An Overview Of The Old Testament
Part 120 – Crying To God Through Let Israel Hope In The Lord (Psalms 120-131)
1. What caused the Psalmist to be in distress?
Lying lips, deceitful tongues, false tongues: “(1) In my distress I cried unto the LORD, and he heard me. (2) Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue. (3) What shall be given unto thee? or what shall be done unto thee, thou false tongue? (4) Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper” (Psalms 120:1-4).
* Distress certainly provokes one to call upon God (II Samuel 22:7, Psalms 18:6, and Psalms 118:5).
** Lying lips, false witnesses, and deceitful tongues are weapons used against the faithful (Psalms 35:11, Psalms 52:2-4, Psalms 109:1-2, Proverbs 25:18, Matthew 26:59-60, Acts 6:13, and Romans 3:8).
2. Why did the Psalmist say, “Woe is me”?
He dwelt with those that did not want peace, but war: “(5) Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar! (6) My soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth peace. (7) I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war” (Psalms 120:5-7).
* Jeremiah found himself living among deceitful people (Jeremiah 9:6).
** Micah had the “Woe is me” mindset being surrounded by evildoers (Micah 7:1-2).
*** The church of Christ in Pergamos was surrounded by evil (Revelation 2:13).
**** Though the world around us might be for “war”, we are to be a people of peace (Matthew 5:9, Romans 12:18, and Hebrews 12:14).
- This being said, we are not always a people of peace when it comes to spiritual matters and the subject of compromise (Matthew 10:34-37).
3. Where did the Psalmist look for help?
“(1) I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. (2) My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth” (Psalms 121:1-2).
* “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalms 46:1).
4. Was it possible for the Lord to fail or fall asleep when Israel, if faithful, needed help?
No: “(3) He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. (4) Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalms 121:3-4).
* IF they were faithful (Deuteronomy 4:29-30; 11:22-25).
5. Did Israel, when faithful, have to worry about natural disasters or any evil coming upon them?
No: “(5) The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. (6) The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. (7) The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. (8) The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore” (Psalms 121:5-8).
* IF: “Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations” (Deuteronomy 7:9).
6. Was the Psalmist who penned the 122nd Psalm upset that he was going to the house of the Lord?
No, he was glad: “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD” (Psalms 122:1).
7. Going to the house of the Lord meant you were going to what city?
“(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” (Psalms 122:2-9).
8. As Israel looked to God (Psalms 123:1-2), what had them filled with contempt?
“(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” (Psalms 123:1-4).
9. What would have happened if the Lord were not on their side?
“(1) If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, now may Israel say; (2) If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us: (3) Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us: (4) Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul: (5) Then the proud waters had gone over our soul. (6) Blessed be the LORD, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth. (7) Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped. (8) Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth” (Psalms 124:1-8).
* When God was not with Israel they were easy prey (Deuteronomy 1:41-46).
10. What did the Psalmist use mount Zion and the mountains around Jerusalem to describe?
How those who trust in the Lord cannot be moved and how permanent the Lord is with His people: “(1) They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever. (2) As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever” (Psalms 125:1-2).
11. The Lord would keep the rod of the wicked from resting on the righteous with what exception?
“For the rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous; lest the righteous put forth their hands unto iniquity” (Psalms 125:3).
* “He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail” (Proverbs 22:8).
12. What is the difference with how the Lord dealt with those that are good and those that turn aside unto their crooked ways?
“(4) Do good, O LORD, unto those that be good, and to them that are upright in their hearts. (5) As for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways, the LORD shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity: but peace shall be upon Israel” (Psalms 125:4-5).
“The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace” (Isaiah 59:8).
13. What was the “mood” when the Lord turned the captivity of Zion?
“(1) When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. (2) Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them. (3) The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad. (4) Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the south. (5) They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. (6) He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalms 126:1-6).
* “The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the LORD of hosts: for the LORD is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the LORD” (Jeremiah 33:11).
** They needed now to remember the joy of being restored (Revelation 2:5).
14. If the Lord does not build the house, what is the labor to build that house considered?
“(1) Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain” (Psalms 127:1).
* See also: I Corinthians 3:9-15
15. Is it wise to give up sleep for long days and nights?
No: “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain” (Psalms 127:2).
“The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep” (Ecclesiastes 5:12).
16. What did the Psalmist reveal about children?
“(3) Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. (4) As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. (5) Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate” (Psalms 127:3-5).
17. What occurs when people fear the Lord and walk in His ways?
Happiness will abound with your job, marriage, etc. “(1) Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways. (2) For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. (3) Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. (4) Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD. (5) The LORD shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life. (6) Yea, thou shalt see thy children's children, and peace upon Israel” (Psalms 128:1-6).
* Matthew 6:25-34.
18. Though the enemies of Israel tried, were they able to permanently prevail against Israel?
No: “(1) Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth, may Israel now say: (2) Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth: yet they have not prevailed against me. (3) The plowers plowed upon my back: they made long their furrows. (4) The LORD is righteous: he hath cut asunder the cords of the wicked” (Psalms 129:1-4).
19. What did the Psalmist ask God to do to those that hated Zion?
“(5) Let them all be confounded and turned back that hate Zion. (6) Let them be as the grass upon the housetops, which withereth afore it groweth up: (7) Wherewith the mower filleth not his hand; nor he that bindeth sheaves his bosom. (8) Neither do they which go by say, The blessing of the LORD be upon you: we bless you in the name of the LORD” (Psalms 129:5-8).
20. When the Psalmist cried unto the Lord out of the depths, what can we learn about God’s forgiveness from what he said?
“(1) Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O LORD. (2) Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. (3) If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? (4) But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared. (5) I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. (6) My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning. (7) Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. (8) And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities” (Psalms 130:1-8).
* God’s forgiveness is conditional (Ezekiel 14:6, Luke 13:3, and I John 1:9).
21. Was the Psalmist arrogant and self-dependent?
No: “(1) LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. (2) Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child” (Psalms 131:1-2).
22. If Israel were singing the 131st Psalm, would they be encouraging each other to hope in man?
No: “Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and for ever” (Psalms 131:3).