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...


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