The LORD, My Eternal Helper – Psalm 121
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.
8 The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.
Situated in the Songs of Ascent, Psalm 121was one of the Scriptures that pilgrims would recite as they journeyed to Jerusalem to participate in the Jewish feasts. To arrive at Jerusalem, voyagers would often have to pass through dangerous mountain trails. Dangers lurked to the right and to the left as bandits, wild animals, and quickly changing weather threatened their safe passage through narrow and uneven paths. Thus, the mountains represented danger and difficulty. Protection would be needed to allow worshipers to get to their destination, the Temple, in order to present their offerings and sacrifices to the LORD. Who would be their helper?
As they ascended on their journey, the mountains would naturally cause the eyes of the pilgrim to rise above the peaks and look off to the distance to keep their eyes on the destination. As they looked to the heavens, they recognized that their only true help would come from the One who created the heavens and the earth. Reflecting on the challenges of the journey, the psalmist recognizes that not only is God the Creator of the mountains, but He is bigger, stronger, and greater than any obstacle or challenge that he would face. Mountains look formidable to us, but in comparison to God, they are just specks of sand.
So it is with the problems of our lives. The challenges, difficulties, heartbreaks, sadness, etc. that we face may seem big and insurmountable, but the God who created all things makes our problems seem small in comparison. Instead of saying, “God, I have a big problem,” how would our outlook and attitude change if we said, “Problem, I have a big God?”
As I look at Psalm 121, there are a few observations that can be made that should encourage and help us as we walk our own journey in service to God. Firstly, our God is:
Our Creator who helps us (vv. 1-2)
If God is big enough to create and take care of all things, He is big enough to help us deal with our problems. Will you look to Him to help you with your problems? Friends and family are good things, but they are not our ultimate source of help – God is. Conclusion: He is the God of creation.
Secondly, God is:
Our Guide who leads us (vv. 3-4)
The LORD is the One who directs our steps. We may think we are in control of our lives, but we are really not. We may think we plan our ways, but we really do not. Prov. 16:9 says: “The heart of a man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” Having God as our guide is a good thing because He alone knows the way we should take. The words from the Casting Crowns song, “Already There,” capture this idea well.
From where I'm standing, Lord it's so hard for me to see,
Where this is going, And where You're leading me. I wish I knew how, All my fears and all my questions
Are gonna play out, In a world I can't control. From where You're standing, Lord, You see a grand design,
That You imagined, When You breathed me into life. And all the chaos, Comes together in Your hands,
Like a masterpiece, Of Your picture perfect plan.
When I'm lost in the mystery, To You my future is a memory,
Cause You're already there, You're already there Standing at the end of my life, Waiting on the other side,
And You're already there, You're already there
Will you place your hand into His who is able to guide you to where you need to go? Conclusion: He is the God of history.
Thirdly, God is:
Our Keeper who protects us (5-6)
As the pilgrim went through the mountains, what were the dangers he would be exposed to? One of them would be the heat and the rays of the sun. The LORD promises to be the shade that will protect him from the sun. How wonderfully refreshing the shade is when you are in full sun. God is your refreshment when you are in the middle of the trials of life. Moreover, even if you are traveling by night, God promises to bring protection and guidance in the dark hours of our journey with Him. Will you look to Him to be the One who guides you day and night, and who protects you from spiritual danger? Conclusion: He is God of your individual life.
Fourthly, God is:
Our Deliverer who is eternal (7-8)
It is comforting to know that nothing can happen to us unless it first passes by the will of God. Nothing. He is in control of everything. And in the midst of trials, God is the one who holds your life in His hands. Walking according to His will means that evil cannot ultimately win. God will see to it that His purposes prevail in your life. That is because He is the One who protects us from evil so that we might walk securely in Him and make progress in our walk of faith. And this promise is not just for today – or tomorrow. It is for everyday and it is for all time. Your life is safe in God’s hands until the time that He calls you home. Conclusion: He is God of eternity.
God sent Jesus into this world so that we would know Him. Through Jesus, the world was created and He holds all things in the power of His Hand. Jesus is our guide because He is the way, the truth and the life. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who watches over His Sheep and guides them safely to pasture. And Jesus is the deliverer, who sets us free from sin and promises to be with us forever. God wants us to know that His provisions, power, and protection are given to us in and through Jesus. Let these four roles – Creator, Guide, Keeper, Deliverer – bring you comfort, peace, and joy this day. Will you look to Him to be your Eternal Helper?