Psalm 123, 16 Nov 2014

The ascent is sometimes steep and indirect
The ascent is sometimes steep and indirect


The songs of ascent have a particular fascination. They are short, if not always sweet. They have a message and it’s economical. They challenge.

I am compelled to include this photograph of a remote, lonely, steep, challenging ascent. (Our bush-walkers would love it.) The last time I used it was for the following Psalm 124 which, like the preceding 122, is a song of ascents. (Did anyone remember that I have also used good old Mount Taylor, familiar to local residents, in commenting on this lovely series of songs?)

Ascent or access is not necessarily difficult: but it usually goes with the territory, so to speak.


Isaac Everett says of this psalm:

The thing I love about the psalms of ascent is that they are so simple and short, yet they say everything they need to say. (TEP p. 243)

I applaud the first bit, but what about the second?

In this psalm, the idea of the first few verses is how much we adore divine omniscience, creativity and heavenly glory. So then the psalmist asks for mercy. (v.3) Why? Because:

… we have endured no end of contempt, no end of ridicule from the arrogant, from the proud. (v.4)

Well we can certainly empathise with Idea No 2 today: but is there a logical connection, a causal relationship?

It’s like a cold shower after hot. Cope. Think. Adjust. Connect.

Does it really say all it needs to say? Your call.

3 thoughts on “Psalm 123, 16 Nov 2014

  1. You didn’t ask about the music — but I’ll tell you anyway. We sing PFAS 123A in ‘Psalms for all seasons’, amongs many other options including:
    – Isaac Everett’s ‘The Emergent Psalter’: ‘Have mercy on us’, a simple ascending descending tune.
    – TiS 725: Taizé ‘In our darkness’ could be used with chanted or spoken words.
    – A nice Palestrina setting, prima & seconda pars on CPDL, but SATB sight-reading
    – And another nice one by Linnea Good
    SINGERS: please gather @ 9:15 Sunday to brew another magical elixir in short order. I love it when there’s no plan but it comes together.

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