David wrote fifteen Psalms of Degrees [ascents or steps] in preparation for the building of the temple by his son Solomon. Once the temple was dedicated these Psalms were sung by the Levitical choir as they stood on the fifteen steps leading into the temple courtyard. Each psalm represents a step closer to God in the Most Holy Place and spiritually these Psalms are about progressively drawing closer to God.
The fifteen semi-circular steps in the temple
In Psalms 120-124, there is constant reference to trouble and danger; Psalms 125-129 is about confidence in God; and Psalms 130-134, is about the development of a direct and close relationship with God
Initially many are humbled by distress and begin to cry out to God for deliverance
Psalm 120:1 In my distress I cried unto the LORD, and he heard me. 120:2 Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.
David in his distress seeks help and asks to be saved from deceit and lies. This refers to those false things said about him, and is also a request that God keep him free from committing this evil himself.
David asks how the tongue can be controlled; for it seems beyond control: and says that the wicked tongue will be destroyed.
120:3 What shall be given unto thee [deceitful tongue]? or what shall be done unto thee, thou false tongue? 120:4 [lying words are like] Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals [brands of juniper burning hot in a fire] of juniper.
David speaks of dwelling in Arabia [Meshek and Kedar] as a euphemism for being far from the Ark of God at Jerusalem.
120:5 Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar!
Sin separates people from God and godliness, causing people to dwell in a spiritual wilderness very far from peace with God.
120:6 My soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth peace [right now the godly are strangers in this society, living among the wicked on this earth]. 120:7 I am for peace [godliness]: but when I speak, they are for war [rebellion against God].
The distressed may seek help from men and their own resources until they realize that their only hope of deliverance comes from God
Psalm 121:1 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
121:2 My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
121:3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
David looks all about him even to the far hills and sees that there is no help for the godly anywhere on the earth; therefore he seeks the help of the Almighty who saves his faithful, never resting from delivering those who live by every Word of God.
121:4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. 121:5 The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. 121:6 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
Ultimately, after the faithful are harvested from the grave by our Mighty Deliverer; the souls [lives] of the faithful will be preserved forever more.
121:7 The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. 121:8 The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time [the resurrection to spirit and eternal life] forth, and even for evermore.
Distressed people will find relief and joy in sincere repentance and the deliverance of God
Psalm 122:1 I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.
Going up to the house of the LORD is an allegory of sincere repentance and the wholehearted seeking of God to live by every Word of God.
122:2 Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem. 122:3 Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact [united] together:
Jerusalem where the Ark was moved in David’s day and where God had Solomon build the Temple, will be the capital city of the Mighty Redeemer the King of kings over all the earth in the near future.
Jerusalem was chosen by God as his city and the seat of the King of kings will be there: Going up to Jerusalem is an analogy of going to seek unity with God.
The tribes of Israel went up to Jerusalem to worship in ancient times, and very soon all nations will flow to Jerusalem to seek the Eternal and to learn his Word.
122:4 Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, unto the testimony [the Ark of the Covenant] of Israel, to give thanks [to worship] unto the name of the LORD.
When Messiah comes with his resurrected chosen David will again bring justice to Jerusalem, and Messiah will bring justice to the whole earth.
122:5 For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David.
122:6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. 122:7 Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. 122:8 For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee.
122:9 Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good.
When Jesus Christ comes he will build the Ezekiel Temple and Christ will dwell and rule from Jerusalem, and all nations shall flow to Jerusalem year by year to keep the Feasts of the LORD (Zec 14:16)! Then God’s Spirit will be poured out on all flesh (Joel 2:28) and all people will serve the LORD with wholehearted zeal to live by every Word of God!
Those who have been delivered by the Might of God, will look to him and put their trust in him forever
Psalm 123:1 Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens.
The faithful look up to God in awe and wonder like a maid looks up to her mistress and a young child its parents.
123:2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until that he have mercy upon us.
123:3 Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us: for we are exceedingly filled with contempt. 123:4 Our soul is exceedingly filled with the scorning of those that are at ease, and with the contempt of the proud.
Those who are passionately faithful to live by every Word of God are despised and held in contempt by the wicked because of our love for God and his Word.
Therefore our God will have mercy upon us and he will reward those who are faithful in this life with a double reward; to lead and help bring in the latter day main harvest of humanity.
Isaiah 61:6 But ye shall be named the Priests of the LORD: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.
The resurrected of the early harvest will have a double portion; because of the persecution that they have endured.
61:7 For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them.
Jesus Christ loves fairness, justice and the sound judgment of the whole Word of God; he hates spiritual extortion of offerings by the ministry. The people should give offerings as they can afford and as they have been blessed, not because they are talked into giving more than they can afford.
God will direct the work of the zealous for his Word in the truth of the whole Word of God. The New Covenant of marriage between Jesus Christ and his resurrected chosen is an everlasting Covenant (Jer 31); but the unrepentant wicked will be cast into the fire.
61:8 For I the LORD love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
Repentant physical Israel will be blessed and a repentant and zealous spiritual Israel shall be greatly blessed; but the unrepentant shall pass into nothingness.
61:9 And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the LORD hath blessed.
The whole Word of God with all its teachings [doctrine] and wisdom is beautiful!
61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation [which are the learning and living by every Word of God], he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.
61:11 For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.
Gratitude to God for his deliverance
Psalm 124:1 If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, now may Israel say; 124:2 If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us: 124:3 Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us: 124:4 Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul: 124:5 Then the proud waters had gone over our soul.
God is on our side when we are on his side to follow him and to live by every Word of God.
David speaking of the Red Sea says that it was Almighty God who delivered Israel in a way that no man could. God’s deliverance out of the Red Sea is symbolic of God’s deliverance out of the grave for all those who faithfully follow him and live by every Word of God!
124:6 Blessed be the LORD, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth. 124:7 Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped.
God delivered physical Israel from bondage in Egypt and saved them from the Egyptians and the waters of the Red Sea: Blessed is the LORD God who saves his faithful from bondage to Satan and sin, and delivers them from death out of the mouth of the grave!
124:8 Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
Be always faithful to follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth (Rev 14:4) and to live by every Word of God (Mat 4:4); for God alone can save mankind from death and the grave, and resurrect the sincerely repentant in the harvest to eternal life!