Each year, the people of Israel made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem to celebrate the great feasts of the Lord. They would sing (probably in order) Psalm 120-134. These are commonly called the “songs of ascent” because each song begins with that title. Jerusalem was on a high mountain. So whether you were traveling from the north, south, east or west, you were traveling up to Jerusalem. It was more than a journey to a city. It was a journey to God. This was where the sacrifices were offered and sins were forgiven. This was the place of blessing and peace.
Psalm 120, the first song of ascent, begins with an expression of repentance. The Psalmist says, “Woe to me that I dwell in Meshek, that I live among the tents of Kedar! Too long have I lived among those who hate peace.” Mesheck and Kedar are place names. Mesheck was a far off region thousands of miles from Israel in southern Russia. Kedar was a rogue group of restless nomads – known for their violent ways.
Before the people began their journey to Jerusalem (and to God) they had to recognize their desperate plight. They had to admit that their own way wasn’t working. They had to relinquish their selfish agendas. They had to look elsewhere for peace and satisfaction.
Repentance. In every generation, it is always been the first step to God. Have you taken this important step? Have you come to realize that the culture does not satisfy? Have you come to realize that the things you are clinging to are actually the things that make you miserable? Have you come to realize that your sin has separated you from God and his peaceful country? The good news is that God is welcoming sinners from Meshek and Kedar. I pray that today you would turn your heart to Jerusalem (and to God). For in Jerusalem God sent his Son, Jesus, to die for the sins of humanity.
Photo Credit: Matthias Kopp – own photo, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3231082