Psalm 125

Imagine you are a Jewish pilgrim, 3000 years ago, heading up to Jerusalem for the Passover. Up ahead, upon the mount called ‘Zion,’ towers the ancient and mighty fortress city of Jerusalem. The sight is inspiring and the stories of the scores of armies that had tried unsuccessfully to penetrate its great walls immediately come to mind. Then you remember the words that you were taught by the Levite singers in Psalm 125: ‘Those who trust in the LORD will be like Mount Zion which can never be shaken.’ In this context these words, written as a song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem (i.e. it is traditionally entitled a ‘song of ascents’), truly capture the imagination. Those who trust in the LORD will be like this great impenetrable fortress. Though the armies of the world may beat against its walls, yet it shall not be shaken. Likewise the person who trusts in God will have impenetrable peace no matter what comes from outside.

The promise of verse 3 that the ruling sceptre of evil doers will not remain over the land (the promised land) may be applied more broadly to the world at large. Though the world lies under the influence of Satan who is called the prince of this world (John 14:30) the time will come when he will be destroyed and the righteous will inherit the new heavens and earth. The reason that God is so eager to destroy the illegitimate dominion of the wicked is not only to take back what is his but also to prevent the destructive influence of the ungodly over his people. It was for this reason that the Israelites were told to clear the promised land of all its inhabitants and ultimately the promise here is that God himself will clear the world of its evil.

In the light of this the psalmist asks that God would simply do good to the good and upright. This is a plea for justice. Often what God sees as good for us is not what we feel is good at all ‘ but by accepting the way God handles us we demonstrate our acceptance of his infinite wisdom and sovereignty. What is certain though is that evil doers will be banished from God presence. The Psalmist give us a taste here of the final judgment when those who choose to remain enemies of God will be banished into ‘outer darkness.’

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