A song of degrees of David
1: I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD. 2: Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem. 3: Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together: 4: Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the LORD. 5: For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David. 6: Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. 7: Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. 8: For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee. 9: Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good.
A song of degrees
A Prayer for mercy
1: Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens. 2: Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until that he have mercy upon us. 3: Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us: for we are exceedingly filled with contempt. 4: Our soul is exceedingly filled with the scorning of those that are at ease, and with the contempt of the proud.
Today we are reading two of the Psalms of The Degrees No 122 & 123. Previously we saw that these Psalms of The Degrees refer to the Life and Service of Hezekiah the king. In Psalm 122 Hezekiah takes a Psalm of David and brings it forward as an excellent psalm to sing in his present circumstances. In 2Chronicles 32v21 we read –
21: And the LORD sent an angel, which cut off all the mighty men of valour, and the leaders and captains in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned with shame of face to his own land. And when he was come into the house of his god, they that came forth of his own bowels slew him there with the sword. 22: Thus the LORD saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria, and from the hand of all other, and guided them on every side. 23: And many brought gifts unto the LORD to Jerusalem, and presents to Hezekiah king of Judah: so that he was magnified in the sight of all nations from thenceforth.
And in Psa 129v4,5 we read –
4: The LORD is righteous: he hath cut asunder the cords of the wicked. 5: Let them all be confounded and turned back that hate Zion.
When Sennacherib came against Jerusalem the Lord sent his angel and killed the mighty men of Sennacherib’s army. So Sennacherib returned to his own land and when he went into his own temple, to his god, his own children in vengeance at the shame brought on Sennacherib they took their father and murdered him. The nations around were astounded and they brought gifts to Hezekiah. And so Hezekiah places this Psalm of David here because it expresses exactly how Hezekiah felt. David said I was glad when they said unto me Let us go into the house of the LORD, because our feet will stand in the gates of Jerusalem. David thanks God for saving his life from his enemies. David was only king while he lived and it was absolutely essential that the Lord kept him safe from death. David says the city of Jerusalem is a crowded city when all the tribes go up to stand before the testimonies (The Law) to give thanks to the name of the LORD. The reason for this is that there thrones of judgment are set and thrones for the house of David. David rejoiced that Justice was found in Jerusalem and that his royal throne was set there. David says Pray for the peace of the city of peace because those that love the LORD will prosper there. David says, may there be peace within the walls of the city and prosperity in the palaces. Then David asks Gods blessing of peace on his brethren and companions and he says because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek your good. There is nothing wrong with a kingship that seeks the prosperity of his brethren and companions. Psalm 123 is the prayer of Hezekiah.
He says in Isa 38 1: In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came unto him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live. 2: Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, 3: And said, Remember now, O LORD, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore… …10: I said in the cutting off of my days, I shall go to the gates of the grave: I am deprived of the residue of my years. 11: I said, I shall not see the LORD, even the LORD, in the land of the living: I shall behold man no more with the inhabitants of the world. 12: Mine age is departed, and is removed from me as a shepherd's tent: I have cut off like a weaver my life: he will cut me off with pining sickness: from day even to night wilt thou make an end of me. 13: I reckoned till morning, that, as a lion, so will he break all my bones: from day even to night wilt thou make an end of me. 14: Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter: I did mourn as a dove: mine eyes fail with looking upward: O LORD, I am oppressed; undertake for me. 15: What shall I say? he hath both spoken unto me, and himself hath done it: I shall go softly all my years in the bitterness of my soul. 16: O Lord, by these things men live, and in all these things is the life of my spirit: so wilt thou recover me, and make me to live. 17: Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back. 18: For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. 19: The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known thy truth. 20: The LORD was ready to save me: therefore we will sing my songs to the stringed instruments all the days of our life in the house of the LORD.1
All around was dark and hopeless. The enemy was coming to destroy the city and Hezekiah was sick and approaching death and he had no heir. He has been faithful to the LORD all his life and now his life is to be taken away. He turns over on his bed and he weeps and prays saying, LORD I am going to pray to you who dwells in the heavens. Look on me as a servant looks at his master. We are looking to you - look on us and have mercy on us. Have mercy because we are very greatly despised by our enemies. Our enemies are arrogant and powerful and they are not troubled by any cares. This prayer is not a prayer telling God what to do or asking what to do, its simply saying, we are looking to you - please look on us.
- What is the burden on the Psalmists heart in Psalm 122?
- What do you think the Psalmist means by peace within thy walls?
- How does the Psalmist speak about his attitude of waiting on the Lord?
1 Read 2Chron 32v20 and 2Kings 19v2,4,15-19.