It begins with a scene of nearly delirious joy, a scene from Israel's past when the people were released from their Babylonian captivity and returned to Zion. The second half jumps to the age in which the psalm was written. It was a very different time, a time of difficult, unrewarding labor and even weeping. This stanza describes these hard times, but it also contains both a prayer for, as well as a prophecy of, better days to come. 

Early in this week's study I mentioned Thomas Cahill and his study of the role of the Irish in preserving learning during the dark ages. I return to him here because of what he has to say about St. Patrick, the young Roman who brought Christianity to Ireland. Patrick had been captured in England by Irish pirates when he was only sixteen years old and had been put to work as a slave for an Irish chieftain. He escaped after six years, returned to his family, but was then called by God to return to Ireland as a missionary. 

As we ended yesterday's study, we noted that the psalmist sees two dangers, which, in turn, have led him to four responses: a promise, a prayer, a warning, and a blessing. 

It is not only that God has become the foundation for his people's faith, which is what the mountain location of Jerusalem suggested to the author of Psalm 125. It is also the case that God surrounds his people, as the mountains surround Jerusalem. 

We concluded yesterday's study with the truth that our security can never be in ourselves or in circumstances. It must always be in God. I think of the Apostle Peter as an illustration. At one point in his life, Peter took his eyes off Jesus, looked at the water on which he was walking and began to sink. He was an insecure man. But there was a later incident in his life in which Jesus taught him what it was to be rock solid. Jesus had asked who the disciples thought he was, and Peter had answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”