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Psalm 120

“LORD, save me from the lying lips of my enemies.”

A Prayer Psalm

Psalm 120

In my distress I cried to the LORD, and He heard me. Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips and from a deceitful tongue.

What shall be given to you, or what shall be done to you, you false tongue? Sharp arrows of the warrior, with coals of the broom tree!

Woe is me, that I sojourn in Meshech, that I dwell among the tents of Kedar! My soul has dwelt too long with one who hates peace. I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war.

The psalmist prays that the Lord would deliver him from his adversaries, especially from persecution in the form of slander.

No doubt the Israelites were made to undergo this difficult trial on many an occasion while they languished as captives in Babylon. How often their enemies must have tried to “pick a fight” with them. How often the words must have pierced like an arrow into their soul: “Who is Jehovah? What a weak and helpless God that He would allow you to be deported as slaves from your homeland! Shame on you for believing in Him!”

After the return from exile, they were faced with bitter opposition from the side of the Samaritans. Recall the treachery of Sanballat (and others) spoken of in Nehemiah 6.

How natural, then, for the Jewish pilgrims–as they made their way up to Jerusalem to worship Jehovah–to pray that He “deliver their souls from lying lips” and the “deceitful tongue” and that He bless them with His peace.

This psalm is a fitting prayer for God’s people of all times. We too are confronted by enemies. Our most formidable foe, of course, is the devil (= slanderer), whom Jesus called the “father of lies” (Jn. 8:44). He likes to whisper in our ear (especially in times of trouble): “Put your trust in Jehovah? What good will that do? He can’t help you!” Or: “You are a child of God? Why then is He permitting you to suffer? What kind of a God would allow this? Certainly not a loving God!”

Then there is the ungodly world which, egged on by Satan, likes to poke fun at Christians and ridicule their beliefs (as Jesus predicted, Mt. 10:25).

Truly, as we continue our journey to the New Jerusalem, we also need the Lord God to bless us with His peace–the peace which flows from the confidence that He is our Savior-God in whom our sins find perfect cleansing; a peace which flows from the confidence that He is controlling the events of our lives for our good (even when it doesn’t seem like it).

Eventually, for His mercy’s sake, He will deliver us from every evil work and bless us with the perfect peace of heaven.

From the Editor:

Last September Pastor Thomas Schuetze, St. Matthew’s, Dallas, had an essay assignment called: “A Study of Psalms 120-134 and Their Correlation as ‘Songs of Ascents’.” The Conference recommended these psalm studies to the Spokesman for devotional purposes.

While the original essay contained some Hebrew technicalities and other general observations, space considerations permit printing the devotional portions only. In behalf of our readers, we thank Pastor Schuetze for these psalm studies which will appear also in coming months.

We print here a brief introductory paragraph from the essay.

“(Speak) to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord.” So did Paul exhort the readers of his epistle to the Ephesians (5:19). It is one of several New Testament passages which shows (as we might have expected) that singing the praises of the Lord Jesus played a prominent role in the worship lives of early Christians. It is also an indication that the “hymnal” of the Old Testament (just like our hymnal) had more than one “section” in it, one of which was a “Psalms Section.” This too comes as no surprise. After all, the Book of Psalms — the best-loved book in the Old Testament, which is quoted in the New Testament more frequently than any other (116 times out of a total of 283 times, according to Halley’s Commentary) — served for many years as the hymnbook for Old Testament believers. Most, if not all, of the psalms were written with the intention that they be sung. . . .