Psalm 121

Psalm 121
A song of ascents.

(1) I lift up my eyes to the mountains- where does my help come from?
(2) My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

(3) He will not let your foot slip- he who watches over you will not slumber;
(4) indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

(5) The LORD watches over you- the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
(6) the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.

(7) The LORD will keep you from all harm- he will watch over your life;
(8) the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

Father in heaven, may the words of this song speak to our hearts, and may we remember the truth today that you are bigger than anything in this world and you are always with us. Amen.

Psalm 121 is titled My Help Comes from the LORD, A Song of Ascents (ESV); A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem (NLT); The LORD the Keeper of Israel, A Song of Ascents (NASB); and The Lord Guards His People (ICB), among others.

Psalm 121 is the second of fifteen psalms with the heading: song of ascents, song of degrees, pilgrim songs, song of steps, or gradual songs. Some of these psalms are signed, this one is not. But Bible scholars believe that Jewish pilgrims would sing these songs as they ascended the hill into Jerusalem for the three annual festivals as required by God in the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 16:16-17). Some scholars also believe that ancient Jewish priests would sing these as they climbed the fifteen steps into the Temple. Not much else is known about Psalm 121 with any certainty.

As we will learn, Psalm 121 is a fitting song for weary travelers in ancient days as well as today.

wherever we are, at home or abroad, we are exposed to danger more than we are aware of; and this psalm directs and encourages us to repose ourselves and our confidence in God, and by faith to put ourselves under his protection and commit ourselves to his care, which we must do, with an entire resignation and satisfaction, in singing this psalm.

Matthew Henry, English minister, 1662-1714
I will lift up my eyes to the hills- from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1-2 NKJV

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.
Psalm 121:1-2 MSG

The singer looked at the hills ahead. Maybe Jerusalem is a long way off still. Maybe it is the hill of the city that he looks toward. But clearly, the psalmist knows that God, the Maker of heaven and earth and mountains and seas, is our help in time of trouble and worry. He sees the beauty and awesomeness ahead, but within that, he knows that God is greater. And he speaks with great certainty that God goes with him along the journey.

God is not just at the end, the final destination. The Lord travels along the road of this life with His children. Always.

The point is wonderful. The singer understood that the group didn’t need to arrive at Jerusalem before they came under God’s protective care. He would watch over them on the journey. God is just as present in the journey as in the destination.

Pastor David Guzik,

This promise was true in ancient times and is still true today.

He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
Psalm 121:3-4 NKJV

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.
Psalm 121:3-4 MSG

What an awesome promise! The traveler may sleep in peace, far from home, because the Lord never sleeps. The Lord doesn’t take a break from watching over His children; He doesn’t close His eyes while on watch.

The Lord will not allow His children to stumble. Certainly, to a weary traveler or pilgrim on the road to Jerusalem firm footing is a blessing. However, believers do stumble, our feet do slip sometimes. But to us- the modern reader of Psalm 121- God is still our firm foundation. He is our Rock upon which we can lean and trust and find refuge.

Happy are the pilgrims to whom this psalm is a safe conduct; they may journey all the way to the celestial city without fear.

Charles Spurgeon, English preacher, 1834-1892
The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
Psalm 121:5-6 NKJV

GOD's your Guardian, right at your side to protect you- shielding you from sunstroke, sheltering you from moonstroke.
Psalm 121:5-6 MSG

The psalmist repeats his point, that God is a Protector for the pilgrim. God doesn’t sleep or doze off; therefore, He is our protection from the hidden perils of night and our shade during the heat of the day. The author uses the metaphor of the sun and moon, realities for a traveler on foot in the ancient middle east.

None but the Maker of heaven and earth could shelter us from the sun and the moon. No one but the Creator of the thing could do that. No one is more powerful.

Day and night the loving Father watches over His children. What a beautiful thought and reminder.

The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.
Psalm 121:7-8 NKJV

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.
Psalm 121:7-8 MSG

The Lord protects His children from the elements, AND He shields them from evil. He guards our lives AND our souls! He watches over His children day and night, coming and going, beginning to end.

Also, these two verses call upon the LORD (all caps), using God’s covenant name- YHWH, Yahweh, or Jehovah. The LORD watches His children. God has mighty angels that do His work, but these verses make a solid statement that it is the LORD- Yahweh- who is present always for those He calls His own.

Day and night, coming and going, good times and bad, the great I AM, the Creator of the universe, the Alpha and Omega stands protectively over His children.

Moses said to God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?"

God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.'"

God also said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites, 'The LORD, the God of your fathers- the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob- has sent me to you.'

This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation.
Exodus 3:13-15 NIV

Praise the LORD.

Note: do you worry? do you wake up in the night and have trouble sleeping because of all the things that bounce around in your head? I would suggest memorizing some verses that will remind you of Who is with you always, even in the dead of night when everything seems so much worse. And this psalm is the perfect one! Memorize Psalm 121 and recite it to God during those sleepless nights and see what happens. xo

Father in heaven, thank you for this psalm and thank you for the reminder that you are always with us, guarding us, comforting us, watching over us. You are the Creator of the heavens and earth, yet you care enough to be with your children always. Give us strength to do all that you ask of us today. Amen.

He xoxo

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