Prepare to listen. Light the 1st purple candle, praying, ‘Deliver me, O LORD, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue.’
Prayerfully Read Psalm 121 I lift up my eyes to the hills—from where will my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and for evermore.
Prayerfully Wonder Six times the psalmist claims, with great confidence, that God will keep God’s people. However, all of us can recall times when we didn’t feel kept by God. We’ve experienced adversity; our foot slipped and we fell, the sun caused sunstroke. Did the psalmist get it wrong? Peterson writes, “The promise of the psalm is not that we shall never stub our toes, but that no injury, no illness, no accident, no distress will have evil power over us, that is, will be able to separate us from God’s purpose for us” (A Long Obedience, 1980, p. 38). Bad things happen to God’s people, and Scripture never claims otherwise. The question is, where do we look for help in bad times?
The psalmist first looked to the hills where he’d have seen many idolatrous shrines. Today, instead of looking to the hills with their shrines, we may look to a self-help book, or a tele-evangelist or a felt religious experience. Sometimes we find help, but ultimately, like the idols of Israel’s day, it fails us. The psalmist challenges us to look beyond the hills, reject the help of modern-day gurus with their promises. Our eyes must be trained to see the LORD God, who never slumbers nor sleeps, who knows our going out and coming in, who has the power and the will to keep us. The life of faith, writes Peterson, “is a daily exploration of the constant and countless ways in which God’s grace and love are experienced” (1980, p. 41).
Prayerfully Reflect Where do you go when you need help?
Respond to Jesus Lord you are my keeper, day and night, in thick and thin. You never slumber nor sleep; never refuse to be there in my time of need. When I walk through my trials I will keep looking to you to see me through to the end, Amen.
Go live obediently in the world confident in the Lord as your keeper.