Words of Faith 12-6-18
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.
Psalm 120 A song of ascents.
I call on the Lord in my distress,
and he answers me.
 Save me, O Lord, from lying lips
and from deceitful tongues.
 What will he do to you,
and what more besides, O deceitful tongue?
 He will punish you with a warrior's sharp arrows,
with burning coals of the broom tree.
 Woe to me that I dwell in Meshech,
that I live among the tents of Kedar!
 Too long have I lived
among those who hate peace.
 I am a man of peace;
but when I speak, they are for war.
Jesus had turned the corner toward Jerusalem. He now joined other Jewish pilgrims as He climbed the first hill on the journey up to Jerusalem. Those around Him began reciting these very words. He had heard them many times in worship and on this very road, but how powerful considering what was ahead. This Psalm cries out to God for relief from the enemies of this world.
Scholars and translators debate the correct tense of the first phrase-- either past or present. The KJV translates in the past tense "In my distress I cried unto the Lord.” The NIV renders this in present tense "I call on the Lord in my distress and he answers me.”
The ambiguity may be meaningful in itself. Faith is rooted both in our past experience of God and in our trust in God at the present. The faith of yesterday means nothing if we do not find God and trust in Him today. The walk of faith is always present tense as we call out to God. Walking with God is always a "now" thing.
The pilgrims cried out for salvation, or more properly, for deliverance. Deliverance from lying lips and deceitful tongues. It is a cry for the vengeance of the Lord to be visited upon those who have lied and tormented the pilgrim. The pilgrim lamented having to dwell in the midst of those who hate peace.
Meshech (Gen. 10:2) and its barbarous people lived in the far north. Kedar in northern Arabia was where some nomadic Ishmaelites lived (Gen. 25:13). The psalmist used these images to describe the enemies that surrounded him. He declared that he, in contrast, was a man of peace. For that reason he knew the Lord would vindicate his cause. How powerful that the Prince of Peace meditated upon these words as He climbed toward Jerusalem for the last time. "Save me from lying lips and deceitful tongues,” chanted those around Him.
The first crest in the road is our cry to God. We begin our journey contemplating the pain in life caused by the enemies of God. There are lying lips and deceitful tongues and those who would make war against us. There is a calling out that must take place. What are these lying voices? The accusations could be almost anything but they certainly represent the accusations of the world and of the Enemy. We begin movement toward God realizing our great spiritual need and affirming faith in the one who will deliver us from accusation.
We begin with a declaration that God will indeed answer our call. We begin with a declaration of peace. "Too long have I lived among those who hate peace. I am a man of peace; but when I speak, they are for war."
The spiritual journey begins deliberately as we pull away from the world. We pull away from the enemies of God. We pull away from the accusing voices that surround us. We pull away from lies said about us. We leave all this behind as we call out to the Lord and He answers.
We begin our journey toward God only when we recognize our need for God. We may call out in a time of desperation that essentially says: "O God, I don't even know if you are there, but I am calling out to You in my distress." It is often said that recovery cannot begin until we recognize that we are powerless to fix ourselves and that we must call out to the Lord. Movement toward God always begins when we call out to Him.
Where are you today in your journey? Is it time to pull away? Is it time to turn the corner and move toward God? Is it time to declare peace and seek the deliverance of the Lord? Is it time to call upon the Lord?
Father God, I call upon You and You alone in my distress, and You answer. May I walk closely with Jesus today, pulling away from lying tongues and those who war against You. I call out to You and I know that You answer. In Jesus' name.