Distress

Today’s post is the beginning of a new series, Psalm Saturdays, by guest blogger Robert Chamberlain. You can read more about Robert after the article below.

Psalm 120:1-7

1 In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me.
2 Deliver me, O LORD, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue.
3 What shall be given to you, and what more shall be done to you, you deceitful tongue?
4 A warrior’s sharp arrows, with glowing coals of the broom tree!
5 Woe to me, that I sojourn in Meshech, that I dwell among the tents of Kedar!
6 Too long have I had my dwelling among those who hate peace.
7 I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war!

A friend was moaning to me about his nightmare flatmate. When he visited my home church, the pastor preached from this Psalm. This really struck my friend as providential, seeing how relevant it seemed.

If we’re distressed by nightmare neighbours, this is the Psalm to come to. It tells us where to go: to take our troubles to the Lord in prayer. If we’re upset, we should pray, and God will answer us.

This is a Psalm of ascent. This means that the Israelites would sing it on pilgrimage to Jerusalem. And we as Christians can appreciate it on pilgrimage to the heavenly new Jerusalem.

I’m reminded of one of my favourite TV shows, called “Race Across The World”, where contestants have to race across the world without flying for the price of the air fare. To raise funds, they can work along the way. One team worked one place in the expectation that they’d get a boat ride across the river, but were given more work than they’d bargained for.

When people exploit us, it’s understandable to long for their comeuppance. And when we cry to God for deliverance, that’s what God reminds us of, that our oppressors will eventually get their just deserts. In the light of Jesus’ words to love our enemies, perhaps we should be warning them of their fate if they don’t repent of persecuting us!

Jesus blessed the peacemakers. But sometimes we’re unable to make peace, because our enemies are dead set on conflict. Solomon said that when someone’s way is pleasing to God, they make even their enemies to be at peace with them. But that is only a general truth, not a universal one.

“Please help us Lord as we journey to heaven, to be peacemakers and to find solace in You in the midst of our distress. In Jesus’ name, amen.”


About the author: Robert is a child of God, the husband of Joy, and the father of Grace. He’s from “God’s own county” of Yorkshire in the United Kingdom. Writing in earnest began for Robert when a friend prophetically told him that he should write. Although he isn’t currently publishing himself on WordPress, you can read the archives at www.roberlain.wordpress.com and a few other blogs linked from there. You can also find his up-to-date notes on the YouVersion Bible App. Also, The Believer’s Post is a WhatsApp platform for Christian bloggers which you can request him to join.

Email Robert at bobjc88 @ gmail.com if you want to get in touch.