From the rise of the Covid-19 pandemic to the loss of millions of jobs to the reminder that systemic racism still exists within this country, 2020 has so far been a tumultuous year. The turning upside down of our world has revealed what is truly in our hearts: fear, divison, prejudice, selfishness, anger, as well as a myriad of other things. And I think it’s safe to assume, that if we are Christians, or at least, if we believe there is a higher power, we are asking the question “Where are you God?”
Where are you God while this pandemic runs rampant through our country, causing illness and death, and loss of jobs?
Where are you God in the midst of continuing systemic racism within our country?
Where are you in the lives lost due to police brutality?
Where are you God in the midst of the looting and rioting?
Where are you God in the midst of my struggles, my fears, my anger, and the injustices that I face?
I was encouraged through Psalm 121 this morning that God is right here. He does not slumber or sleep. He keeps us.
“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.”
This particular psalmist is on his way to worship in Jerusalem, and he can see the city at a distance, but still has aways to go. He asks the same question we are asking now, “Where does my help come from?” And he gives the answer in the next verse. The Lord! That’s where my help comes from! After all, He is Creator of all, both heaven and earth.
“What he is telling us is that his gaze did not stop when he looked upward to the hills but that he looked beyond them to God, who made the mountains.” (Boice)-quote taken from: https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/psalm-121/
Another helpful quote: “The City of God, and the Temple, are to be desired and delighted in; the mountains upon which they rest are to be remembered. But not from them does help come to distressed souls; it comes from Jehovah.” (Morgan)-quote taken from: https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/psalm-121/
He continues on to explain why the Lord is His helper. That the Lord will not allow his foot to be moved. That the Lord will establish him. Not only that, but the Lord does not sleep or slumber. He will carefully watch over those who are His with a loving and watchful, ever vigilant eye.
In verse five, we see that not only is God our helper (vs. 2), the one who establishes us (vs. 3), and the one who is ever watchful (vs. 4), but also that God is our keeper.
“This psalmist is so absorbed in the thought of his Keeper that he barely names his dangers. With happy assurance of protection, he says over and over again the one word which is his amulet against foes and fears. Six times in these few verses does the thought recur that Jehovah is the Keeper of Israel or of the single soul.” (Maclaren)-quote taken from: https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/psalm-121/
Within this context, the Lord would protect the traveler from the brutal rays of the middle eastern sun, and provide for them shade, comfort, relief on their journey. Also throughout the night, the Lord would protect them and watch over them.
Within the last two verses, the psalmist concludes his thoughts. The Lord is not only our helper, the one who establishes us, the one who watches over us, and protects from physical harm, but he also preserves us.
He does this is in three ways: 1) He keeps us from evil 2) He preserves our soul 3) He preserves in our daily dealings. While living in this fallen world, we will face evil, yet, if we are in Christ, that evil cannot undo what God has established. Secondly, God will preserve us til the end. Lastly, not only til the end will God will establish and hold us firmly, but in our daily lives, both in our going in and coming out, God will preserve us.
I love this quote by Charles Spurgeon: “Three times have we the phrase, ‘Jehovah shall keep,’ as if the sacred Trinity thus sealed the word to make it sure: ought not all our fears to be slain by such a threefold flight of arrows? What anxiety can survive this triple promise?” (quote taken from: https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/psalm-121/).
So, if we are to summarize Psalm 121 from what we have examined today, we can see that God is our helper and keeper. He not only establishes our feet, but he also watches over our steps. He not only watches over our steps, but He preserves us, both in our daily and spiritual lives. And He holds us to the end.
I know that right now, life is very, very difficult in so many ways, and even as I write these very words, it is hard for myself to believe them to be true. But my prayer for myself as well as for you would be this: Lord, help my unbelief. Help me to believe that you are my one and true helper. That you establish me, and keep me, both now and forever. There is nothing that can separate me from your love. Help me. Help me with all that is in me to believe this to be true.
I’m thankful that God is our helper. He is our keeper. That He is near even in this season of life. A season filled with uncertainties. A season filled with chaos, confusion, worry, fear, and anger. A season filled with righteous indignation towards the wrongs done towards our own brothers and sisters and families. Now, more than ever, Lord, may we lean on you as our helper and keeper, and believe that you are here with us right now, as you have always been.