Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord,
who walks in his ways!
Psalms 120-134 are known as the Psalms of Ascent or the Pilgrim Psalms. A pilgrim is one who travels toward a specific destination; one who is on a journey toward a home he has not yet reached. So the Psalms of Ascent are for a people who are not home yet. Specifically, it is believed that these Psalms were written for God’s people following their exile in Babylon. The Psalms of Ascent would be recited or sung by the people as they returned to Jerusalem, as they “ascended” Mt. Zion to the Holy City.
In this way, and many others, the Psalms of Ascent are directly applicable for Christians who remain pilgrims in this life traveling from one world to the Next. Home for God’s people is not and never has been a piece of land in this world. The Bible tells us that even Abraham, once he finally entered the Land of Promise, continued to live in tents. Even after arriving in the Promised Land Abraham and his family did not cease living like pilgrims.
In addition to being a Psalm of Ascent, Psalm 128 is also what is known as a Wisdom Psalm. That is, it has the features of Old Testament Wisdom Literature. As such it is characterized by descriptions of generally revealed truth. And like Wisdom Literature the Psalmist employs the familiar virtue of fearing the Lord.
The blessings promised in Psalm 128 must be understood in their redemptive historical context. When the Psalm was written, the promises pertained to the people’s life in the land of promise. But those promises and that land were provisional. They were temporary signs pointing to an eternal fulfillment. The peace and abundance promised in the Psalm are meant to point us forward to the eternal abundance to be received by God’s people in the age to come. And like all of God’s promises, those pronounced in Psalm 128 find their “yes” in Jesus Christ.