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God protects and perpetuates those who trust in Him (Psalms 125) February 13

As the third song of ascents in the second set of three, Psalm 125 brings us again to blessing and peace in Zion. As the previous psalm expressed trust in God, so this one picks up from there in commencing with "those who trust in the Lord " (verse 1).

These are compared with the abiding presence of Mount Zion, probably meaning all of Jerusalem as it expanded from the original City of David (see verses 1-2). As the mountain is immovable and enduring, both in natural terms and because God has declared it His eternal Holy City, so those with faith in God will themselves continue with God in His city forever. As the City of David and temple mount were surrounded by higher hills, providing a natural defense against encroaching armies, so God surrounds His covenant people with protection to preserve them (verse 2). The comparison here is all the more fitting because God's faithful spiritual people-those of His Church-are collectively referred to in various passages as Zion or Jerusalem in a spiritual sense. They will forever inhabit the heavenly Zion or New Jerusalem that will come down to the earth at the culmination of God's plan of salvation for mankind.

The psalmist says that the "scepter of wickedness"-evil rule (compare 94:20)-would not "rest" on the allotted land of the righteous, inducing the righteous to veer in their character (125:3). God did allow evil kings to rule over Israel and Judah-both domestic and foreign-and many people in the land were corrupted by this. Yet such wicked rule did not persist. Indeed, the context here is one of "forever" (verse 2). In an ultimate sense, God would not allow the wicked to prevail over the land promised to God's people-this referring to not only the Holy Land but to the whole world. The rule of Satan the devil and his corrupting influence over this planet will be broken at the return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of God's Kingdom so that people will be drawn not to iniquity, but to the joy of righteousness and peace-conditions represented in the fall festivals.

In the meantime, though confident in God to protect and preserve His people, the psalmist still prays with a sense of urgency that God will "do good…to those who are good…who are upright" (verse 4). No one by nature is truly good, but those who are forgiven of sin and live upright lives with the help of God's Spirit are nevertheless classified as "good." These people follow godly ways in contrast with those who "turn aside" to follow "crooked ways." As for those who follow wicked examples of disobedience, God will lead them away to the same consequences (verse 5)-perhaps meaning out of the Promised Land and into captivity, as referred to in the next psalm.

Psalm 125 ends with a call for peace on Israel (same verse)-the true Israel being those who faithfully continue in covenant with God. The same closing prayer ends Psalm 128, the concluding song of ascents in the next set of three.

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