Yesterday, Joel and Guy continued leading us in our series through the Psalms of Ascent (Ps 120-134). Psalm 121 is one of the most famous Psalms, and it begins with a question. The Psalmist lifts his eyes to the hills, and realises that he needs help – there are various possible explanations for why. But the Psalm’s emphasis is clearly on the security that God gives to his people – in just 8 verses, there are 6 uses of the verb “to keep” and 5 of the verb “to watch”! God watches over us, and keeps us safe.
Alec Motyer draws out four wonderful pictures of God’s care for his people in this Psalm:
- The Lord the Creator v1-2
God created, maintains, controls and directs all things. And when we remember how magnificent and powerful God is, and that he cares for us, our problems seem so much smaller!
- The Lord the Redeemer v3-4
God protects us from human frailty – the careless footstep; from divine negligence – God does not slumber or sleep; and also from forgetfulness. “Israel” comes as a surprise in v4, but it’s a reminder that the Psalmist is cared for because he/she is a member of God’s covenant people, who he has redeemed.
- The Lord the Companion v5-6
The picture of a “shade” is like a parasol, like eating outside on a hot day and finding the shade of an umbrella or a tree. God puts himself between the heat of the desert sun and his people, so that he takes the head, and his people enjoy his protection.
- The Lord the Guarantor v7-8
God keeps us from all harm. He acts like a comprehensive insurance policy – making sure that it’s all ok. And he does it because he is fully committed to us. God – creator, redeemer and companion in Psalm 121 is God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who watches over us and keeps us safe.