Where do you go to find strength and encouragement as you travel on your journey through life. Who do you go to for help and guidance when you have questions, encounter dangers and feel afraid? Psalm 121 tells us that our help comes from the Lord. The psalm begins this way, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth,” (verses 1-2). That’s pretty reassuring to us right from the start! The help that we need in life comes from the one who made the heavens and the earth. That’s as powerful as you can get! And He made us, too, creating us in own image, (Genesis 2:27). That tells me that he has a special concern for us as we represent Him in this world and bear his image and imprint on our lives.
Verses 3-4 says, “He will not let your foot be moved. He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” That’s comforting to say, at the very least. He will never fall asleep on the job, get distracted, or even take a nap! The word “Keep” gives us some insight into how vigilantly the Lord takes care of us. That word is defined in my ESV Study Bible footnote as: ”to guard,” “to watch over,” and “to attend to carefully.” In other words, the Lord is meticulous in how he keeps us safe. He’s concerned about every detail. By the way, that word appears 6 times in this short psalm. I think the Lord is trying to make a point.
Verses 5 and 6 add to this by telling us that, “The Lord is your keeper. The Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon at night.” First of all note that the Lord God is the one watching over you. Don’t miss how very personal that is! He’s watching over you. He’s keeping you safe from dangers that might come your way day or night. When I read that word, “Keep,” it reminds me of Psalm 23, “The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want.” He is leading and guiding us, guarding and protecting us. He’s also providing for us. He provides for our nourishment, as well as providing comfort with his presence!
As the psalm closes, it reminds us that He will “keep us safe from all evil.” Evil is what we’re up against! That’s a mighty and powerful foe. But “He will keep your life.” That’s because he is more powerful. He is the all-powerful Creator God of the universe who watches over his own. “The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in, from this time forth and forevermore.” From start to finish and beyond He’s watching over us! That’s because “The Lord is our keeper.”
Jim Newman is pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Exeter. He may be reached by calling 559-592-2367 or by emailing [email protected]. Prays Together is a rotating faith-based commentary and advice column among the pastors, and guest laypeople, of area churches.
This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Sun-Gazette newspaper.