“Do good O LORD, to those who are good”
We continue to read the Psalms which up to Psalm 130 are each captioned, ‘A Song of Ascents’. These are short songs which are believed to have been sung as people ascended up to Mount Zion to the Temple to worship. “Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever” (Psalm 125:1). They would then sing, “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people …” (verse 2).
The essential focus of this song are these words, “Do good O LORD, to those who are good, and to those who are upright in their hearts” (verse 4). We note it is “in their hearts” the place where only God can see as he “surrounds his people”. But what of those who slip after being upright? The next and last verse states, “But those who turn aside to their crooked ways the LORD will lead away with the evildoers!”
Those trying to be upright today are surrounded by those whose ways are “crooked” to various degrees, “Mount Zion” is not on their radar screen. The strength we need to prevent us from turning aside is greatly helped when we find a quiet half an hour each day to read – and meditate on what we have read in God’s word.
Then, as the next Psalm puts it, the time will come when we can look back and say, “The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad” (126:3). This leads to a thought provoking point in the final verses, “Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for the sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him”.
Let us “sow” God’s seed, first in our own hearts, and then encourage others to do the same. It is inevitable that there are times of weeping in our mortal life – and these are times of great sadness if there is no prospect of “shouts of joy” when our time comes to ascend Mount Zion in an all glorious reunion with others who have maintained upright hearts, or who have recovered from stumbling, to join in the ascent up God’s holy mountain.