In my troubles I pled with God to help me and he did!
Deliver me, O Lord, from liars. O lying tongue, what shall be your fate? You shall be pierced with sharp arrows and burned with glowing coals.
My troubles pile high among these haters of the Lord, these men of Meshech and Kedar. I am tired of being here among these men who hate peace.
I am for peace, but they are for war, and my voice goes unheeded in their councils. Psalm 120:1-6LB
Sin is like quicksand—it suffocates our souls.
The pathetic protagonist of Psalm 120 had learned valuable life lessons. He was fed-up from living a lie and he needed to change his life-direction. Like the New Testament’s tale of the prodigal son, the Psalm 120 man is wallowing in pig slop and he wants to go home. Some people spend their whole lives in deception and never see what they are missing. A little child, beaten by an abusive father, will sob when the child protective service worker arrives to remove him from his home. The little boy grieves because he knows nothing better. The pain of abuse is just a regular part of his dysfunctional family life. Until an unbeliever sees the abuse he is enduring at the hand of Satan, he will not be motivated to leave the pig sty. The blows of Apollyon, the pain of Satan’s arrows piercing the back of the God-rejecter seem normal until he realizes that there is something better: a life of love and forgiveness, mercy and grace.
The poet learned three things as he turned toward Jerusalem. He faced the truth that he had swallowed a pack of lies. He resolved to act. He is motivated in verse six to move. “Too long” has he been living life his way. He is disgusted by this lousy lifestyle and he wants out. Finally, the psalmist calls upon the Lord for his life. He is ready to head for home.
The analogy of this poetic portrait is crystal-clear. The first step toward God (I call- He answers) is a cry for salvation. Turning from a purposeless, meaningless life without Christ is like coming home from a foreign land. Paul describes this turning to God in Ephesians 2:12-“…remember that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far away were brought near through the blood of Christ.” The writer has discovered that God wants to interact with him. He must learn to express his heart to God without hiding. The call of “distress”-is the psalmist’s recognition of his hurt, anger, bitterness, and fear (those things inside his emotional cup). He must make the step of faith to bring his hurts honestly to God as his initial step toward salvation.
Such self-disclosure is not man’s work, it is the work of the Holy Spirit in us. To confess our sin is to agree with God and to hate our God-rejecting ways. That’s the next step of faith toward the Savior. The conscience, described in scripture as sun oido, means to see together with God the true nature of fallen behavior. This conscience is the interface between the soul and the spirit. Apart from God’s revelation, man cannot truly know himself. A key step in emptying the “cup” of hurt and pain is seeing what is inside.
As we stand at the juncture between heaven and hell we finally learn that meaningful relationships apart from God are not just shallow and difficult, they are impossible. Moving out of Meshech and Kedar is not enough. We need to get out of Dodge and head for the hills of the Holy Land. We must call on the Lord, the King of Heaven and earth. God alone is able to deliver us, to take us to Jerusalem. The Father of the prodigal in all of us stands waiting to welcome us with open arms. When we begin to despise the far country, we’re ready to yearn for the joy of coming home to God’s love and forgiveness. We recognize our Father’s open door policy, made possible by the sacrifice of Jesus’ blood for our sin. This happy reunion begins a love relationship with God that lasts forever. It is a homecoming none of us will want to miss!