It is wonderful to be back in the Psalms – it’s the book we can always return to and are guaranteed a spiritual lift, especially in times of trouble & trials, but it also gives voice to our praise of God in times of triumph and victory. Poems and songs are designed to do that, helping us connect with God in an intensely personal way, even as we sing or speak those words out as a congregation in the context of a specific circumstance and country of our own. That’s why this ancient ‘song of ascents’, used by pilgrims going up to Jerusalem to worship the living God, was as relevant to them as it is to us right now in 2021. For we are pilgrims, too, walking through life here on earth, looking forward to the ‘heavenly Jerusalem’ we have been promised we will be part of through Jesus Christ (Rev. 21)!
But until then we still have to live on Planet Earth, with all its challenges, conflicts and crises.
And that’s exactly when Psalm 121 is so extremely helpful as a confession of trust in the Lord: the one true God, the King of all creation, is the only One who can and will help. If you find yourself in a place of difficulty, overwhelmed by life, look up to the God of the mountains, the Sovereign Maker and Sustainer of the universe: be assured, your help will come from HIM! (v.1-2).
Verses 3-4 will give you assurance regarding the unsleeping Guardian over your life. He will not let you stumble, slip or fall – He never goes to sleep, but always keeps His eye on you to watch and protect (see also Ps 32:8 if you need more reassurance in this).
Verses 5-6 will give you assurance concerning God’s unfailing protection – the picture (metaphor) of the sun and moon stand for all that threatens or distresses in life, day or night, so whatever it is that you are facing, take shelter ‘under the shadow of his wings’, (Psalm 91; also Psalm 17:8). In fact, ‘shade’ or ’shadow’ is “a conventional Hebrew metaphor for protection against oppression – as shade protects from the oppressive heat of the hot desert sun.” (NIV Study Bible)
Lastly, verses 7-8 will give you assurance concerning ALL of life, harking back to Deuteronomy 28:6. As children of God, living in obedience to Him, we can confidently claim these promises for ourselves. Praise the Lord!
Declare this Psalm over your life. Feel free to look it up in different versions – e.g. The Message or the New Living Translation (they can also be accessed online if you don’t have a physical copy).