young. You’re not making any difference here. God wants you to go somewhere big and thriving, because that’s where success lies. Sometimes I do struggle to hear these things as lies. I forget to pray and ask for guidance to be able to discern the truth. I tell myself and others that I’m a good person, that I have success because I have things and sustainability. I think we do this because we are still caught up in trying to impress and please people. Paul says if we are trying to please men, we are not servants of Christ.

    3. What does it mean to flee to God? In what ways do you practice, or in what ways can you begin to practice, fleeing to God?
    Fleeing to God means actively pursuing him. In all actions, all thoughts, even all our dreams. I can practice this by choosing to not become angry when stressful situations arise, and by taking time to simply pray to God each day before the day begins. Reset my focus back to walking with the Lord, sharing the gospel. Jesus’ greatest example to us was sharing the gospel, and teaching others how to do that by walking alongside them. He walks with us even now.

  4. Andrew says:

    God, help me to run to you. I am often confused, distracted, and sad. Help me to find clarity, focus, and joy in everyday life so that, running to you, I might bring others with me into your loving presence.

  5. Matthew says:

    Often times I find myself discontent with the things of this world, yet still ensnared by their allure. I struggle with being unwilling to leave behind those things but I know that there is a better life to be had if I walk with the Lord.
    Today, I’m beginning this study and hoping that through spending more consistent time in God’s word, the grip of worldly things will loosen and I my heart will desire the presence of God more.

  6. Shawn says:

    “5 Woe to me that I dwell in Meshek,
    that I live among the tents of Kedar!
    6 Too long have I lived
    among those who hate peace.”

    Too often I look around and find myself in a place where it’s easy to hate. Where conflict and confusion reigns. I will complain about negativity, anxiety, and anger but yet continue to position myself in places where people just pour out negativity. If I really want peace, if I want love, if I want goodness, if I want God I need to flee from those places. I need to position myself in a place where the things of God are if I want to see those things in my life. Too long have a loved among those who hate peace. It’s time to set up camp in the presence of God.

  7. Sam Stoddard says:

    As a soldier in the US Army, I am surrounded by a culture of people who love and lust after war and death. Yet, as a Christ follower I am called to be a propagator of peace. Consequently, I find it to be very difficult to find the fine line between blindly serving my country in war via violence, and being a peace-centered Disciple. Thankfully, God has called me into the Chaplaincy where my sole goal will be to carry, embody, and cultivate God’s peace in a very chaotic, un-peaceful world and people. I long for and love peace, I respect war as one respects the necessity of slaughtering a cow in order to eat and survive, and my ultimate desire is for God’s Kingdom to become Man’s reality.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *