“I am for Peace; They are for War” (Psalm 120)

Scripture reading – Psalm 120

Psalm 120A Song of Degrees

The title of Psalm 120, “A Song of degrees,” is the first of fifteen psalms with that title (Psalms 120-134). To clarify the meaning of “degrees,” and there are several different views and explanations suggested by scholars, I will state one of the most probable. Each year the children of Israel went up to Jerusalem for two feasts.  To maintain their focus on the Lord, they recited psalms as they drew near to Jerusalem.  The fifteen psalms were most likely those that they would have recited on their ascent to Jerusalem.

Psalm 120 is generally accepted as David’s reflection on the news that Doeg the Edomite had betrayed him to King Saul, and then massacred Ahimelech the priest, and the other priests of Nob (1 Samuel 22:9-23).

David suffered slander, and had been hunted by an unrelenting enemy determined to kill him. He had fled from Saul, and passed through the priestly town of Nob where he received bread, and the sword of Goliath (1 Samuel 21:1-9). When he received news how eighty-five priests and their families were slain because of Doeg’s lies (1 Samuel 22:9-10), David was overcome with grief. He “cried unto the Lord,” and later wrote: The LORD “heard me” (120:1).

What are we to do when we fall victim to “lying lips, [and]… a deceitful tongue?” (120:2) The answer, pray to the LORD to deliver you, knowing He hears, and answers prayer! David remembered his flight into the wilderness, and the wagging tongues of the wicked that were like “sharp arrows” (120:3-5). His enemy hated peace, and had no interest in resolving conflict; however, David confessed what should be our longing: “I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war” (120:7).

Take a moment to reflect on that last statement: “I am for peace” (120:7a). We should be a peace loving, peace seeking people. We don’t clamor for quarrels, nor do we relish conflicts. However, we cannot sacrifice biblical principles, and have spiritual integrity with the LORD.

David learned what those who seek the Lord should accept. While we might seek peace, the wicked “are for war” (120:7b). The enemies of God, and His people have no interest in peace. They are for war, and strife, and conflict is their way.

Copyright 2021 – Travis D. Smith