The Psalms of the Degrees

This series of classes are a subset of our ongoing study of the book of Isaiah, focusing on the life of Hezekiah and the great principles illustrated in that set of 15 Psalms that commemorate the life of Hezekiah, beginning with Psalm 120 through to Psalm 134.

These Psalms are interestingly placed right after that monumental Psalm 119 - - the longest of the Psalms no doubt written by David – a Psalm where the Word or the testimony, the law, the precepts, the rules of Yahweh are in practically every verse. Everywhere you turn it is an expression of how the eternal Christ spirit, that spiritual disposition that would conquer the power of sin, is set forth in every facet of life, in every thought, in every action. It is after that monumental Psalm that we have the Psalms of the Degrees.

The Hebrew word ‘mahala’ used in Isaiah 38:8 and in 2Kings 20:9-11, refers to the shadow of the sun dial of Ahaz, the degrees of Ahaz’s sun dial that were turned back ten degrees as a sign from Yahweh to Hezekiah that he would recover from his sickness that was unto death, and that 15 years extension would be given unto him. So we have 15 songs of the degrees, the degrees of Ahaz’s sun dial, which represent a turning back of the shadow of that wicked idolatrous man Ahaz which was cast over Hezekiak’s whole life, how he bore the scars all the days of his life. There was a turning back of Hezekiah’s life to the light of dawn, a morning without clouds, as the tender grass springing up after rain, by the clear shining of the sun, very much associated with what David refers to as all his salvation and all his desire.

Hezekiah was a great type of the Lord Jesus, and these things speak to us of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is the key to understanding the Psalms of the Degrees.  Hezekiah’s life provided the foundation of Isaiah 53, which the eternal Christ spirit in the prophet speaks of the suffering of the Lord Jesus. Hezekiah’s sufferings provided a partial fulfilment of those things, pointing forward as a type to what would be achieved in the life of the Lord Jesus Christ, his death and his resurrection. 

These 15 Songs of the Degrees of Ahaz’s sun dial, lays the foundation of how Christ’s victory over the tyrant of sin in the flesh had to be destroyed for God’s righteousness to be declared.  In laying that foundation, as set forth in Hezekiah’s typical death and resurrection, we have the means by which all God’s servants who identify with what God achieved in the greater than Hezekiah, can then take hold of as the source of their strength and spiritual power in the time of trial and tribulation.

  1. Introduction to the study of the Psalms of the Degrees
  2. Psalm 120-121 Distress and Trust
  3. Psalm 122 Peace be within you
  4. Psalm 123 Have Mercy upon us Oh Yahweh
  5. Psalm 124 The snare is broken and we have escaped
  6. Psalm 125 Mount Zion which abides forever
  7. Psalm 126 Yahweh has done great things for us
  8. Psalm 127 Unless Yahweh builds the House
  9. Psalm 127 (continued) He shall subdue the enemy in the gate
  10. Psalm 128 Yahweh shall bless thee out of Zion
  11. Psalm 129 I gave my back to those who strike
  12. Psalm 129 (continued) Set at naught
  13. Psalm 129 (continued) All who hate Zion will be put to shame
  14. Psalm 130 Stricken for the transgression of my people
  15. Psalm 130 (continued) Let Israel hope in Yahweh
  16. Psalm 131 Receiving the kingdom of God like a child
  17. Psalm 131 (continued) Abba Father
  18. Psalm 132 David's great motivation - a dwelling place for the mighty one of Jacob
  19. Psalm 132 (continued) Yahweh has come from Sinai into His sanctuary
  20. Psalm 132 (continued) The Mighty One of Jacob
  21. Psalm 132 (continued) We heard of it at Ephratah - we found it in the fields of the wood
  22. Psalm 132 (continued) Yahweh has chosen Zion as His resting place forever
  23. Psalm 133 Introduction to Psalm 133
  24. Psalm 133 (continued) A great High Priest has come who stands in Aaron's place
  25. Psalm 133 (continued) The blessing of life forever more
  26. Psalm 134 Bless Yahweh all you servants, Yahweh Bless you from Zion