Today's Scripture: Psalm 121 CEB
A pilgrimage song.
1 I raise my eyes toward the mountains.
Where will my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the maker of heaven and earth.
3 God won’t let your foot slip.
Your protector won’t fall asleep on the job.
4 No! Israel’s protector
never sleeps or rests!
5 The Lord is your protector;
the Lord is your shade right beside you.
6 The sun won’t strike you during the day;
neither will the moon at night.
7 The Lord will protect you from all evil;
God will protect your very life.
8 The Lord will protect you on your journeys—
whether going or coming—
from now until forever from now.
Psalm 121 belongs to a collection of psalms (120-134) that are pilgrimage songs, or psalms of ascent. These psalms are most commonly understood to be a collection of liturgical songs tied to the sojourner's pilgrimage to Jerusalem. They are meant as blessings for those on the journey.
The first two verses are from the voice of the traveler bringing forth a question and then answering it themselves. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord. These two verses form a chiasm:
A creation (mountains)
B where my help?
B’ my help is the Lord.
A creation (heaven and earth)
The Lord is the center of the chiasm, not nature/creation at which the traveler initially turns their gaze to. The Lord is the maker of creation, the first mover, the source, the keeper, and only protection.
The remainder of the psalm is a priestly blessing. Note the change in the voice. The word protect/protector is used 6 times here in the span of 6 verses. As the sojourner is on the path, there are many threats and dangers along the way--from where is their help? It turns out, their help is not a where, or an object of creation, but it is a who--God the great protector. Here, I am reminded of the priestly blessing which we receive in Numbers 6:
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.
The other thing that strikes me is the perpetuity, thoroughness, and permanence of this blessing. God never sleeps, but his protection is 24-7! This protection is not just from some evil, but all evil. In fact, your very life will be protected, whether coming or going. And finally, this blessing of protection is from now until forever! God is the best life insurance policy available. To have Him . . . now this is #blessed.
May you remember the truths in this psalm of ascents as you make this journey of faith through Lent. May the Lord bless you and keep you, amen.