September/October 2015

Pilgrim Songs

A devotional journey through the Psalms of Ascents


"The 15 Psalms of Ascents remind us that all roads across the face of our planet lead to Jerusalem. In a time when many speak of a final Armageddon being near, which will end the chaos, brutality, and moral disintegration, we must remember the end is not yet here."

From Elwood McQuaid's article, Psalm 126: O Jerusalem.

Features

From the Editor Sep/Oct 2015

A few months ago, the husband of one of my dearest friends died of a heart attack while eating lunch. One minute he was alive; the next, he wasn’t. My friend told me the ambulance arrived...

Pilgrim Songs

Psalms 120 through 134 are referred to as the Songs of Ascents due to the superscription at the beginning of each psalm. The term ascent carries the notion of step or degree. The interpretation of...

Psalm 120: Our Deliverer

Sung by ancient pilgrims making their way up to Jerusalem to observe the primary feasts of Israel, Psalm 120 is the first in a series known as the Psalms of Ascents. It begins with a...

Psalm 121: Our Security

Imagine a Jewish father singing to his children, “My help comes from the Lᴏʀᴅ, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber...

Psalm 122: Our Joy And Peace

Psalm 122 is the third of the 15 pilgrim songs known in Hebrew as Psalms of Aliyah, meaning “going up.” Traveling to Jerusalem, especially for the three annual Jewish festivals...

Psalm 123: Our Focus

According to an old saying, “You can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” When it comes to Israel...

Psalm 124: Our Defender

Living in danger was nothing new to my late colleague Zvi Kalisher. He lived in Israel for nearly 70 years and witnessed countless dangers. He often described his situation as...

Psalm 125: Our Protector

Mayhem is everywhere. This motto is used by one of America’s biggest insurance companies. The television commercial portrays “mayhem” in the form of a man running amok...

Psalm 126: O Jerusalem

On Wednesday, June 7, 1967, the wail of a ram’s horn blown at the base of the Western Wall in Jerusalem shook the world. Surrounded by young paratroopers with tear-stained faces, Rabbi Shlomo Goren raised...

Psalm 127: Our Provider

Situated at the midpoint of the Psalms of Ascents, Psalm 127 is didactic, or instructional, and is attributed to King Solomon. Confronting the reality of daily existence, it motivates readers to...

Psalm 128: Our Source

A steady stream of families paraded across the stones and steps that marked the path to the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City. I sat nearby as they carried canopies, banners, and balloons...

Psalm 129: Our Guardian

From their sojourn in Egypt to their days in Europe during Hitler’s Third Reich to today, the Jewish people have been afflicted. Yet against all odds, this tiny group of people...

Psalm 130: Our Redeemer

If there is one thing we all share, it’s trouble. My Jewish friends often use the Yiddish word tsuris. I remember one day in 2010 that dumped a tremendous amount of tsuris on me. I learned...

Psalm 131: Our Hope

Psalm 131 is a song of humility. This Song of Ascents was composed by King David. Though one of the shortest psalms, it is also one of the most poignant. David composed it while experiencing severe challenges and inner turmoil, perhaps when...

Psalm 132: Our Dwelling

Psalm 132 is the longest of all the Songs of Ascents and focuses on worship, which the nation of Israel modeled after the experience of its greatest king and worship leader...

Psalm 133: Our Unity

Hine ma tov u’ma-nayim, shevet ach-im gam ya-chad. These Hebrew words are familiar to anyone who attends synagogue regularly. “Behold, how good and how pleasant...

Psalm 134: Our Blessing

When God blesses something, He bestows on it life and goodness. During creation, God only blessed living things; He did not bless the sun, moon, or stars. After He created Adam and Eve...

More In This Issue

Inside View Sep/Oct 2015

Do you ever feel like you want to do something to help Israel in addition to praying? That was how we felt when we started the Israel Relief Fund many years ago.

Eye on the Middle East Sep/Oct 2015

The UN Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry in June released its 183-page investigative report into the 2014 Gaza war, blaming both Israel and Hamas for possible violations of...

Spawning a Genderless Wasteland

The June 26, 2015, U.S. Supreme Court Decision mandating all 50 states recognize same-sex marriage as a legal right marked a turning point for America. The decision is...

They Cry in Silence Sep/Oct 2015

Christians and others in the southern Philippines are extremely afraid that legislation creating an Islamic substate on Mindanao Island will exacerbate religious tensions, rather than...

Sukkah Shalom: An Invitation

The most joyous season in ancient Israel was that of the Feast of Tabernacles. It fell during the time of year when hearts were naturally full of thankfulness, joy, and expectation...

Former Ambassador Michael Oren Calls Christian Support for Israel ‘Crucial’ In Special Interview With JNS.org

Seemingly lost in all the debate over U.S.-Israel relations is that Member of Knesset Michael Oren’s new book, Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide, is a memoir—and the memoir covers more than the...

A Word to the Church in Captivity

In June the U.S. Supreme Court issued its long-awaited opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, in which gay rights activists won the constitutional right for same-sex marriage. Five of the nine justices granted that right, inventing it out of whole cloth...

Standing for the Truth

2 John 5–13: All Christians should obey biblical truth and manifest love, as taught by Jesus Christ. The “elect lady and her children,” whom the apostle John mentioned in his second epistle, lived observably according to these commandments...

The Great Controversy: When Does Life Begin?

January 2016 will mark the 43rd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in America. Since then, women have aborted 57.7 million babies in the United States1—more than twice...

Israel in the News Sep/Oct 2015

Former U.S. State Department official David Makovsky has proposed that Israel increase the number of Gazans it admits each day to 100,000 from the current 5,000. Makovsky claims Israeli jobs would make the Arabs less hostile to Israel and...

Apples of Gold Sep/Oct 2015

Recently I was in Hebron where I met many Swedish tourists. Their guide was giving them false information that was unsympathetic to Israel, and many of them believed him...

Web Exclusives

The Feasts of Tabernacles in the Days of Jesus

The Feast of Tabernacles during the time of Jesus was full of pageantry fueled with great expectation. It was the “season of our rejoicing” because...

Daily News from Israel

December 13, 2018

“As long as I am the prime minister of Israel, not a single Jew will be uprooted from his home,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday (11th) at the dedication of a new interchange in the West Bank...

December 12, 2018

The condition of a baby delivered after his mother was critically wounded in a shooting attack outside the town of Ofra on Sunday night (9th) has deteriorated, the hospital said Monday (10th). The pregnant woman was...

December 11, 2018

A pregnant woman was left in critical condition and six others suffered moderate injuries in a terror attack Sunday evening (9th), when shots were fired from a passing car at a crowd of people waiting at a bus stop outside...

December 10, 2018

On Thursday morning (6th), Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu briefed ambassadors in the north near where the Israel Defense Forces are operating to expose and destroy Hizbullah tunnels.  He provided the...

December 7, 2018

One of the main lessons Hizbullah learned from the 2006 Second Lebanon War was the need to revise its objectives in the next war with Israel, alongside the need to devise advanced defensive and offensive capabilities...

December 6, 2018

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday (4th) vowed to take additional steps, including clandestine operations to protect Israel against Hizbullah’s efforts to attack the Jewish state, hours after the IDF started a...

December 5, 2018

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman lambasted the United Nations on Monday (3rd) over its anti-Israel bias, using the occasion of Hanukkah to highlight Israel’s legitimate claim to Jerusalem. Friedman, the first US...

December 4, 2018

The Lighting of the first candle of Hanukkah took place Sunday evening (2nd) at the Western Wall, in the presence of the Police Commissioner, Roni Lashich, Chief Rabbi of Israel, David Lau, the Rabbi of the Western Wall...

More From The Friends of Israel