Scripture reading – Psalm 120


Our study of the life of David and his flight from King Saul continues today with two Psalms, chapters 120 and 140. The title of Psalm 120 was “A Song of Degrees,” and it was the first of fifteen psalms with that title (Psalms 120-134).  


Scholars give various views and explanations concerning the meaning of “degrees.” I will state the one I feel is most probable. From the Scriptures, we understand the children of Israel were to go up to Jerusalem for two feasts each year. On their ascent to Jerusalem, that city having been built on a range of mountains, pilgrims recited certain psalms to maintain their focus on the LORD. The fifteen psalms identified as “A Song of Degrees” are believed to be those recited during the ascent.


Psalm 120A Song of Degrees


Psalm 120 is generally accepted as a song David authored when he received news of the atrocity committed by Doeg the Edomite. The evil man not only betrayed him to King Saul but also massacred the households of Ahimelech, the high priest, and the other priests and residents of Nob (1 Samuel 22:9-23).


David’s Prayer (Psalm 120:1-2)


The news of the atrocities at Nob committed by Doeg and the slander of his foes moved David to cry out to the LORD. Later, as the king of Israel, David reflected on that occasion and wrote, “I cried unto the LORD and He heard me” (Psalm 120:1). He longed for the LORD to deliver him from “lying lips, and a deceitful tongue” (Psalm 120:2).

David Cried for Vindication and Deliverance (Psalm 120:3-7)


David remembered his flight into the wilderness and the wagging tongues of the wicked. Their words pierced him like “sharp arrows” that were inflamed (Psalm 120:3-5). His enemy hated peace and had no interest in resolving conflict. David, however, confessed his longing and said, “I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war” (Psalm 120:7).


Closing thoughts:


Take a moment and reflect on David’s words: “I am for peace…they are for war” (Psalm 120:7a). Because we know the “God of peace,” it naturally follows that believers are a peace-loving, peace-seeking people (Romans 15:33; Romans 16:20; Philippians 4:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 13:20). God’s people don’t clamor for quarrels, nor do we relish conflicts. Yet, we are compelled by the principles and precepts of God’s Word. We cannot sacrifice spiritual integrity in pursuit of peace that is compromised.


David learned what those who seek the Lord should accept. Though we seek peace, the wicked “are for war” (Psalm 120:7b). They are the enemies of God and have no interest in peace with His people.


Never forget: The wicked are for war, and strife and conflict is their way.


Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

* You can subscribe to the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals and have them sent directly to your email address. Please enter your email address in the box to the right (if using a computer) or at the bottom (if using a cell phone). You may also email your request to

The Internal Revenue Service recognizes Heart of A Shepherd Inc as a 501c3 public charitable organization.

%d bloggers like this: