Psalm 120 begins a group of psalms which are called the psalms of ascent. The psalms of ascent were recited (probably sung) by the Hebrew pilgrims as they made their pilgrimage to Jerusalem. A good Jew was required to make several pilgrimages to the temple for the high feasts, one of which was Passover. Usually the people would travel in caravan–with other groups of people.
Jerusalem is situated on a series of hills that are the highest point of the land. In order to get to Jerusalem, no matter which direction you come from, you have to go uphill. So, these psalms of ascent were sung by the people as they were making their pilgrimage to Jerusalem, while they were going UP to Jerusalem.
Does this psalm not begin with our human condition? “I called upon the Lord in my distress and he saved me.” What are we asking God to deliver us from?