In the Psalms, there are what we have listed as Songs of Ascents. At some point, they became literal songs that the pilgrims would sing as they went to Jerusalem for the Feasts and other special times. The Temple was on top of the Temple Mount, and towered over the surrounding area. As the people literally “went up” to worship, there were Levitical cantors who would lead them in song, stationed along the steps and along the high points of the Temple. They would sing these songs as they went up to worship.
One of my favorite song of ascents is Psalm 121:
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills — where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip — he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord watches over you — the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all harm — he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
A song of ascents. Of David.
I love the imagery of people going up to worship, struggling with the burdens they were carrying in their lives – their cares and concerns; being told, “He will not let your foot slip, as they were literally struggling to climb the steps. Yet they were singing praises to God, being reminded where our true Help comes from!
You think it might help if we started singing songs reminding us about that, as we made our way up the hill and up the steps to the sanctuary on Sunday mornings? It might!
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