A Song for Pilgrims

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem. From my earliest youth my enemies have persecuted me. Let all Israel repeat this:  From my earliest youth my enemies have persecuted me, but they have never defeated me. My back is covered with cuts, as if a farmer had plowed long furrows. But the LORD is good; he has cut me free from the ropes of the ungodly. May all who hate Jerusalem be turned back in shameful defeat.  May they be as useless as grass on a rooftop, turning yellow when only half grown, ignored by the harvester, despised by the binder. And may those who pass by refuse to give them this blessing: “The LORD bless you; we bless you in the LORD’s name” (Psalm 129 NLT).


Studying Beth Moore’s Stepping Up: A Journey Through the Psalms of Ascent, I have been hearing many new revelations of old truths, which is what I love about the Word of God—He always has something new to teach me, no matter how many times I have read His Word. It is as though there are layers and layers of revelation imbedded in His Word and why not? Is He not the “Word of God?” And isn’t the Word of God (Jesus), “living and active” and “sharper than a double-edged sword?” Does it not have the power to penetrate to “dividing between soul and spirit, joints and marrow judging the thoughts and attitudes of the heart?” And there is nothing in all creation that is hidden from God’s sight Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account”? (Hebrews 4:12).

So, true to His Word, He always manages to reveal something new, either about Himself, or about me, as I camp out in His word and actually allow Him to penetrate and divide between my soul (my mind, will and emotions), and my Spirit where He abides.

Psalm 129 held out a few truths over the past two days. Of course the Psalmist wrote it about Israel and God’s protection over His covenant Land, but I can also bring it home and apply it to my own life, and He had some things to share with me about how this applied to so many of us. Beth Moore explains how the word “afflicted” is translated from the Hebrew and it means “oppressed, attacked, persecuted, afflicted” and it is a picture of an enemy  “binding up, hampering, oppressing, distressing, besieging, pressuring us so far down or cramping us into such a knot that we feel constrained to exercise our God-given rights and effectiveness.” Israel’s enemies were real nations; our enemy is that ancient accuser of the brethren, who accuses us before the throne of God day and night. And, he can do a number on our mind, will and emotions in many ways and through many people. He is the oppressor and he does bind us up with his lies, hampers our ability to believe in the truth of God’s love for us, pressures us so far down that we are tied up in knots.

This enemy has managed to dig deep furrows and ruts into our minds so that he can return again and again to the same old methods of taking us down. Beth notes that many of us have been victims of abusive people in our lives and the furrows that have been plowed into our backs leave us open to others who want to victimize us until we develop a “victim mentality.” This victim mentality unbeknownst to us, actually invites others to reject, abuse and victimize us. The furrows in our backs are deep and open to anyone who is a victimizer. We react either by letting people walk all over us, or we turn callous and hard and become the victimizer.

But God has other plans. The Psalmist declares that the LORD is good and that He has cut us free from the ropes of the enemy! Amen. The enemy has bound us up with his “ropes” of lies, but Jesus is Truth and only Truth has the power to cut us free from the ropes of the enemy. Cutting the ropes (the lies) means that he can no longer plow furrows on our back. We have the power in Jesus Christ to no longer lay down and expose our backs to those who want to walk over us—we have the power to stand up (Ephesians 6:12) and refuse the lies and the oppression. Over the years Jesus has taught me a very important truth—Declaring His Truth out loud sends the enemy running because he has no weapon against Jesus Christ, Who is the Truth. The lie that the enemy plowed into my back for so many years was this: “You must pay and suffer the consequences of your past for the rest of your life.” And he had plenty of evidence to back that up. Finally Jesus got hold of me and said to me quite plainly “Is that truth? Is your past not under My blood?” And so He stood me up on my feet and instructed me to begin this process of defeating the enemy with His Truth and every time the lie would come into my mind, I simply said, “Yes, I do have a past, but it is forgiven and under the blood of Christ.”

Within a few short weeks, all of the bound up, hampering, oppressing, distressing, besieging, pressuring and cramping me into a knot, was gone. It was gone forever. The furrows healed. The ropes were cut. And I was free.

Beth asks that we write out the Psalm in the form of a prayer. Here is what I wrote:

Many times the enemy has attacked me LORD, creating a rut in my soul which the enemy can come back to again and again. It is a familiar rut LORD because I have let him plow his lies into my mind for so long.

But You, O God, are perfect and You cut the thick cords the enemy used to keep me enslaved to his lies! Thank You, thank You, thank You!

Now, victorious LORD, put my enemy to shame and turn him back—whither his lies before Your eyes and drive him away because his desire is to hurt You, by hurting me.

But his lies will no longer prevail. Praise be to You my LORD. Amen.

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