Psalms of Ascent: 121

Last week, we began a new devotional series through the Psalms of Ascent. They consist of 15 songs (Psalms 120-134) that were sung by the people of Israel as they traveled to the city of Jerusalem three times a year during the Pilgrimage Festivals: Passover, Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles.
The songs have diverse themes and ideas. Some are celebrations, others are laments, and many are a little bit of both. But what ties them together is that they were sung by a community on their way to the City of God. In that sense, they are extremely relevant to our lives today. We are all on a pilgrimage towards the fulfillment of God’s Kingdom. The journey is long and difficult. So let us travel together, carrying with us, in our hearts, minds, and lips, the prayers and proclamations of those who have traveled this road before us.

Psalm 121: My Help Comes from the Lord, A Song of Ascents.
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.

Psalm 121 is a proclamation of confidence in the Lord’s help and protection. As the Israelites journeyed to Jerusalem, this was an appropriate song, as the path was often dangerous and difficult. In some ways, it is a prayer for safe travels. But it is also about more than just physical safety. It is about salvation.

Just as God will bring his people safely into Jerusalem, he will bring them safely into his presence. Our salvation is completely dependent on God, and he will not fall asleep on the job. Through Jesus Christ, we are kept safe from all evil. In Christ alone we find our eternal safety.

This does not mean that we will never experience suffering or pain. These are unavoidable parts of life. But in Jesus we are kept from the curse of sin and death as we find life and freedom in him. We can have confidence on our journey, as the Israelites did, that God will be with us and keep us safe.

I invite you to rejoice in this confidence. This doesn't mean we should live recklessly. Actions have consequences. But we should not let anxiety rule your lives. God is our protector and helper.