Psalm 121 – God is the Help of Those Who Seek Him:
A Song of Ascents.
“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 (slip); He who keeps you will not slumber. 4 Behold, He who keeps Israel
shall neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The Lord is your keeper (protector); 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 (keep) you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. 8 The Lord shall preserve (keep) your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.”
- I remember when my wife and I were pastoring in a little country church in upstate New York in the late 90’s; Brewerton Assembly. Our kids were little and our daughter sang a solo in front of the church entitled I Lift My Eyes Up; it’s a worship song that was based on this psalm. She was all of 5 years old and I will never forget it as long as I live. Every time I read this psalm I think of that Sunday morning when our beautiful little princess sang that song for the church; and more importantly, for the Lord. She serves the Lord today as an adult, a parent, a wife, and still our beautiful daughter.
The psalmist proclaimed then, and still proclaims now that no matter what happens to us in this life, our help will always come from the Lord. The idea of looking ‘to the hills’ and not to the proverbial valleys or other dark places speaks to where our heads are supposed to be, lifted up; and our eyes focused on the Lord. The same God that will help us when we ask Him is the same God who created all that there is. The Lord is the Creator and Author of all life. He won’t allow our foot to slip (proverbial) and He never sleeps on the job (literally), or is asleep to our need. He is our keeper, our protector, and the ‘shade at our right hand.’ This last phrase has more to do with the Lord being our strength and our covering shade, even when we think that we have things under control; which, by the way, is only an illusion. God is the one who has everything under control; not us.
The ‘sun not striking us by day, nor the moon by night’ has more to do with God protecting us from the heat and exposure to elements both natural and supernatural. In this day and age me thinks it may have more to do with events occurring in the tribulation; but the protection from both sun and moon in this psalm also works for us today. The idea of being preserved or kept from all evil has more to do with the great separation that God has provided us when it comes to leading us away from evil things and influences. This is why the Holy Spirit alarms loudly in our spirit when we tend to stray toward things and people who are of an evil nature.
Remember, if sin and evil didn’t look good on the frontside, we wouldn’t even bother to drift there. The devil knows this and so does the Lord; which is why we must keep clear of the beautiful facades of evil and the consequences they bring. Evil’s goal is to claim our soul, yet we read here that God is preserving our soul. The Lord is keeping us from evil, and we must do likewise, with our freewill, emotions, flesh tendencies, and the like. If we’re going to live like Jesus, we need to love like Jesus, and hate the things that He hates; namely sin, evil, and the deadly temptations and consequences that they bring.
It’s tough enough wearing the plumbing that we do in these earth suits. Our bodies know what they want and they know what to do to get it; but by God’s grace and His strength He will lead us to a higher place where both sun and moon don’t strike. Be it sun bathing on a beach half naked or sprawled out under a moon lit night; if it’s not your spouse, you need to flee from said evil facades, no matter how good they look on the outside or make you feel on the inside. This is the stuff that romance novels and movies are made of, but alas, in the end fornication or adultery are still judged by the same God who promised to keep us from the very sin (evil) that would so easily ensnare us; even as we demonstrate our free will to obey God’s voice and His Word; or not.
The Lord shall preserve (keep) our going out and our coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore. This is a promise of God’s protection upon our lives in this life, that’s the ‘this time forth’ part of this psalm; the ‘even forevermore’ part comes in the next life, which is our eternal home. While it’s not a hard stretch to understand that God will protect us throughout eternity; sometimes we need to be reminded that He is also protecting us in the here and now, even when at times it feels or seems otherwise.
Truth be told, sometimes bad things happen to us in this life, sometimes good people, God’s people, suffer and die. While we don’t always have an answer for the ‘why,’ we do know that God’s promise to us in this psalm is as good as His Word. In the end, the Lord will make it right. It’s this stretch of space we call life that we need to get through that can be challenging at times. For some of us, we will live a longer life, for others, it’s a bit shorter; but for all of us who have placed our faith and trust in Jesus, our reward will be an eternity with the Lord in His kingdom which spans the same distance for everyone. Forever we will be with the Lord!
When I think of this psalm I think of last year, 2021, and the transitional recovery that we made. For many people, they never recovered, even to this day; but for my family, we not only recovered, but God showed Himself strong in our family and blessed us abundantly, in spite of all of the setbacks and such that were and are occurring. The year 2021 was a full year of us being in the Kansas City area, doing what God has called us to do here and living and growing in our faith in Him through the process. While this was a year of hard work, it also came with many accomplishments and advancements for our family. It’s as if the Lord was proclaiming to us that He is still at work in our lives and is giving us a little taste of the reward that awaits us on the other side of the veil. While I don’t have time to go into the details of the many ways that God had blessed us in 2021, I can say that He is as faithful as His Word says He is and this gift that He has given is a testimony of His faithfulness to us on this side of the veil. The psalmist proclaimed that he would have lost hope if he didn’t see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living; more specifically, God’s blessing in this life. While 2021 is in the history books, the effects and ramifications of the decisions that we made then are continuing to bless us into 2022; but that blog is for our next psalm – tune in tomorrow.
Encouragemen is a blog written by Pastor Rob Lee, recently relocated to Northern Missouri. He lives with his wife of 33-years, near their three adult children, their spouses, and children (their grandchildren). Pastor Rob is an Ordained Assemblies of God minister, a former Lead Pastor (25 years), police chaplain, and community advocate. He continues to serve, consult, and disciple men of God, including those who are in the ministry.