This year we will be Expecting our Savior by examining the psalms that speak of our expectations. The book of Psalms, found in the Old Testament, anticipates the arrival of a savior, a savior who will fulfill the prophesy and free God’s people from the many things that bind them.
We only have 3 Wednesdays of Advent, so I give you the first of four psalms for you to do at home.
Read Psalm 122 --- “Song of Praise and Prayer for Jerusalem”
An expectation of unity in Christ
Insight: First thing to note is that the Psalms are not written chronologically. Psalm 122 is the third, in a series of 15 “Ascent Psalms” or Psalms that tell the story of a journey or a pilgrimage. This journey was most likely taking place on one of the many festivals recognized at the time. “Jerusalem is destination and goal because it is the place where God is present for his people.”1 Psalm 122 is sung on arrival, “within your gates, O Jerusalem” (Psalm 122: 2). Jerusalem is praised three times within the psalm as: a place of refuge (v3), praise (v4), and justice (v3). The psalm calls for all who love Jerusalem to come
within the protected walls of its gates and join together as one harmonious group- harmony that may have been lost in our ordinary days. [As a contrast read Jesus’ words on Jerusalem in Luke 19:41-44.]
Reflection: There is an expectation of something that is expressed in the first two verses of the Psalm: The Psalmist is glad to be in Jerusalem. Why the gladness?
We see in verse three that the gladness is due to the unity that is within Jerusalem. It is important to note that unity does not mean there is not diversity, which is echoed in verse four: “to which the tribes go up”. There are multiple peoples coming to Jerusalem so what does this mean for our church today as we prepare for the coming of the Lord? The next couple of verses (not to skip over v5) starting with v6 are petitions for what this unity brings: May it bring peace and prosperity and a desire to do good. The basis of this however is praising the Lord as expressed in v4. How are we praising the Lord in today’s time?2
Sing: “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus” -- ELW Hymn 254
Come, thou long expected Jesus, born to set thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us;
Let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation, hope of all the earth thou art,
Dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.
Born thy people to deliver, born a child, and yet a king;
Born to reign in us forever, now that gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal Spirit rule in all our hearts alone;
By thine all sufficient merit raise us to thy glorious throne.
1 Mays, James L.. Psalms: Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching (Kindle Location 7555).
Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.
2 Adapted from classroom assignment for Prophets and Poetry (instructor Rolf Jacobson) written post by William