Songs for the Journey of Faith (Psalm 121)

Read: Psalm 121

How’s the journey going? In my last post I introduced you to the Psalms of Ascent, found in Psalms 120-134. These fifteen “songs” were probably sung as small groups of Jewish worshipers traveled together with the ultimate aim of worshiping Yahweh in Jerusalem (cf. EX 23:14-19). 

In many ways you are like these pilgrims as you live out your faith every day in a world filled with spiritual antagonism and confusion.

I trust you have already read Psalm 121. If so, you were probably struck by the psalmist’s opening question in v. 1, “From where does my help come?” As a pilgrim he asked this question, knowing that there was potential danger around every curve on the road to Jerusalem. He knew that the terrain and the weather were not always conducive to traveling. So Jewish pilgrims often wondered, “Who is going to help me when danger threatens my world?”

Please notice that there is a clear and resounding answer given in verse 2: "My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” The psalmist goes on to use the future tense six times in the rest of the psalm to affirm that the LORD will be our protector. He seems to be conveying that:


So what is this God-focused life? It is a life that is honest about the dangers that threaten, but it redirects those dangers to intentionally focus on God’s protective attributes.
  • In verse 2 He is identified as the “maker of heaven and earth.” He is not only the Creator, but He is the One who has control over everything that happens in our world. 
  • He is the One who guides our steps to keep us from falling (vv. 3-4). In fact, He never takes a “time-out” to rest from a busy schedule.
  • He protects us from intense heat and severe cold (vv. 5-6).  
  • And no matter what evil lurks behind every turn, God protects us in all of our travels (vv. 7-8).

But wait! Someone will protest and say, “Where was God, the Protector, when I fell and broke my ankle? Where was this caring God, when we lost our home? Where was God when I lost my spouse to cancer?” 

These are all honest, legitimate questions that cannot be easily dismissed. However, we must remember that any suffering we face, God has suffered as well! He allowed His Son, Jesus the Messiah, to suffer rejection and physical abuse. And He suffered physically and emotionally so that the judgment we deserve fell on Jesus—not us.

Notice in verses 6 and 7 that we are reminded that the “Lord will keep your life" (v. 6). It doesn’t mean he will keep us from any disease or any tragedy. It means that He will keep our lives from start to finish, from here to eternity. That is why the psalmist says in verse 8, “The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.” God has an eternal perspective on things and wants us to have the same. In the larger scheme of things God will keep us forevermore!

Yes, life is dangerous. There is no doubt that every day offers its own threats to our well-being. But think like a pilgrim in pursuit of God -

Remember today and every day that “Your help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth!” 

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