Trusting in the Lord: Psalm 125

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Psalm 125 (NIV)

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,
    which cannot be shaken but endures forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
    so the Lord surrounds his people
    both now and forevermore.

The scepter of the wicked will not remain
    over the land allotted to the righteous,
for then the righteous might use
    their hands to do evil.

Lord, do good to those who are good,
    to those who are upright in heart.
But those who turn to crooked ways
    the Lord will banish with the evildoers.

Peace be on Israel.

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CONSIDER THIS

While Psalm 124 rehearsed a turbulent story of being snatched from the brink of destruction and rescued from the torrent of raging waters, Psalm 125 paints a picture of peaceful rest in the Lord that can never be shaken. “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore” (vv. 1–2). The mountains were the visible icon of stability and steadfastness. The psalmist says trusting in the Lord is like that. And although Mount Zion and Jerusalem were, geographically speaking for the Jews, the place where God’s presence resided, the psalmist is already articulating a greater truth that the Lord surrounds his people with his presence wherever they are and forevermore throughout time. With an almost prophetic glimpse forward to future realities, the psalmist envisions a time when “the scepter of the wicked will not remain over the land allotted to the righteous” (v. 3). The peace and rest of the presence of God will not be shaken by any remnant of evil, but all wickedness will be banished. This is the great vision of New Creation; this is the great hope of all who long to dwell in the land of eternal day.

The psalm ends with a prayer that has yet to be fully realized—“Peace be upon Israel” (v. 5). However, the final peace, which enables us to dwell in the presence of God, has already broken into our current world. The psalmist looked up at the majestic mountains as a picture of God’s surrounding presence, and longed for that peace. In Christ, that eternal peace has broken in. Even now, by the Holy Spirit we can live in God’s presence with a power that enables the righteous to turn away from evil. Moreover, someday evil will be banished forever. Then, our longing for peace, along with the psalmist’s, will finally be fully realized.

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Timothy C. Tennent is the President of Asbury Theological Seminary and a Professor of Global Christianity. His works include Invitation to World Missions: A Trinitarian Missiology for the Twenty-first Century and Theology in the Context of World Christianity: How the Global Church Is Influencing the Way We Think about and Discuss Theology. He blogs at timothytennent.com and can be followed on twitter @TimTennent.

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