Spiritual Training

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June 21 - Evening

"I lift up my eyes to the mountains — where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip — he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you — the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm — he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore."

- Psalms 121:1-8

The Psalms of Ascent

Psalm 120-134 are the fifteen Psalms known as the “Songs of Ascent.” They were sung by traveling pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem. They were also sung by the Levite choirs in Jerusalem who led the singing as the Jews progressed up the temple mount steps to worship. These are processional songs that are almost all short psalms focused on Jerusalem and national concerns that would unite the worshippers during times of feasting and celebration. These fifteen Psalms consider Israel’s past and the greatness of their God who has delivered them, but also proclaim the promise of continued blessing to an obedient, unified people who wait in hope for the fullness of the Lord’s plan. Psalm 127 is the eighth and middle of the Psalms of Ascent with seven Psalms coming before it and seven more following it.

  • Psalm 120, a prayer for deliverance from the wicked and a quest for peace.
  • Psalm 121, a declaration that the Lord watches over Israel and her people.
  • Psalm 122, a celebration of the city Jerusalem and a prayer for her peace.
  • Psalm 123, a psalm focused on God with a request for his mercy.
  • Psalm 124, credits the Lord with delivering Israel in past military campaigns.
  • Psalm 125, the Lord’s care of righteous people will be like his care of his city.
  • Psalm 126, recalls the Lord restoring Jerusalem after a time of affliction.
  • Psalm 127, MIDDLE; Expresses vanity of building a city or family w/o God.
  • Psalm 128, promise of prosperity for those who fear and obey the Lord.
  • Psalm 129, request for the Lord to destroy Israel’s oppressors.
  • Psalm 130, plea for mercy, forgiveness with confession to wait for restoration.
  • Psalm 131, affirmation of Israel’s total reliance on God; their hope is in God.
  • Psalm 132, recalls David bringing Ark to Jerusalem and Davidic Covenant.
  • Psalm 133, a declaration of the pleasantness of national unity.
  • Psalm 134, recognition of the Levites serving in the Temple in Jerusalem.

The second of the fifteen Psalms of Ascent is Psalm 121. This is a psalm that is easy to imagine a Jewish traveler singing on his way to the mountains of Jerusalem through the hill country surrounding Jerusalem.

The first two verses (Psalm 121:1-2) use the first-person, singular pronoun “I” and “My” as the singer proclaims:

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from?”

Then, as he looks towards the mountains of Jerusalem (Mt. Moriah, Mt. Olives, Mt. Zion) were the presence of the Lord is found in the Temple on Mount Moriah he answers his own question by singing:

“My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”

Verses 3-8 a priest or a fellow traveler answers the first pilgrim referring to him in the second-person, singular pronoun:

“He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.”

The Keeper of Israel would also keep the individual Israelite as he traveled through the hill country on his way to worship in Jerusalem.
Esoptron (Gr) - Mirror (Eng) – the Greek word esoptron means “mirror.” The first esoptron were bronze platters covered with a sheet of water. In NT time the esoptron was a round or elliptical polished disk of bronze or silver with a handle which was sometimes made of ivory. James uses the illustration of a man looking at himself in an esoptron to see his face as an example of a man looking into the Word of God to see the Truth concerning that same man. A man that walks away from an esoptron and forgets what he looks like is like the man who hears the Truth of the Word of God, but does nothing with it. (James 1:23) Paul refers to the esoptron in 1 Corinthians 13:12 and 2 Corinthians 3:18.
I will acknowledge the Maker of heaven and earth. He is my helper in time of need!

Bible Reading Descriptions Here


(morning only)

Complete Text

General Text




Time of refreshing

A Western Wall ashlar stone block built and set by Herod's workers 2,000 years ago. (Ashlar stone details)
Map showing the location of Jerusalem's gates with a highlight of the Lion's Gate in the east wall.
(More Lion's Gate details)

Someone to Quote

"It is impossible to enslave, mentally or socially, a bible-reading people. The principles of the bible are the groundwork of human freedom." 
- Horace Greeley

Something to Ponder

From David Kinnaman's book "You Lost Me"

Myth 5: Young people will come back to church like they always do.

Reality: Some faith leaders minimize the church dropout problem by assuming that young adults will come back to the church when they get older, especially when they have children. However, previous research conducted by the Barna Group raises doubts about this conclusion.

Furthermore, the social changes since 1960 make this generation much less likely to follow the conventional path to having children: They are getting married roughly six years later than did the Boomers; they are having their first child much later in life; and they are eight times more likely than were the youth of the 1960s to come from homes where their own biological parents were never married.

Kinnaman asked several questions in response to conventional wisdom:

  • "If this generation is having children later in life, are church leaders simply content to wait longer?
  • If Mosaics return, will they do so with extra burdens—emotional, financial, spiritual, and relational—from their years apart from Christian community?
  • What if Mosaics turn out to be a generation in which most do not return?

"Churches, organizations and families owe this generation more. They should be treated as the intelligent, capable individuals they are—a generation with a God-given destiny. Renewed commitment is required to rethink and realign disciple-making in this new context. Mosaic believers need better, deeper relationships with other adult Christians. They require a more holistic understanding of their vocation and calling in life—how their faith influences what they do with their lives, from Monday through Saturday. And they also need help discerning Jesus' leading in their life, including greater commitment to knowing and living the truth of Scripture."

Here’s a Fact

Assyrian king Esarhaddon of 2 Kings 19:37 and Ezra 4:2 and Isaiah 37:38 is also confirmed by these contemporary inscriptions:
  • Royal Brick Inscription
  • Esarhaddon Chronicle
  • Stone Prism of Esarhaddon
  • Stone Lion’s head with inscription
  • Wall relief of Esarhaddon
  • Letters of Esarhaddon


"The Righteous One takes note of the house of the wicked and brings the wicked to ruin."
- Proverbs 21:12

Coach’s Corner

We plan and prepare for tomorrow. We remember with satisfaction and learn from yesterday.
But, it is only right now, today, that we can live. 
Don’t miss today planning for tomorrow or recalling yesterday.

Jeremiah 8
New International Version (NIV)
“‘At that time, declares the Lord, the bones of the kings and officials of Judah, the bones of the priests and prophets, and the bones of the people of Jerusalem will be removed from their graves. They will be exposed to the sun and the moon and all the stars of the heavens, which they have loved and served and which they have followed and consulted and worshiped. They will not be gathered up or buried, but will be like dung lying on the ground. Wherever I banish them, all the survivors of this evil nation will prefer death to life, declares the Lord Almighty.’
Sin and Punishment
“Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says:
“‘When people fall down, do they not get up?     When someone turns away, do they not return?

Why then have these people turned away?     Why does Jerusalem always turn away? They cling to deceit;     they refuse to return.

I have listened attentively,     but they do not say what is right. None of them repent of their wickedness,     saying, “What have I done?” Each pursues their own course     like a horse charging into battle.

Even the stork in the sky     knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush     observe the time of their migration. But my people do not know     the requirements of the Lord.

“‘How can you say, “We are wise,     for we have the law of the Lord,” when actually the lying pen of the scribes     has handled it falsely?

The wise will be put to shame;     they will be dismayed and trapped. Since they have rejected the word of the Lord,     what kind of wisdom do they have?
Therefore I will give their wives to other men     and their fields to new owners. From the least to the greatest,     all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike,     all practice deceit.
They dress the wound of my people     as though it were not serious. “Peace, peace,” they say,     when there is no peace.
Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct?     No, they have no shame at all;     they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen;     they will be brought down when they are punished, says the Lord.
“‘I will take away their harvest, declares the Lord.     There will be no grapes on the vine. There will be no figs on the tree,     and their leaves will wither. What I have given them     will be taken from them.’”
Why are we sitting here?     Gather together! Let us flee to the fortified cities     and perish there! For the Lord our God has doomed us to perish     and given us poisoned water to drink,     because we have sinned against him.
We hoped for peace     but no good has come, for a time of healing     but there is only terror.
The snorting of the enemy’s horses     is heard from Dan; at the neighing of their stallions     the whole land trembles. They have come to devour     the land and everything in it,     the city and all who live there.
“See, I will send venomous snakes among you,     vipers that cannot be charmed,     and they will bite you,” declares the Lord.
You who are my Comforter in sorrow,     my heart is faint within me.
Listen to the cry of my people     from a land far away: “Is the Lord not in Zion?     Is her King no longer there?”
“Why have they aroused my anger with their images,
    with their worthless foreign idols?”
“The harvest is past,     the summer has ended,     and we are not saved.”
Since my people are crushed, I am crushed;     I mourn, and horror grips me.
Is there no balm in Gilead?     Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing     for the wound of my people?
2 Chronicles 9
New International Version (NIV)
The Queen of Sheba Visits Solomon
When the queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s fame, she came to Jerusalem to test him with hard questions. Arriving with a very great caravan—with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones—she came to Solomon and talked with him about all she had on her mind. Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for him to explain to her. When the queen of Sheba saw the wisdom of Solomon, as well as the palace he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, the cupbearers in their robes and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the Lord, she was overwhelmed.
She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. But I did not believe what they said until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half the greatness of your wisdom was told me; you have far exceeded the report I heard. How happy your people must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on his throne as king to rule for the Lord your God. Because of the love of your God for Israel and his desire to uphold them forever, he has made you king over them, to maintain justice and righteousness.”
Then she gave the king 120 talents of gold, large quantities of spices, and precious stones. There had never been such spices as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.
10 (The servants of Hiram and the servants of Solomon brought gold from Ophir; they also brought algumwood and precious stones. 11 The king used the algumwood to make steps for the temple of the Lord and for the royal palace, and to make harps and lyres for the musicians. Nothing like them had ever been seen in Judah.)
12 King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba all she desired and asked for; he gave her more than she had brought to him. Then she left and returned with her retinue to her own country.
Solomon’s Splendor
13 The weight of the gold that Solomon received yearly was 666 talents, 14 not including the revenues brought in by merchants and traders. Also all the kings of Arabia and the governors of the territories brought gold and silver to Solomon.
15 King Solomon made two hundred large shields of hammered gold; six hundred shekels of hammered gold went into each shield. 16 He also made three hundred small shields of hammered gold, with three hundred shekels of gold in each shield. The king put them in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon.
17 Then the king made a great throne covered with ivory and overlaid with pure gold. 18 The throne had six steps, and a footstool of gold was attached to it. On both sides of the seat were armrests, with a lion standing beside each of them. 19 Twelve lions stood on the six steps, one at either end of each step. Nothing like it had ever been made for any other kingdom. 20 All King Solomon’s goblets were gold, and all the household articles in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon were pure gold. Nothing was made of silver, because silver was considered of little value in Solomon’s day. 21 The king had a fleet of trading ships manned by Hiram’s servants. Once every three years it returned, carrying gold, silver and ivory, and apes and baboons.
22 King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. 23 All the kings of the earth sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart. 24 Year after year, everyone who came brought a gift—articles of silver and gold, and robes, weapons and spices, and horses and mules.
25 Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horses, which he kept in the chariot cities and also with him in Jerusalem. 26 He ruled over all the kings from the Euphrates River to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt. 27 The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar as plentiful as sycamore-fig trees in the foothills. 28 Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and from all other countries.
Solomon’s Death
29 As for the other events of Solomon’s reign, from beginning to end, are they not written in the records of Nathan the prophet, in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite and in the visions of Iddo the seer concerning Jeroboam son of Nebat? 30 Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years. 31 Then he rested with his ancestors and was buried in the city of David his father. And Rehoboam his son succeeded him as king.

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