Looking back over my life I have had many of my hopes dashed. It could have been hope that my favorite team would win a championship. It could also be the my hope for myself or another person that was unrealized. If my understanding of hope is limited to my experiences I would be robbing myself of one of the great blessings as a follower of Jesus. It is my guaranteed hope in God to fulfill his promises to me!
I was recently reminded by a quote from the Evangelical Commentary of the Bible from Psalm 121 that states, “The ground for confidence lies in the further development of the doctrine of God: the guardian of Israel is the guardian of every believer.” This insight relates to the word “keep” that is used in verses (126.96.36.199 and 8). The word refers to the Lord’s protection of His people. It is a reminder of His watch and protection in our lives. If you take the time to examine verses 3-8 you will see three reminders of God’s involvement in our lives that can strengthen us to face challenges.
First we are reminded that a right understanding of our relationship with the Lord results in confidence to live life! It is in verse 3-4 that we are reminded, ““He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.” (Psalm 121:3) We need to remember that the Psalms are the lyrics to songs. It is hear that we see the psalms use a human metaphor for our relationship with our Creator. The metaphor is that of tripping or falling. It is here that we are reminded that He is the one that protects us from the dangers of life. “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.” (Psalm 121:1–2). Our lives can be filled with many fears, but we can live in confidence because our Creator is looking out for us.
I remember many years ago my kids waking in the middle of the night afraid of the darkness or whatever they imagined was lurking. It was then that I would comfort them with the reminder the Jesus was with them and would protect them. It was amazing how well they slept after we prayed. I wonder if we as adults become too sophisticated to allow our relationship with God be our source of confidence.
I would encourage you to take some time and review how God is your source of comfort. The next two verses, 5-6 use the metaphor of God’s hand providing shade to those traveling in the arid climate to worship God. It is a reminder of the Lord’s awareness of our situation and protective care and guidance (note 1 Corinthians 10:13)
The third couplet of verses 7-8 speak to our ability to live out our faith with conviction. The term for “keep” here is slightly different than the previous uses. The early uses focused on the challenges that happen in the present. These verses speak of what may be around the corner. It is a reminder that we can trust the Lord for the future. It is only then, as the commentator quoted above states, that we can live out our faith with conviction because our dependence is upon the Lord to “keep” his promises!
This is why the worshippers in route to Jerusalem could face the dangers along the way! It was not because they had it all figured out. They could move forward with Confidence, Comfort and Conviction because “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:2)
-Pastor Joe Parkinson