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Singing Psalm 120 your soul makes its home

Where do you live?

To answer that question, did you think only about where your body lies down each night? It’s only natural.

If the body is the first or only thing you think of when asked “Where do you live?”, you, like me, need to know more about what you are in addition to being a natural body.

The part of you that is not your body is sometimes called your soul or your spirit. Does it ever occur to you that your soul makes its home somewhere? That your soul has an address?

You will want to know how to care well for the essence, the life of who you are. You want to learn where your soul makes its home.

Singing Psalm 120 you learn where your soul makes its home

Your soul makes its home in various places at various times.

“Too long my soul has made its home    With those who peace abhor.” ~ Psalm 120:6

Do you say with the psalmist, for too long my soul makes its home with those who hate peace, those whose minds are fixed most of the time on the lesser gods like acquiring more money or gaining power over others in an attempt to satisfy their own desires? The neighborhood you live in might be safe for your body, but if your soul makes its home in neighborhoods where shots of greed and worldly mindsets can be heard all through the day and night, that makes it unsafe for your soul.

Just to make it perfectly clear whether body or soul ought to be the ruling party, Jesus got physically hungry before being tempted.

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written,

“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,    but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” ~ Matthew 4:1-4

What the first Adam succumbed to, the second Adam succeeded in resisting. What he did to save you!

Food feeds the body, but the Word of God feeds the soul.

The Lord Jesus comforts you by making helpful distinctions when he says:

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? … 

“For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.~ Matthew 6:24-25, 32-34

Jesus offers you peace of mind and true rest where your soul makes its home in the midst of anxiety and confusion all around you.

“Alas for me that I’ve sojourned    So long in Meshech’s land,That I have made my dwelling where    The tents of Kedar stand!” ~ Psalm 120:5

When Paul declares in Ephesians 2 that “you were dead in trespasses and sins”, “you” refers to your spirit or your soul. If you were born again in Christ, your spirit that was dead now lives in your soul and body. Your soul is fed by the Word of God, and the body, of course, by food. Words that oppose God’s might sound good, but they leave the soul malnourished. They are junk food, poison for the soul.

You were made in God’s image. Since God is spirit, you can look forward to a spiritual body.

It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:44

The good seed of your natural body that will be planted will bear fruit when it is time.

Jesus who is both 100% God and 100% man, made your soul and body in his image. You await a renewed resurrection body after you die and after Jesus comes in the flesh to earth again to take you home. In between your death and when your perfected soul is reunited to your body perfected, your soul makes its home with the Lord.

Actually, your soul makes its home with the Lord starting now, but how?

Ideally, the body is to be empowered by the soul which is renewed by God. At times, the fallen natural body, even in Christ, seems to bypass the executive function ignoring both the soul and God, who accompany the body nevertheless (God is merciful), until you are away from the body when it dies. You might feed your body often, exercise it, and rest it. But your soul? This is what it is like when your soul makes its home in the world thinking and living the way those who don’t know God think and live. It’s as if it makes its home on the street, malnourished, depressed, and anxious. The life in you gets choked out when your soul makes its home without thinking of God or yourself and how you are to relate to God and others.

Who is God?

God is three persons, the Father, the Son (Jesus, the Word), and the Holy Spirit, that make up one God.

Who are you?

“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:23

In the Bible, your spirit, soul, and body are often described as two entities, spirit and flesh or soul and body, that make up one person. Jesus restores life to your spirit or soul.

“The soul is just the same spirit conformed to nature, but still in another agency; namely, in that in which it vitalizes the body and operates through it, and is often taken in Scripture for the life.”  (Delitzsch, p. 461)

When God breathed life into Adam, he had a perfect spirit united to God and worshiping him with all his heart, a soul comprised of his personality, thoughts, emotions, will, ability to reason and live. Adam also had a body directed by his soul to to communicate, to walk with God, to love God, with the ability to love his neighbor, and to work.

“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” ~ Matthew 16:26

“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” ~ Mark 8:36

“For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?” ~ Luke 9:25

Jesus equates his soul to himself. Your soul is yourself, your life. It’s easy to get jumbled up with words and miss the forest for the trees, miss the big picture and main point of life. It’s what else you are in addition to your body. Now getting things for your body to enjoy, Jesus equates to the whole world. He teaches you that somehow you can gain even the whole world yet lose your very life. If your soul accounts for your life, it stands to reason that you ought to give it even more attention than you give your body, not less.

“For what can a man give in return for his soul?” ~ Mark 8:37

One reason it is hard to get your mind around the many words that describe this other very important part of you, is that it is describing what comes from the mind of our matchless, infinite God. He chose a people for himself in eternity past. He is working that out in the present, and he asks that we work it out with fear and trembling at the same time. He has prepared work for you to do here now, and he is preparing an eternal home for you in the future that is better than you could ask or imagine. Suffice it to say that Jesus directs you to love God with all that you are so that your soul makes its home with him. He uses the words heart, soul, mind, and strength to describe all that you are. Food feeds your physical strength, your body. The Word of God feeds that other part which itself seems to have many sub-parts. It’s the Word of God that will parse through these words and give them relevant meaning for your moment-by-moment journey in life.

“To exhibit the psychological intimations presented by Scripture, and which are not limited to this present temporal state of things, but reach backwards and forwards into the everlasting spiritual world – this is our problem.” (Delitzsch, p. 459)

If you aren’t even aware of this other aspect of yourself, you aren’t likely to care for it. You inadvertently feed your body and starve your soul. You care for your body. How about your soul? Food and exercise channels are on all day every day. You probably eat more than one meal a week. What if you read and listen to God’s Word as often as you eat food and for as long as it takes you to eat a meal or snack, to nurture your soul?

Singing Psalm 120, you get an inside view of one person’s thought process about the part or parts of himself that cannot be physically seen, that is, by faith. This is the part that has the greatest potential for worshiping God, and directs the body to serve others. Romans chapter 12 describes this as your spiritual act of worship. You are one integrated person, made in God’s image, and so much more than the sum of your parts.

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” ~ Romans 12:1-2

There will be times when God places your body in difficult circumstances. Your body will want to get out of those situations. But if God has you there, then he has equipped your soul to help your body endure to accomplish God’s purposes in these trials.

There are other times when your body needs to flee from spiritual danger, temptations from the devil. A healthy soul is close to God and even has the mind of Christ to direct the body out of danger. An unhealthy soul ignores the Lord’s cues or is simply unaware of them, remains in danger, and suffers for it. If you flee from Satan, he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and God will draw near to you. Remember, though, that God himself initiated a relationship with you which is why your soul ultimately makes its home with him. It was his idea, not yours. Imagine that. The infinite creator of all things on land, sea, and sky, seen and unseen, thinks about and cares for finite you. It’s truly impossible to get your mind fully wrapped around that fact. But you get the pleasure of continuing to try as you delve deep into God’s Word where your soul makes its home to learn to read God’s heart and take his cues.

The implications for this understanding of yourself is far reaching. Not understanding it can be deadly. If all you are is a body, what motivates a body to share? If God gives you the opportunity to care for another body within your own, and you are only a body, you can go to a clinic who will lie to you. They will not mention the truth. You are to receive “care” for your body, they will tell you. What they won’t tell you is that you will be murdering since the alleged care for your body includes killing that other little body that gets no care at all. You only care for another body more than your body if you are more than a body. You squander the opportunity God gave you to care, to share life with another human being all because you don’t understand that you are more than your body. Your soul makes its home in the corner of the closet. You will grieve when it comes out into your consciousness to convict you of your selfishness. And when you are left a broken body and soul, the clinic will not care. But Jesus cares. The gospel of Jesus is the answer that can help you to avoid this dilemma to begin with and to forgive you, heal your soul from its aftermath, and bring you to himself for your soul to make its home with him – the best friend and soulmate you have always longed for deep down but didn’t know it.

“The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord,    searching all his innermost parts.” ~ Proverbs 20:27

Because of sin, your spirit is tainted. You need Jesus, God the Son, the Word of God made flesh, the good shepherd of his straying sheep to enable you to have close fellowship with the triune God. Your soul is informed by God’s Word to be who you are, holy, because of Jesus, and cut to the heart about what he did for you when you were his enemy. Your body serves and lives to show a watching world the new creation that you are, but as it is only a seed, it also longs to be continually nurtured by being clothed with Christ until it is raised into a spiritual, perfected body.

You might be living in a place where your body feels the effects of the spiritual war. Every word you speak is misconstrued and turned against you. Your motives are impugned. You are unfavorably compared with others. Words are put in your mouth. Misunderstandings are the status quo. There is a disconnection. There is no planning or preparation to connect. And what is continual disconnection but continual war alternating between arguments and silence? 

If this is where your body lives, your soul needs to be amply supplied with the full armor of God and on the offensive with the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God ready to slash every lie that comes at you like fiery arrows.

“From lying lips and crafty tongue,    O LORD, my soul set free.” ~ Psalm 120:2

Singing Psalm 120 your soul makes its home while engaged in the fight

After asking the Lord to set you free from deceptive words, after crying in trouble to him, your faith sets you free to go on the offensive to destroy every thought fueled by false words. You have mercy for the liar but no mercy for the lies whatsoever.

Threats came from a messenger of the proud king of Assyria, Sennacherib, to place King Hezekiah and God’s people under his subjection. King Sennacherib was quite powerful and had no need to attempt to subjugate them, to attempt to turn God’s people from trusting the Lord.

“Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? In whom do you now trust, that you have rebelled against me? And do not listen to Hezekiah when he misleads you by saying, ‘The Lord will deliver us.’ Has any of the gods of the nations ever delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria?” ~ 2 Kings 18:20, 32-33

Nevertheless, Hezekiah prayed for deliverance for God’s glory:

“So now, O LORD our God, save us, please, from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O LORD, are God alone.” ~ 2 Kings 19:19

The Lord did as he said he would through Isaiah. Praise be to God who hears his people’s oppression and fights for them to save them by defeating his and their enemies!

“For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.”

“And that night the angel of the LORD went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies.” ~ 2 Kings 19:34-35

“What shall be given you, false tongue,    What can be added to your doom?Sharp arrows from a warrior’s bow,    And red-hot coals of broom!” ~ Psalm 120:3-4

God’s anger is stronger and more fierce than man’s but is always true, righteous, used for good, and brings about righteousness in God’s people. It is motivated by deep caring. Your soul makes its home focused on God’s mercy if you follow it all the way through. He is not daunted by large, intelligent forces who oppose his goodness. Man’s anger is focused on self and does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. God wisdom makes the wisdom of man into foolishness.

“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” ~ Ephesians 6:13

Your soul grows weary from the spiritual fight. 

You come to Jesus who comes to the rescue.

Though your body might have made its home in the war, your soul makes its home in rest and peace as you come to the one who is gentle and lowly in heart, who has exchanged your sins for his righteousness. He has set you free to learn from him, and follow him. Your soul directs your body to be at ease. Although your body is standing in a verbal war zone, it is relaxed because your soul makes its home in the God of peace. It has the majority rule over you. Both your soul and your body thank the Lord for the full armor of God that makes it so, for the words of truth that extinguish lies. Relinquishing the word war, your soul makes its home with words of peace.

“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ~ John 8:31-32

For years, perhaps your body has been tense in the midst of verbal skirmishes. You alternated between anxiety and depression. You can sing with the psalmist, “Too long my soul has made its home with those who peace abhor.” ~ Psalm 120:6

Perhaps your soul makes its home with one or more who settle for constant discord. They don’t plan or make provisions for avoiding gossip, slander, or unwholesome speech. They listen to those who do nothing but argue and seem to relish in this kind of talk themselves.

“I stand for peace, but when I speak,    They prepare for war.” ~ Psalm 120:7

Dear friend, you do have a choice where your soul makes its home even when your body is in such an environment.

You make it your aim to deal with these attacks by the power of the Holy Spirit with Jesus carrying you through it the whole way. He will keep you engaged in the fight and to help you to know his Word and to talk truth to your soul that will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. Your thoughts are protected as your soul makes its home with him.

Singing Psalm 120 your soul makes its home thoughtfully

“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.“Eat and drink!” he says to you,But his heart is not with you.” ~ Proverbs 23:7

You flee from this scene reminiscent of the serpent in the garden. You eagerly wait as your soul makes its home intentionally in the age to come.

Both body and soul are important, and God calls you to glorify him with your body, but the soul makes its home for the body, not the body for the soul. You think in words that either nourish, if they are in line with God’s Word or poison your soul, if they oppose God’s Word.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, “ ~ 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

““Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” ~ Matthew 7:21

“For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” ~ 1 John 2:16-17

“No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.” ~ 2 Timothy 2:4

“Rejoice always; pray continuously; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

“God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” ~ 1 Corinthians 1:28-29

“Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.” ~ Hebrews 13:13-14

You have your ultimate home in mind at all times as your soul makes its home with the triune God.

You have a destination. Your soul makes its home somewhere. You have an internal sense of direction even if your body can’t find its way around the block. You are going home. And something inside you knows it’s not here.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” ~ Ecclesiastes 3:11

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” ~ C.S. Lewis

What kind of home is your soul making? Your soul intentionally makes its home not where your body is necessarily, but where your thoughts dwell.

The way to peace is to be fully present with and to love the God of peace with all that you are at all times. It is he who directs your soul to make its home with him trusting him from eternity past, now, and into eternity future.

“My people will abide in a peaceful habitation,    in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.” ~ Isaiah 32:8

“For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.” ~ Isaiah 57:15

“Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” ~ John 14:23

Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” ~ John 17:24-26

“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” ~ Colossians 3:2

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” ~ Matthew 6:21

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,

‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long;    we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~ Romans 8:31-39

Your soul makes its home not in love likened to a few drops of water that wouldn’t even amount to a puddle as when you honor God only with your lips, but in love as an ocean that has no boundaries or bottom as when you honor him with your heart as well as with your words.

You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:

“‘This people honors me with their lips,    but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me,    teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” ~ Matthew 15:7-9

Many people spend their lives thinking about and searching high and low for their soulmate. Indeed, your soul makes its home with its friend, with its soulmate.

Who is your soulmate?

Your true soulmate and best friend is the Lord and anyone who hears the Word of God and keeps it. It is with Jesus and his church that your soul thoughtfully makes its home.

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” ~ Romans 14:17

“I cried in trouble to the LORD,    And He answered me.” ~ Psalm 120:1

Delitzsch, Franz, A system of Biblical psychology, 1861

September 2-8, 2023


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