BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… “I took my troubles to the Lord; I cried out to him, and he answered my prayer.” Psalm 120:1 NLT
The “Psalms of Ascent” are a collection of psalms that are believed to have been recited by spiritual pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem during one of the three annual feasts on the Jewish calendar. They are psalms for “going up” to worship. They not only reflect the hearts and woes and rejoicing of God’s people long ago, they serve as a challenge and present insight for “spiritual pilgrims” today, who are on a journey to the “new Jerusalem.”
The first verse of this psalm is really the response to what is reflected in the verses that follow. We read of the condition in which the spiritual pilgrim finds himself; separated from God’s presence and the place of worship.
So we read, “How I suffer in far-off Meshech. It pains me to live in distant Kedar.” (Psalm 120:5 NLT) Meschech was situated geographically north of Jerusalem, Kedar was to the south. Both of these locations speak of being in a situation away from the presence of the Lord and living among people who are hostile to faith. Regardless of the direction, when you are away from the presence of the Lord, it is hostile territory.
The psalm reveals the environment faced by those who desire to be faithful to their God, “I am tired of living
among people who hate peace. I search for peace; but when I speak of peace, they want war!” (Psalm 120:6,7 NLT)
When there is a hostile environment, it tends to wear a person down. Especially when they feel isolated, alone and as it were in a “foreign” place. Soon, a person says, “enough is enough.” A change needs to happen in me, others or the situation I am in. We see the cry to God, “Rescue me, O Lord, from liars and from all deceitful people.” (Psalm 120:2 NLT)
What is the result? We find the end at the beginning of the psalm, “I took my troubles to the Lord; I cried out to him, and he answered my prayer.” (Psalm 120:1 NLT) In his desperation the pslamist “takes his troubles to the Lord.” He “cries out to Him.” Sometime we need to pray, and pray earnestly, “Lord, change me or change my situation.”
How important it is for us to “take our troubles to the Lord.” The hymn of old, “What a Friend We Have In Jesus” contains the words, “O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”
The Lord is our burden bearer. He is the One who desires to work in our lives and in the circumstances in which we find ourselves. When we cry out to the Lord we will find as the psalmist declares, “He answered my prayer.” Sometimes, it is not as we would desire or anticipate. But as we trust in Him, God will do what is best. In His way and in His time.
The one living in Meshech and in distant Kedar decides to “make a move.” He begins a journey to Jerusalem, the place of the Lord’s presence and a place of worship. The path to a new destiny begins with one step in God’s direction.
Prayer for today… Lord, thank You, when the pressures of life and our circumstances push us to the limits we can “take our troubles” to You. You hear our cry and You are faithful to answer. In the process You remind us how important it is to just “journey” with You. Help us to remember that “You are the way” that we are to follow.