Monday January 29
The LORD is My Keeper
Psalm 121:1-8 A Song of Ascents
1 I will lift up my eyes to the hills-- From whence comes my help?
2 My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD is your keeper; The LORD is your shade at your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul.
8 The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in From this time forth, and even forevermore..
We need to remember that Psalms 120-134 are the “Pilgrim Psalms”. They have the title: "A Song of Ascents." These psalms were compiled together to be used by the Jewish pilgrims as they journeyed from their hometowns up to Jerusalem as least three times a year to worship. The pilgrims would sing or recite these songs to remind themselves of what the LORD had done for them over the centuries and that He was still their “keeper” and would protect them even on their present journey. These are psalms that we, as believers, need to keep near to our hearts and minds as we also remember that our citizenship is in heaven as we are traveling through enemy territory on the road of life during our brief time on earth!
The theme of Psalm 121 is God's protection over His people. The word "keeps" (watches over) is used three times and the word “preserved” is also used three times. Safety is something about which the pilgrims would be especially concerned as they journeyed on the roads through the hill country. A pilgrim could stumble and hurt himself, or someone might suffer sunstroke, or a chilly night of camping out might give somebody a bad cold. There was always the possibility of robbers swooping down. But the message of the psalm applies to God's pilgrims today and gives us the assurances we need as we journey in this life.
In verses 1-2, we are reminded that our “Father's Creation Is before us". The opening line possibly could be used to ask the question, “Will I look up to the hills to find my help?” The apostate Jews, like the pagans around them worshiped other gods at the shrines in the "high places" in the hills (2 Kings 16:4; Jer. 3:23; 13:27; 17:2; Hos. 4:11-13). But this psalmist basically answered his own question with: “No, I’m going to look beyond the hills to the God who made the hills and also the heaven and the earth!” If Jehovah created the heavens and the earth, then He is a God of power, wisdom, and glory, and we have nothing to fear. Satan and his demonic army may be at work opposing the saints, but this is still our Father's world.
When the travelers caught sight of Jerusalem, situated on the mountains (87:1; 125:1-2; 133:3), they knew that God dwelt there in His sanctuary and provided the help they needed (3:4; 20:2; 46:1; 124:8; 134:3; 1 Kings 8:29-53). Everything in the heavens and on the earth, bears witness to the great Creator who is also our heavenly Father, so why should we fear?
In verses 3-4, we need to remember that our "Father's eyes are upon us". The word translated "moved" means "to slip and slide, to stagger, to be shaken." How easy it would be to sprain an ankle or even fall and break a bone while walking on uneven rocky paths. The Lord is concerned about our feet and our walk. "Keep" or “preserve” means "to guard and protect". Even while we sleep, God watches over us because He does not go to sleep.
In verse 5-6, we assured ourselves that our Father is not only on the throne looking down on us, but He is at our side to shield us from all harm. This does not mean that obedient believers never find themselves in difficulty or danger, or that they will never feel physical and emotional pain. The things that God permits to happen to us in His will may hurt us, but they will not harm us. Whether by day or by night, in heat or cold, whatever the changes might be, the Father's presence provides all that we need. We need not be afraid of sudden attacks that can come in the day or the night, for "the shadow of the Almighty" covers us (Ps. 91).
Finally in verses 7-8, we can take comfort, and need not fear life or death, today or tomorrow, time or eternity, for we are in the loving care of the Father. "All evil" means anything that could harm us, but in His grace, He turns into good the things we think are evil (Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28). He “preserves us forever”!
Today, look up to your Creator God and remember, “The LORD is my keeper”!