More Moments About Psalm 121

Karen McNary

Scholars differ on the background of Psalm 121. Some call it the Soldier's Psalm and reference the time when David was hiding from King Saul. The more common thought suggests it was a picture of the journey of exiled Jews back to Jerusalem, the center of worship for Israel. The temple in Jerusalem, the dwelling place of God on earth, was set on a hill. So when Jews in other parts of Israel needed help, they looked to the hills for their help.

The first two verses of Psalm 121 are written in first person, meaning from the author's perspective. Then the remaining verses switch to a second person narrative. For this reason, it's thought to be a call-and-response type of liturgical song that was sung on the pilgrimage.

During the major festivals, such as Passover, the Israelites would make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem to celebrate, worship, pray and offer sacrifices. As the journey was exciting yet dangerous, songs like Psalm 121 led by the priests kept the people focused on the Lord.

We have the same need today as life's journey is filled with seen and unseen dangers. As the Jews looked to the hills for their help, we look to Jesus, the same Maker of heaven and earth. (Genesis 1:1-24)

Major Moment: The psalmist looks to God as his protector and keeper.

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