The Promise of God: The LORD keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.
At first glance, Psalm 121 offers tremendous assurance. The Lord will keep us from all harm! Wow! That sounds impossibly wonderful. If I only live my life in relationship with God, then I will be kept from all harm. I won’t suffer hardship or pain. My life will be filled only with good things. O’ What Blessed Assurance!
But wait! The question must be asked when our health is subject to something we cannot see, but yet, threatens each and every one of us with greatest harm, Is this song of assurance really true? I have had my share of difficulties in life, and I know people whose suffering far exceeds my own. I think of Christians in far-away places of the world where they regularly experience persecution, even including martyrdom. Is God keeping them from all harm? It doesn’t seem so.
Other passages in the Psalms bear witness to the reality that God’s people can suffer harm. In Psalm 6, for example, we read, “I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears” (Psalm 6:6). The psalm writer laments because he has been the victim of those who “do evil” (Psalm 6:7).
Similarly, in Psalm 71:20 we read, “Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life.” The Hebrew word translated here as “bitter” is the same word found in Psalm 121:7, where the word is translated as “harm.” So, in one psalm the Lord keeps us from all harm. In another psalms, the psalmist experiences harm and attributes this to the Lord himself. What are we to make of this apparent inconsistency? What is the truth are we to pray for?
Psalm 121 Complete Jewish Bible
121 (0) A song of ascents:
(1) If I raise my eyes to the hills,
from where will my help come?
2 My help comes from Adonai,
the maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip —
your guardian is not asleep.
4 No, the guardian of Isra’el
never slumbers or sleeps.
5 Adonai is your guardian; at your right hand
Adonai provides you with shade —
6 the sun can’t strike you during the day
or even the moon at night.
7 Adonai will guard you against all harm;
he will guard your life.
8 Adonai will guard your coming and going
from now on and forever.
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
We all need help at times in life.
The Beatles used to sing: “I get by with a little help from my friends.”
It’s good for mankind to have a reliable and trustworthy support system in place, but we need to look further than that. Because history and experience mightily teach us that no safety plan, no insurance policy, no security system can keep you absolutely safe in this life. You can follow all the safety rules, take every precaution, exercise and eat well, and things can still definitely go wrong.
And that’s why we need to lift up our eyes unto the heavens beyond the hills and the vast majestic grandeur and ranges of mountains, to look only to God for our help. It was Ben Franklin who said, “God helps those who help themselves,” but the Scriptures clearly and succinctly teach us that God helps those who seek his help (Psalm 13, Psalm 23). None of us are safe until we take refuge in God.
Psalm 121 is a psalm about trusting in God’s providential care. It is a travel Psalm. In fact, many families read this Psalm out loud together before going on a trip. Devout Jews recite portions of this Psalm when they leave or enter their homes. They attach a small cylinder called a Mezuzah with some Scriptures in it (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 11:13-21) to their right door frame.
And whenever they leave or enter their home, they touch the Mezuzah and recite Psalm 121 verses 5 and 8.
Do you find yourself in need help, be it a little or a whole lot this day? Then this psalm is for you. This is a good one to memorize and have handy for the journey of life. Psalm 121 teaches us five big truths about God’s help and care for you.
Let’s look at all five of these as we learn to put more and more of our trust in God’s providence and care for our lives each moment of everyday God gives.
Choosing today, to set my eyes on God. For if He made all of heaven and earth, surely and most certainly, He has a Sovereign, incredible plan, for you and for me. He 1000% knows our way in this journey of life, and He’s a “with us” God.
5 Truths from Psalm 121 that Give Us Hope for Today:
- “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” v. 2 He’s All-powerful. God is a mountain mover and Creator of heaven and earth. He’s with us, always. He breathes His help and strength into our souls, into our day.
- “He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber.” v. 3 He won’t allow us to fall. We may find ourselves on slippery slopes, or the path we’re walking seems to be full of potholes and obstacles. But the God who knows all, knows our way. And even when we stumble, as our eyes are fixed on Him, He will keep our footsteps firm. For He watches over us and never sleeps or slumbers. He watches over us 24 hours a day, every day so we can all sleep.
- “The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand.” v. 5 He keeps us, safe, in His care. He protects us like the shade protects from the heat of the day. Why the “right hand?” Because it is known as the hand that works, so we can be assured that whatever He’s given us to do in this life, His covering of protection rests over all of our work and efforts.
- “The Lord will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul.” v. 7 He protects us from “all evil,” not some, but “all.” It does not have the final say over our lives. Fear of death, disease, and hardship has lost its sting, for our lives are hidden with Christ in God. No matter who or what we’re rubbing shoulders with each day, God’s power is greater than whatever darkness we might face. For He is the soul-keeper, and He holds all of our tomorrows.
- “The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever.” v. 8 He watches over us, constantly, His eyes are towards us. He cannot look away from those He loves. He watches our coming and our going, and all in between. He watches over our family and children, even when we cannot see. We do not have to worry, for He strongly supports those whose hearts are His.
- “For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” 2 Chronicles 16:9
He is our Everlasting Hope for an Everlasting Future!
- Do you find it challenging to believe that God will provide the help and protection He promises? Why or why not?
- What are some lesser things you rely on for protection or provision in difficult times?
- What is one step God is calling you to take that you can’t do without His help?
- What is the one step you can take without any reservation to trust God more?
- What is the one step you WILL take without any reservation to trust God more?
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us pray,
Psalm 121 The Message
121 1-2 I look up to the mountains;
does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from God,
who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.
3-4 He won’t let you stumble,
your Guardian God won’t fall asleep.
Not on your life! Israel’s
Guardian will never doze or sleep.
5-6 God’s your Guardian,
right at your side to protect you—
Shielding you from sunstroke,
sheltering you from moonstroke.
7-8 God guards you from every evil,
he guards your very life.
He guards you when you leave and when you return,
he guards you now, he guards you always.
Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.