Pilgrims: Not Settlers


“I am tired of living among people who hate peace.”

~Psalm 120:6, NLT


Singing praises to God, with other like minded believers, makes the journey sweeter.


Woodrow Marbut

Traveling conditions have improved drastically since this Psalm was written. We ride in comfortable automobiles with heated seats, AC, Bluetooth, and guidance control systems–the Jewish Pilgrims, on their way to the temple, walked but they walked in groups. The closer that got to Jerusalem, the larger their group became. Psalm 120 is a Ascent Psalm or Pilgrim Psalm. It is one of the songs that the Jews would sing as they traveled toward the Holy City. They are called Ascent Psalms because the last 15 miles or so are up hill. In this particular Ascent Psalm, the writer is burdened about his condition. He is surrounded by enemies who slander his reputation and threaten violence and war. The Jews were always surrounded by enemies and this remains true to the present. The Jews made three pilgrimages to Jerusalem each year when possible: in Spring, it was Passover; in Summer, it was Pentecost and in Fall, it was the feast of Tabernacles which was their harvest festival or thanksgiving.

We Christians are in the same predicament when it comes to being surrounded by enemies. We live in a world that is hostile toward our Savior. Paul warned young Timothy, that all who live godly in Christ Jesus would suffer persecution [2 Tim.3:12]. This is the theme of Psalm 120, the persecution the Jews faced by living among hostile God haters. This is the sobering reality of the Christian life: we are living in a world that is hostile toward our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ. Like it or not, we are involved in a great spiritual conflict. We are on a battle ship not a cruise ship; we are on assignment, not vacation. We are pilgrims, not settlers. Too many professed believers have settled in this world and that is a tragic mistake, one you don’t want to make. Opposition from the world is difficult at times but the greater the opposition, the sweeter our fellowship with other true believers. Persecution from the world seems to increase our love for each other; it literally draws us together. As the Jews began their pilgrimage to Jerusalem, like-minded Jews along the way joined the procession. These groups grew into the hundreds until there was a massive choir headed for worship. Can you imagine being a part of this massive entourage, singing and praising your way to the place of worship. In spite of the surrounding presence of evil, they experienced a little heaven on earth. How precious and sweet the fellowship of believers and persecution does not destroy this fellowship, it makes is stronger. Persecution drives us to Christ and to each other.

A farmer had burn a brush pile that he intended to burn once conditions were right but a Robin had built a nest in the brush so the farmer gently moved the nest. He went back a few days latter and the Robin had built another nest in the brush. He knew the brush pile was not a wise choice for the Robin’s home but how could he convince this bird to move. He found some thorns nearby and planted them in the nest. He went back a few days later and the mother Robin had made her a new home in a near by tree. Sometimes God puts thorns in our nest to keep us from settling in a place that has no future. Like the brush pile, this world will go up in smoke. Israel settled in Egypt but that is not where God wanted them. He put a thorn in their nest. The thorn has a name, it was Pharaoh. Cancer, the death of a loved one, heartbreak and disappointment: they are all thorns in the nest to remind us that this world is not our home.

  • November is the month we recognize our Veterans the Veteran of the Day is Woodrow W. Marbut. This is June’s dad who lived with us our first year in Danville. He served as a Sargent in the U.S. Army and like my father, he was in Germany. He commanded a tank destroyer and was in the battle of the bulge. Much of this battle took place in the Black Forrest in Germany. He did catch some shrapnel in the lower extremities and was practically cripple when I meet him in 1970. He passed away at age 63 with ALS.
  • WOW! What a Service! God is good and He poured out His grace last night. I was blown away. This make twice in 8 days that He has overwhelmed me with awe and wonder and both were Sunday nights. The sermon last night was music to my ears: I needed that one and so did many others. The boy can make the scriptures come to life. I think we ended up with four POF’s and a multitude of rededications. Rededications are big: this is how REVIVALS get started.
  • God is a Creator, not a duplicator: if you missed last night, you missed something that will never happen again but God may do something greater tonight. He will not do the same but He may do something even better. I pray that He will do exceedingly abundantly above what we ask for or can even imagine.
  • My computer here in the house has a virus or something: the calculators pops up randomly every few seconds. It is driving me nuts.

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