Community in Safety Psalm 125 06-10-07
The Community in Safety Psalm 125 June 10th, 2007
Let's begin with the title of this psalm: Song of Assent. This title usually refers to the temple porch, and sometimes the path leading into the City of David,1 otherwise called Zion in the Hebrew. It was specifically sung when entering during the three great feasts: the Feast of Unleavened Bread, in the Feast of Weeks, and in the Feast of Tabernacles (Ex. 23: 14-17; Deut. 16: 16). This would include psalms 120-134. In Hebrew idiom the word for assent is sometimes used metaphorically for man's arrogant thinking (Eze. 11:5; compare the phrase ????? ???????? 38:10).2
These three feasts define the nature of this psalm, especially if we look at their messianic fulfillment in Christ. You know these feasts as Passover, which celebrates sacrifice and deliverance; Pentecost, which celebrates the giving of the law; and Ingathering, which celebrates the ingathering from the wilderness in the past, and yearly, the labor of the field. We, as a community celebrate the fulfillment of these feasts in Resurrection Sunday; and Pentecost, the birth of the church at the outpouring of the Holy Spirit who writes God's laws on men's hearts. The third is a feast which has yet to be fulfilled in the church, but is an absolute promise-the ingathering of the church at the resurrection.
So, I think by definition, this psalm is for the church as well as it was for Israel. With that being said, where is your heart and mind as you ascend your way to the sanctuary, beginning with your rising in the morning and you walking up the steps either from the front of the church or from downstairs? Are you thinking more about your encounter with a friend you hope to see, then of encountering Christ?
We've only considered the title thus far. Let's move on to the message that David gives to us.
In verse 1, to trust (ba?a?a) literally means to throw one down upon his face.3
Here the idea is to throw your cares, fears and concerns down before the Lord. To draw near to God is to shed the world from our shoulders in faith. It is an act of humility to say God can do better with my life then I can. Take my life O God, I will trust in You!
The word used for LORD here is Yahweh, meaning, true God. Some of you have small capital in the spelling. This particular name focuses on the sure existence of God and His relationship to the people of his covenant (Ex 3:15-22).4 Our trust in the Lord comes from our relationship with Him through the New Covenant that has been established through the sacrifice of His Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
This trust establishes us. We, together as a church, Are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever (v1).
In Hebrews 12:22 Paul compares Israel and the law in the past to Mount Sinai, and the church then and in the future to Mount Zion in the same way the psalm does. But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels,..
If we stand together in our position in Christ we cannot be moved (????, mô?). The word for moved here means "slip, totter, stagger, quake, shake, i.e., make random motions which may result in an object falling, implying lack of motor control due to weakness or other factors." 5
Verse 2 reminds us that the psalm is about community. We are not a random people (?????? ). We are a particular people, " united, connected, related (??? Gn 11:6, ??? Ju 9:36)." 6 We are related in that we, together, are surrounded by the Lord and His covenant.
In verse 3 we are given a metaphor- the scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous. Notice it simply says that it will not rest. It does not mean it will not come our way. The first point is that wickedness cannot reach your soul unless you allow it. It may come upon you, but it shall not rest there unless you allow it. Remember 1 Cor. 10:13 about temptation.
But we need to remember that the implication of this psalm, which is a community psalm, is that the trouble he speaks about is also from within, as well as without.
The difference between the wicked and the righteous is the wicked willingly offend a standard and the righteous try to live up to that standard. We can all be singing the same lyrics from the same sheet of music, but have different standards in how well the song is to be song! Our life together is the song the psalm is singing about!
In verse 4 well doing and doing well are interconnected. Paul writes in Romans 2:28, For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh.
It all begins with the individual.
Your statutes are my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.
1Francis Brown, Samuel Rolles Driver and Charles Augustus Briggs, Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon, electronic ed. (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 2000). 752.
2Wilhelm Gesenius and Samuel Prideaux Tregelles, Gesenius' Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc, 2003). 494.
3Francis Brown, Samuel Rolles Driver and Charles Augustus Briggs, Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon, electronic ed. (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 2000). 105.
4James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament), electronic ed. (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997). DBLH 3378.
5James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament), electronic ed. (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997). DBLH 4572, #1.
6Francis Brown, Samuel Rolles Driver and Charles Augustus Briggs, Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon, electronic ed. (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 2000). 766.