Three times a year all the men of Israel were required by God to go up to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices at the feast day celebrations. Jerusalem was in the southern part of the country, as far as most of Israel was concerned; the highway to the south was along the Jordan river valley, ending at Jericho. As the feast day approached, the gathering of Israelites at Jericho became a great throng. When they began to make their way up out of the valley toward Jerusalem on the mountain above, they would sing together, and these Psalms of Ascent were their songs. Israel ascended the mountain toward God's throne, her songs rising up to heaven as the smoke of her offerings would do when she arrived.
Her songs follow the same ascending progression. She begins with a lament for the company she keeps, and a longing to go up to Jerusalem. We follow her in song from the valley outside Jerusalem all the way into the throne room of God, and we do not come alone; God's people surround us the whole way.
So it is with us.
Join with the people of God, bring your sacrifices of praise into His courts, and be thankful. We do not come only to a city on a hill, but to Jesus the Messiah, God's ultimate sacrifice, who is the ruler of the kings of the earth. He hears the worship of His church, and goes out into the world conquering. Would you like to see the world bow the knee to Jesus? Gather, then, and worship, in the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost.