Scripture Reading Assignment – Psalms 121, 123-125, 128-130
The focus of today’s devotional commentary will be exclusively Psalm 121. Some refer to Psalm 121as the “Pilgrim’s Psalm”, believing it was sung by saints of God on their pilgrimage to Jerusalem to worship during the Feasts, and offer sacrifices to the LORD.
The journey to Jerusalem could be dangerous. When it rained in Jerusalem, deep ravines could suddenly be filled with rushing streams as the waters flowed to the Dead Sea. There was also the danger that thieves and robbers would be hiding in the mountain passages waiting for an opportunity to rob pilgrims going on their way to Jerusalem. The story of the pilgrim who fell among robbers in the parable of the Good Samaritan comes to mind (Luke 10:30-37)
I suggest four major points for Psalm 121.
Pledge: The psalmist vowed, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help [aid]” (121:1). I am not certain the dangers the psalmist faced; however, I know where he looked for help… “the hills” (121:1). He did not look to himself, live by his wits, or to others hoping they might come and save him. His confidence was in the LORD.
Promise: The psalmist was confident the LORD would come to his aid (121:2).
Psalm 121:2 – “My help [aid] cometh from the LORD [Yahweh; Jehovah; Eternal, Self-Existent God], which made [created; fashioned] heaven [sky; sun, stars, moon] and earth [land].”
The author was confident the Creator of heaven and earth was both Sovereign and Sustainer of His creation. He had faith the LORD would come to his aid in a time of trouble.
Protection (121:3-7). Like a citadel who stands guard, the psalmist twice affirms the Lord is the keeper, guard and watchman of His people. Unlike man whose physical being demands rest and sleep, the LORD never slumbers or sleeps (121:3-4).
Psalm 121:3-4 – “He [the LORD] will not suffer thy foot [walk] to be moved [waver; shake]: he that keepeth [guard; watch; preserve] thee will not slumber [sleep]. 4 Behold, He [the LORD] that keepeth [guard; watch; preserve] Israel [posterity of Jacob] shall neither slumber [sleep; i.e. be drowsy] nor sleep [slack; i.e. grow old].”
A sentinel may fall asleep at his post. A mother might fall asleep from exhaustion by her sick child. The LORD, however, never sleep or slumbers. Like a shepherd keeps his sheep from danger, the LORD keeps watch over His people (Israel) (121:5). He is the “shade,” a retreat, a place of refreshing where one’s strength is revived (121:5).
The LORD is the guardian of His people and protects them “from all evil” (121:7). That does not mean “bad things” do not happen to God’s people; however, it does mean God is able to turn “bad things” into good (Romans 8:28) for those who love Him, are called according to His purpose and place their trust in Him. David writes the same when he assures us:
Psalm 91:9-10 – “Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; 10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.”
Perpetual Shepherd – The LORD is a “for evermore” watchman (121:8).
Psalm 121:8 – “The LORD shall preserve [guard; watch] thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore [perpetually].”
Like a shepherd keeps watch over his sheep, the psalmist assures His people, “the LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in” (121:8a).
He keeps us when we rise in the morning until we lay our head on the pillow in the evening. The LORD keeps us when we are young and strong and when we grow old and frail. The LORD is with us in health and in sickness! When we travel afar and when our steps lead home, the LORD is with us. He is with us in our down sittings and our uprisings. The saints of the LORD are forever secure in Him.
Psalm 23:6 – “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”
Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith