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SHOW NOTES: The Songs of Ascent prepared the hearts of Jewish pilgrims as they were walking toward Jerusalem for one of the three main feasts. These different scripture passages served as truthful reminders of the Lord and His many attributes. When we read and reflect on these Psalms, our hearts and minds swell with praise and gratitude for the almighty, powerful God of heaven and earth. Psalm 121 is a comfort in the midst of troubles and difficult times. He is our Helper, Keeper, and Protector. What an encouraging Psalm to study this week in our time together! Tonights' Scripture: Psalm 121
Walk with God TRANSCRIPT: Journey through Psalms
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Psalm 121 – The Lord the Keeper of Israel. A Song of Ascents. This Pilgrim Hymn affirms that all true help comes from the Lord who is the Keeper of Israel. (Dr. Charles Ryrie)
All Powerful Creator – Psalm 121:1-2
1 I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.
We, as readers, need to ask questions about the Biblical text. The first question we ask is …
What is the setting? Jewish families are traveling together on their way to Jerusalem for one of the three main feasts. If they are coming from the Galilee region, walking south along the Jordan River Valley, they could look to the east and see the mountains of Jordan rising up. Then, looking west they would see the mountains of Samaria and the Judean Wilderness as they got closer to Jericho (864 ft. below Sea Level). From the lowest point on the earth, these travelers would go “Up to Jerusalem” at 2,400 ft. This is a difference in elevation of more than 3,200 ft. – climbing up … It makes sense this Psalm would be spoken aloud as they walked to Jerusalem – “I lift my eyes to the mountains.”
When I read Psalm 121, I am reminded of this verse from one of Jesus’ parables …
The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30) “A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho and he fell among robbers and they stripped him and beat him, and went off leaving him half dead.” This parable is about a traveler on the Jericho road, though only about 15 miles as the crow flies, the road winds through the rocky Judean Wilderness.
When we need help, we cry out to the Lord – The All Powerful Creator
The LORD is our Keeper – Psalm 121:3-5
3 He will not allow your foot to slip; 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.
Have you ever slipped on loose gravel as you were walking along a rocky path? There are stones everywhere in Israel and it is very easy to slip.
REPETITION of the Biblical Text
1. Stresses the importance of this Truth!
2. Firmly reminds the readers!
• v. 3 – He who keeps you
• v. 4 – Behold, He who keeps Israel
• v. 5 – The Lord is your keeper
Then, He will not slumber – to sleep lightly (v. 3)
He will neither slumber nor sleep (v. 4)
• Sleep is the natural rest or repose intended by the Creator to restore the powers of the body and mind, when exhausted or fatigued.
• BUT, the LORD never gets exhausted or fatigued.
v. 5 – The LORD is your shade … He provides Protection and Shelter
The LORD is our Keeper! The LORD does not sleep! The LORD is our Protector!
We are reminded in this Psalm that the Lord is our Helper and He is our Keeper.
Everlasting Guard – Psalm 121:6-8
6 The sun will not smite you by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul.
8 The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever.
These concluding verses should bring comfort to any believer walking through uncertainty and challenges. Remembering that God is both a Keeper and a Shade. From all adversaries of the day and night ...
Merism … This is a literary term.
1. The sun … the moon
2. Your going out … your going in
These include the two contrasting parts and everything in between.
1. Throughout all hours of the day and into the wee hours of the night
2. Wherever you may go – away from home, to work and school, errands, … and then as you return home
The LORD will protect you. He will guard you. From now and forever!
Head to Heart – How will I apply the Truths from this Psalm to my heart and life?
How can this passage change my actions, words, attitudes?
1. Where do I look in times of trouble? Do I look to the All Powerful, Mighty Creator? Yes, my help comes from the LORD! These are good verses to meditate on and to memorize. “Thy Word have I hid in my heart.”
2. The LORD does not need a nap and He does not fall asleep. It’s comforting to know that the LORD is always alert. He watches over and keeps me safe. Do I embrace this truth or is my mind filled with anxious thoughts and worry? How can I apply these truths about the LORD and release my worry? When I lay down to sleep, I can rest knowing that the LORD is taking care of every detail that pertains to me.
3. The LORD is sovereign and all powerful. He is my protector and helper. Looking at my daily schedule, where do I need to confess my lack of trust in the LORD and acknowledge that I am not completely believing He is able to care for me?
Email us at – Walk.with.God.WBK@gmail.com - with your comments and questions. We would love to hear from you. On September 1, the podcast will feature answers to your questions and Bible study information.
This is one of my favorite Psalms when we are traveling in Israel. I like to read and reflect on these verses on the day we drive south from the Sea of Galilee, along the Jordan River Valley, to the city of Jericho. Ancient travelers would have talked together and reminded each other how the Lord had cared and provided for them over the past months and year. They were preparing their hearts and minds for an important time of worship at the festival.
Until our next time together, may you continue to trust the All Powerful Creator in your daily … Walk with God.