2478.) Psalm 121

P121 hills

Psalm 121   (ESV)

My Help Comes from the Lord

This is the second of the series of Psalms titled, A Song of Ascents. As a song sung by travelers, this is particular relevant for its trust in God through the journey.

“David Livingstone, the famous missionary and explorer of the continent of Africa, read Psalm 121 and Psalm 135, which praises God for his sovereign rule over all things, as he worshiped with his father and sister before setting out for Africa in 1840. His mother-in-law, Mrs. Moffat, wrote him at Linyardi that Psalm 121 was always in her mind as she thought about and prayed for him.”

–James Montgomery Boice

I have read that it is traditional for some Jews to place a copy of Psalm 121 in the labor and delivery room to promote an easy labor by asking God for mercy. As well, it is placed on the baby’s carriage and in the baby’s room to protect the child and surround the child in learning about all that is holy.

A Song of Ascents.

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.

The point is wonderful. The singer understood that they didn’t need to arrive at Jerusalem before they were under God’s protective care. He would watch over them on the journey. God is just as present in the journey as in the destination.

–David Guzik

P121 help

from This Day with the Master,
by Dennis F. Kinlaw


The greatest value of Psalm 121 lies not in a praise of nature but in its presentation of the contrast between nature and grace. The psalmist does not decry nature; he just knows its limitations and proclaims that there is no salvation in the natural world. Salvation comes only from above and beyond the creation. The hills represent nature at its best but the best the earth has to offer is not big enough or good enough to rescue us from ourselves.

The answer to our need is neither within us nor within our world. It rests in the transcendent One from beyond the confines of the universe. When he comes, he brings supernatural resources to meet our natural needs. In this psalm the writer paints the background for the manger in Bethlehem where the eternal One broke into time and space, became a human person, and brought redemption to the world.

For those who can see, the need for this truth is apparent in every area of life. Modern people have tried every earthly source to solve their problems:  government, education, economics, social sciences, psychology, and psychoanalysis. We have expected somewhere within us or within our world to find the key, the solution that we seek. Thousands of years ago there was a man, wiser than we, who saw the sterility of our vain efforts. He decided that help for humans comes only from Yahweh, who created and rules over all the factors and all the processes in which we place our hopes. Our only true hope and our only sure help is in the God who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
    the Lord is your shade on 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 forth and forevermore.

Six times in this short psalm the Hebrew word shamar (translated keeps and preserve) is used. 

“The Divine Being represents himself as a watchman, who takes care of the city and its inhabitants during the night-watches; and who is never overtaken with slumbering or sleepiness.”

–Adam Clarke

Spurgeon told a story that went something like this:  A poor woman, as the Eastern story has it, came to the Sultan one day, and asked compensation for the loss of some property. ‘How did you lose it?’ said the monarch. ‘I fell asleep,’ was the reply, ‘and a robber entered my dwelling.’ ‘Why did you fall asleep?’ … ‘I fell asleep because I believed that you were awake.’ The Sultan was so much delighted with the answer of the woman, that he ordered her loss to be made up.”

–David Guzik



HERE  is the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir and Psalm 121, “My Help.” What marvelous encouragement for us as we go through our day today!


Images courtesy of:
I lift up my eyes.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/3a51f-psalm1211-2.jpg
My help comes from the Lord.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/d0f58-prayer6.gif
The Lord is your keeper.   http://s3.amazonaws.com/versesproject/verses/174/986/psalm-121-5-6_ipad_original.jpg?2015

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: