I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the LORD!" - Psalm 122:1
Psalm 122 is the 3rd psalm in the Psalm of Ascents, and it appears to have been written as the arrived in Jerusalem. Our feet have been standing within your gates, O Jerusalem! - Psalm 122:2
As I began my study of this psalm, I noticed it was different than other Psalms. The focus isn’t on the emotions or the trials the psalmist was experiencing, but it was on the city of Jerusalem itself. It begins with an excitement to go to worship in the house of the Lord, I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the LORD!" - Psalm 122:1. Many of the Psalms begin in despair or fear, but this psalm begins with gladness and rejoicing. Then the psalm becomes a prayer for the peace and prosperity of Jerusalem, with the psalmist intentionally seeking the good of the city and not himself.
We have a tendency to turn to the Psalms because they have a unique ability to capture our emotions when we’re struggling. They give us a voice to cry out in our trials, to share our fears, our despair, our frustration at the attack of our enemies, or an opportunity to complain about the injustice of a situation. We often direct one another to the Psalms when we’re struggling and we need counseling and Hope. They capture our feelings with a deep sense of understanding, then they redirect our thoughts to the Maker of heaven and earth, helping us to shift our focus of off ourselves. They right our perspective of our struggles, and help us to see there is a plan in all the chaos. They remind us God is our shelter and our refuge and He is sovereign over all things. They direct our thoughts to be thankful for His steadfast love and protection.
But this psalm is different. The mood is celebratory of the fact that they finally in Jerusalem and able to worship God in his house, and the content of the psalm is a prayer for peace within the city. It forces a shift in the way we should be thinking.
Our focus is so often on ourselves - it’s on our problems, our fears and anxieties, our frustrations and difficulties. I began my study of this psalm in the same way as the others - expecting it to capture my emotions and my struggle, but as I read it and understood it’s content, I realized it’s not about me. I literally wrote that in my notes - this isn’t about me, this is about the city.
Our thoughts are so self-focused. My discontent of late - my fears, my anxieties, my frustrations - have been the result of my focus on myself. It’s been about what I want to make my life easier and more comfortable, rather than on who He is and what He calls us to do. He calls us to worship Him and to pray for our cities. Forgive me, Lord, for my focus on myself and for making my prayer time about me and what I want lately.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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