little girl dressing for church September 22 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Psalms 121, 122, 123, 128, 130, 134, 135, and 136

Songs to Sing on the Way to Church

Sunday morning can be the most stressful morning of the week for many of us Christians. It is the day when we get ready for church. That is usually where our stress comes from—getting ready. Although in many churches dress is casual, in others it is more formal. Dresses and suits need to be found and pressed, hair needs to be done, and someone is always hogging the bathroom.

Staying up too late on Saturday night often compounds the stress of Sunday morning. We are tired and our nerves are frayed—who feels like singing on the way to church? But if we prepare on Saturday, go to bed at a reasonable hour, and get up a little earlier, we may feel more like worshipping. Singing on the way to church gets us in the mood for worship.

In today’s Bible reading are Psalms of ascents—songs of worship the Israelites would sing on their way up to Jerusalem for their annual and seasonal feasts, for Jerusalem is on a high hill in Israel.

We are not sure of the date of these Psalms, but we can be sure they were sung at this time (and possibly previous festal gatherings). Around 444 B.C. more than 50,000 Jews, who had returned from exile, gathered to celebrate the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem. The Levites and singers led them in worship in Jerusalem, but on the way up the people probably sang these and other songs of ascension.

One hymn writer says, “I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2, NIV). The rest of the Psalm extols the loving watch-care of the LORD. God was watching over Israel as they were rebuilding the city walls, and despite opposition, in just fifty-two days the LORD helped them complete the task. Where does our help come from? We can entrust our soul to Almighty God. Like Israel, if we seek to do the LORD’s will, He will watch over us and help us.

A house of God should be a place of peace. In Psalm 122 the writer exhorts the Israelites to come gladly to the house of God in Jerusalem and to pray for peace within its walls. What is our attitude about coming to church? Do we seek to make it a place of peace and worship so people will gladly come? Disputes between family or church members are best settled before Sunday.

Psalm 123 encourages the worshippers to look to God and seek direction from Him so they will know what to do, for their enemies are ridiculing them. Do we seek direction from the LORD when we come to church? Seeking help from God on Sunday will help us face life's challenges on Monday.

Psalm 128 extols the value of fearing (reverencing) the LORD and walking in His ways. If we do that His blessings will be on our family.

In Psalm 130 the composer reminds Jerusalem that the LORD is a forgiving God. They and we can place our faith and hope in Him (more...). If we wait patiently for Him, He will deliver us, as He did the Israelites, or help us through difficult circumstances.

Psalm 134 and 135 encourage the priests and Levites to praise the LORD. They are the ministers of the LORD who serve in the tabernacle (a portable worship center) and in Solomon’s temple. They are to inspire their congregation of worshippers to praise the LORD by rehearsing His great works. The same principle can be applied to the ministers and worship leaders in today’s churches.

Psalm 136 exhorts Israel to give thanks to the LORD. They and we should give thanks for everything (even the difficult situations which teach us to draw near to the LORD for His wisdom, comfort, and peace). We should especially remember that what He does for us demonstrates that “His love endures forever.” The greatest demonstration of His love is our salvation (more...). Let's not take the LORD for granted. We should be ever grateful for His favors.

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,
and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. (Revelation 1:5b-6, NIV)

Lessons to Live By

  • So we may have a peaceful worship day, we shouldn't overwhelm our schedules. We should prepare meals and clothing early, settle our conflicts before we worship, and get plenty of sleep on Saturday night.
  • God watches over the righteous and helps them. Do we know Him? (more...)
  • Seeking help from God on Sunday will help us face life's challenges on Monday.
  • If we live in fear (reverence) for our LORD, He will bless our family.
  • The LORD is a forgiving God,
  • Spiritual leaders should rehearse God’s great works to set the atmosphere for worship.
  • What God does for us demonstrates that His love endures.
  • Singing on the way to church puts us in the mood for worship.

Focus Verse

Psalm 98:1 (NIV) “A psalm. Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.” (NIV)

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A Look Ahead: In our next two Bible studies we learn The Importance of God's Word from one of the Psalms. Please join us!

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