Scripture reading – Psalm 124; Psalm125

Our study of the Psalms continues with two Psalms titled “A Song of Degrees.” Psalm 124 bears the name of David as its author; however, the author of Psalm 125 is unknown. Both psalms are identified among those believed to have been sung by the priests as they ascended the steps to the Temple.

Psalms 124 – “A Song of Degrees of David.”

I suggest two major themes for Psalm 124: the Dangers from which the LORD had saved David and his men being the first.

Dangers (Psalms 124:1-5)

The phrase, “If it had not been the Lord who was on our side,” is repeated in verses 1 and 2 of Psalm 124. Perhaps the Psalm was antiphonal or responsive in style. If so, the song leader would sing the first verse and end it with, “Now may Israel say” (Psalm 124:1). Then the congregation would echo the phrase, “If it had not been the Lord who was on our side,” and add, “When men rose up against us” (Psalm 124:2).

Indeed, if the LORD had not been on the side of David and his men, the enemy (perhaps King Saul) would have “swallowed us [David, and his men] up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us” (Psalm 123:3). If the LORD had not been on their side, he and his men would have been overwhelmed by their enemy, and swept away in Saul’s wrath like a violent stream sweeps away its victims (Psalm 124:4-5).

Deliverance (Psalms 124:6-8)

The second theme of Psalm 124 is Deliverance. David portrayed the deliverance of his men and likened it to prey delivered from the teeth of a lion (Psalm 124:6) and a bird set free from a trapper’s snare (Psalm 124:7). When David called on the LORD, his Deliverer was the Creator of heaven and earth (Psalm 124:8).

Psalms 125

The reference to Mount Zion (Psalm 125:1) confirms that Psalm 125 was sung by pilgrims ascending the road to Jerusalem and the Temple. Consider the following as an outline for Psalm 125.

The Proclamation (Psalms 125:1-2)

“They that trust in the Lord shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever. 2As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, So the Lord is round about his people from henceforth even for ever” (Psalm 125:1-2).

We live in a world where it seems the wicked have the advantage. Psalm 125, however, exhorts believers to “trust in the LORD,” for He is like Mount Zion: Unmovable, immutable, unwavering, and He “is round about his people” forever (Psalm 125:1-2).

The Promise (Psalms 125:3)

“For the rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous; Lest the righteous put forth their hands unto iniquity” (Psalm 125:3). The wicked threaten and smite the saints of God with their rod (i.e., club). Nevertheless, the LORD restrains the evil, and the rod will not “rest [stay] upon the lot [person] of the righteous” (Psalm 125:3).

The Prayer (Psalms 125:4)

“Do good, O Lord, unto those that be good, and to them that are upright in their hearts” (Psalm 125:4). The LORD is loving and compassionate, and we can be confident He will bless with good those who please Him.

The Pledge (Psalms 125:5)

“As for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways, The Lord shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity: But peace shall be upon Israel.” (Psalm 125:5).

The LORD is Just, and those who take the crooked path will perish with the “workers of iniquity” (Psalm 125:5). But Israel [the true Israel who are the people of God] will enjoy peace (Galatians 6:16; John 14:27).

Closing thoughts:


The mountains of Zion afforded Jerusalem a natural, fortified place, secure from her enemies.  Built upon Mount Zion, it stood as an impressive sight from a distance, and the deep ravines that proceeded from the mount made Jerusalem a formidable fortress.

In the same way that Jerusalem enjoyed the safety and security on Mount Zion, God’s people were encouraged to “trust in the LORD,” understanding He encircles them like the “mountains are round about Jerusalem” (Psalm 125:1).

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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