One Year Bible: I Kings 2:1-46, Acts 5:1-42; Psalm 125:1-5; Proverbs 16:25
Do good, O LORD, to those who are good,
to those who are upright in heart.
God is good! All the time! Even in tough times, which is likely the setting for this psalm. Some scholars believe Psalm 125 was written during the time of foreign domination—perhaps at the hands of the uber-wicked Assyria—or at least during a time when it seemed likely that Jerusalem would be overrun by the godless.
This is yet another psalm of assent (see blog entry on Psalm 120), and the writer penned the song for people to sing on their way to worship in Jerusalem. It prompted them to call upon God for two things: To keep Jerusalem pure (Psalm 125:3) and to keep Jerusalem prosperous (Psalm 125:4). The writer recognized that there was a serious temptation for people to fall away from God when times were tough—either by giving in to the godless culture that had swallowed the land or by throwing away their trust in the God who seemed to withhold much needed provision.
Of course, we recognize that God sometimes uses trials to purify our faith and tough times to bring a better kind of prosperity to our lives. But in a sense, the psalmist here is foreshadowing the very prayer Jesus taught his disciples to pray in Matthew 6:13, “Lead us not into temptation.” I believe The Message translation of that line in the Lord’s prayer captures quite well the ancient psalmist’s thoughts,
“Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.”
That’s not a bad prayer to pray, I’d say. Given the choice between tough times and good times, I will pray for the latter, following both the psalmists’ and the Lord’s example. Sure, I am willing to embrace trial as a necessary friend (James 1:2, MSG), but my first choice is to hold hands with the goodness of God.
Yes, do good, dear God, and keep me safe from myself and the Devil!
“Christian, remember the goodness of God in the frost of adversity.”