Do you long for a renewed, expanded sense of stability? Does your very soul pulsate with a craving for peace that keeps your heart and head on the proverbial swivel? This Psalm is addresses the unsettling feelings of insecurity that we are prone to as just “pilgrims passing through” this present world with all of its threats and temptations! On the authorship or occasion of this psalm little can be said with certainty, though most scholars agree that the psalm best fits the times of Nehemiah. The more applicable question is in a world of threats all around us, how to we allow worship of God to steady our hearts and steps?
Psalm 125 provides two stabilizing steps for us to take when we feel insecure and restless:
Affirm the security of every believer. (1-3)
Ps 125:1-3 “They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever. For the rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous; lest the righteous put forth their hands unto iniquity.”
In verse one, the Psalmist admonishes us to remind ourselves and others that there is security for every trusting believer. The psalmist chooses the most graphic analogy of which he is aware to illustrate how safe one is who has placed his trust in Jehovah. Every Israelite knew that Mount Zion cannot be removed, but abideth forever. We shall be like the great mountain if we but place our trust in God. Like the mountain of God, the child of God cannot be removed and abides for eternity. One of the best ways to strengthen your own sense of security in the Lord is to help SOMEONE ELSE WHO IS INSECURE to trust in the Lord—specifically Jesus, the CORNERSTONE of our security! Isaiah, the prophet reminds us in 28:16, “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in ZION for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” (Peter’s quotation of this verse uses the words “no confounded.”). The key question is not “will God deliver us”; the key question is will we be found amongst/those we influence be found amongst “they that trust” (the first words of this Psalm)!
In verses two and three, the Psalmist admonishes us to remind ourselves and others that there is security for every God-ordained era. One commentator eloquently captures the spirit of verse two, “As the mountains that encircle the Holy City stand as silent sentinels guarding her gates, so too God silently stands in the shadows of our lives, protecting us from the assaults of the wicked one.” Notice the word “forever.” This security we have in the Lord is FOR EVERY GENERATION OF BELIEVER! The reason for these affirmations is made clear in verse 3. Apparently foreign domination was a burden on the nation. The psalmist said that God would not permit this scepter (lit., “rod”) of wickedness to rest on the lot of the righteous to the extent it would drive them into wickedness. In other words, the test would be limited to what they could endure so they should not abandon their trust in the Lord. Our tendency to panic reveals that we honestly expect to have it “easy peasy” in this life…when no generation of believer, not even our posh American existence, is immune to challenging moments, moments that humble us and we cannot, on our own, faithfully endure for very long. The people of God should not expect immunity from the “rod of wickedness” any more than the city of God was immune from attack. God has promised to keep us through trials, not from them. Do you truly believe that God will not try men beyond their strength?
Travel toward peace through prayer.
(A good title for this Psalm, as one theologian put it, is “The Way of Peace.”)
Ps 125:4-5 “Do good, O LORD, unto those that be good, and to them that are upright in their hearts. 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.”
We, first, must move toward peace through God’s blessing upon His own grace in our lives. The phrase “do good…unto those who be good” reminds us that man can only be considered good because the good in us is God in us! Here is a key thought: our peace comes not from “what I/we deserve” (that leads to only judgment). Our peace comes from God’s promise to bless and protect His active favor in our lives! God has a “vested interest” in our survival and peace. He will ultimately, for His eternal glory, make sure we make it to the new Jerusalem—the ultimate “city of peace!” Do you trust Him enough to rest and labor in the present manifestations of His grace? Paul models this perfectly in 1 Corinthians 15:8-10, “And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”
Lastly, we move toward peace as we recognized God’s judgment of those who deviate from His law. In contrast with those described in verse 4, those who turn aside unto crooked ways, the Lord thoroughly deal with the workers of iniquity. The word translated crooked ways means side roads that deviate from the straight path of right. To avoid this fate, God’s people should be loyal in their faith and should continue to pray for peace for the rest of God’s people. “Peace be upon Israel!” The Psalm itself gives the formula for peace, both for Israel and everyone else. It is found through trust in the Lord Jesus. When Israel turns to Him whom they pierced and mourns for Him as for an only Son, then the peace that has eluded them for centuries will be theirs at last.” A lot of our lack of peace is the result of worrying too much about “those deviants” instead of trusting God to deal with them in His time and way. By the way, the best way is through the FINISHED WORK OF CHRIST-THEM GETTING SAVED! As Isaiah reminds us, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Is 53:5-6).
Will you stabilize your heart and life by AFFIRMING THE SECURITY OF EVERY BELIEVER and TRAVEL TOWARD PEACE WITH PRAYER?