God Our Keeper
Day: 48 | Plan: Even If
Today's Reading: Psalm 121
Psalm 121:8 (ESV) "The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore."
As the Israelites began the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, I'm sure safety was at the forefront of their minds. Traveling up through rocky, dry terrain, they easily could have slipped, fallen or even broken an ankle or limb. This would have made the trip next to impossible and could have put their lives in danger.
Imagine how the travelers felt when not only were they assured divine protection, but also they were reminded that God who watches over His own will " … neither slumber nor sleep" (Psalm 121:4b). This would have been even more meaningful since pagan religion followers of the day believed their gods did sleep; it was expected for them to have times of no help or protection. This is why the prophet Elijah mocked the prophets of Baal atop Mount Carmel. (1 Kings 18:26-28)
As bad as stumbling could be, the climate could pose worse problems. Extreme heat could lead to heatstroke, and the dangers of the desert at night were many. In the ancient Near East, it was believed that long exposure to the moon (lunar) was the cause of mental instability and seizures. The words lunatic and moonstruck have roots from this understanding.
Despite the real and present dangers, their Keeper would provide protection from the harmful influences of the sun and moon. (Psalm 121:5-6) Today we know the moon doesn't affect the mind, but as my co-worker Chris Grace says, "The battle for the heart begins in the mind." Like the ancient travelers, our Keeper promises perfect peace to those whose minds are stayed on Him. (Isaiah 26:3)
In case there were any other nagging worries, the people were assured that the Lord would keep them from "all evil" (Psalms 121:7a). This happens when the Lord causes that which could harm us to work together for our good. (Romans 8:28) David, the writer of many of the psalms, endured years of turmoil only to be refined into a man after God's own heart. (Acts 13:22) Jesus — often called the Son of David because He was a direct descendant of the psalmist — endured the shame of the cross for our sins and is now seated at the right hand of God our Father. (Hebrews 12:2)
We can allow worry, anxiety and f.e.a.r (false evidence appearing real) to rob us of peace. While we profess to trust in the Lord, anxious, sleepless nights may give the impression we serve a sleeping god who is unable to help or protect us. Like the travelers of long ago, we don't have to deny the realness of our circumstances. We may not be promised divine physical protection, but we've been given tools for divine spiritual protection. (Ephesians 6:10-18) In the meantime, we can take comfort knowing the Lord isn't indifferent to our pain. How comforting it is to know that He is more than able to keep us from stumbling. (Jude 1:24)
God's protection doesn't mean we won't have struggles in life. (John 16:33) Rather, we don't have to worry or fear. He is concerned about the minor and major issues in our lives, and His care will be with us forevermore. (Psalm 121:8)
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we live in a fallen world that is fraught with very real challenges. Physical. Emotional. Spiritual. Thank You that as the Maker of heaven and earth, nothing is beyond Your control. As we look to You, our very present help, grant us Your peace that surpasses all understanding. Restore the joy of our salvation and give us hearts of praise. For Your name and Your fame, Jesus, amen.
Scholars differ on the background of Psalm 121. Some call it the Soldier's Psalm and reference the... Read More
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