Psalm 121 Family Devotional

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PSALM 121

 This Psalm has been referred to as the “Travelers Psalm” used to bless those going on a journey.

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?

My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

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.

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 by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.

LOOKING FOR SALVATION

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord…

 

Traveling to Jerusalem you’re going to travel through a few different valleys. From the desert or the hill country you will travel along the Jordan Valley or Shepherd’s Valley so you can stay near water. There will be hills around you and hills are the safe places. That’s why the Psalmist considers the hills for help, but then remembers, his help comes from the Lord.

THE HILL IS SALVATION

So when the Psalmist says, I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord. He is saying, when I look upon the thing that symbolizes blessing and safety yet I remember that the God who made that hill is my God, my true salvation.

THE GOOD IDOL

“The Hill” is not a bad thing. It’s a good thing. Yet the psalmist is telling us that he is not looking to the “good thing” for salvation because his salvation comes from the “ultimate” thing, God the creator.

  1. What are some “good things” we can sometimes value over God?
  2. How do you know if you’re valuing something over God?
  3. What should we do if we discover we are valuing something good over God?

To really know the presence of God in your life you must recognize that he is the ultimate “thing” you need.

And the psalmist here goes on to show how God is greater than any “hill.”

THE CREATOR (v. 2b)

…Lord, who made heaven and earth.

  1. What are some simple observations we can make to know God is the creator of Heaven (sky) and Earth (land)?
  2. When we have the opportunity to worship the creator why are we ever tempted to worship the creation?

 THE GOD WHO NEVER SLEEPS

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.

Your foot be moved

The foot is a symbol of authority.

  • Where you PLACE your foot is a symbol of possession.
  • Where you REST your foot (footstool) is a symbol of victory.
  • The DIRECTION of your foot is metaphor for the direction of the will.

It would not be a stretch to say, based on this Psalm, God will stabilize your: PLACE, REST and DIRECTION when He is your God!

  1. How can we be sure we following God with our feet?

“KEEPS ISRAEL”

Keeps Israel” is said to remind the worshiper that God is faithful because of his covenant relationship with Israel. Today we enjoy a new covenant with God through Jesus.

19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood” – Luke 22:19-20

  1. Based on this verse in Luke, why does God “keep” us?

KEEP YOU FROM EVIL

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 by night. 7The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.

  1. What is evil?
  2. What kind of evil does this psalmist have in mind?

A more Biblical way to think of evil is: A point of conclusion.

EVIL (Heb. ra’; Gk. kakos, ponēros, phaulos). Evil has a broader meaning than *sin. The Heb. word comes from a root meaning ‘to spoil’, ‘to break in pieces’: being broken and so made worthless. It is essentially what is unpleasant, disagreeable, offensive. The word binds together the evil deed and its consequences.[1]

In the Problem of Pain C.S. Lewis’ deals with Evil in the world around the time of Hitler’s rise to power he wrote:

“God’s whole saving activity is directed to deal with evil. In his life, Christ combated its manifestations of pain and sorrow (Mt. 8:16–17); but the cross is God’s final answer to the problem of evil. His love was supremely demonstrated there (Rom. 5:8; 8:32) in the identification of the Lord with the suffering world as the Sin-bearer. The moral change effected in men by the gospel is evidence of the reality of Christ’s triumph over all evil powers (Col. 2:15; 1 Jn. 3:8), and therefore of the final victory of God. Evil will be eliminated from the universe, and the creation will share redeemed man’s glorious destiny. Both physical and moral evil will be banished eternally (Rev. 21:1–8).[2]

Evil has been dealt with on the cross. We can trust the Psalm. Whatever temporary consequences befall us they will not consume us because God keeps us through the blood of Jesus.

It’s an important reminder as we look to the hills to find where our help comes, our help comes from the Lord and it is a total and final help that will not fail.

  1. How can we know for sure if are protected from evil forever? (the Gospel of Jesus)

 

Full Sermon on Psalm 121 available here. 

Notes:

[1] Howley, G. C. D. (1996). Evil. In D. R. W. Wood, I. H. Marshall, A. R. Millard, J. I. Packer & D. J. Wiseman (Eds.), New Bible dictionary (D. R. W. Wood, I. H. Marshall, A. R. Millard, J. I. Packer & D. J. Wiseman, Ed.) (3rd ed.) (348). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[2] Howley, G. C. D. (1996). Evil. In D. R. W. Wood, I. H. Marshall, A. R. Millard, J. I. Packer & D. J. Wiseman (Eds.), New Bible dictionary (D. R. W. Wood, I. H. Marshall, A. R. Millard, J. I. Packer & D. J. Wiseman, Ed.) (3rd ed.) (349). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

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