In today’s culture we are all looking for security and safety. We install antivirus software on our computers to keep from being hacked. We have alarm systems in our homes to keep burglars from intruding. You probably have a list of twenty or more passwords you use to keep your accounts secure. Hopefully you run an annual credit report to see that your financial information has not been compromised. Or have you tried going through airport security lately? We look to agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security to minimize the risk of terrorist attacks. Even Yankee Stadium has begun adding metal detectors at its entrances.
None of the above mentioned safety and security measures are bad things. But they do at times fail us. Maybe your computer gets a virus and malicious software (malware) even though you have virus protection. Your home was broken into because the burglar disarmed your alarm system. You are a victim of identity theft even though you have secure and encrypted passwords. You run an annual credit report only to find out that someone fraudulently opened up a credit card in your name in South America. Bad things still happen on airplanes and American soil even though we have the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) and Homeland Security. And now you cannot even take your family to a baseball game (who can afford it anyway?) without leaving some “banned” item at the entrance. We want assurance that what we do and where we go will provide us security and safety. And while you can never be guaranteed 100% safety regardless of the number of security features in place you can find complete security and peace for life’s ups and downs when you place your trust with God and in God. Psalm 121 is a wonderful reminder that we have safety in God.
Psalm 121 is the second of fifteen psalms (Psalms 120-134) known as “The Songs of Ascent. Among Bible scholars there is not real consensus as to what this “ascent” refers to. Among the most common interpretations is either these psalms were sung by worshippers as they ascended from Babylon to Israel to visit the Holy Temple three times a year for the festivals or that these fifteen psalms were sung by the priests as they ascended up the semi-circular steps within the Temple. (According to the Mishnah, the first authoritative written document of the previously strictly oral Jewish traditions, there were fifteen steps leading up to the Court of Women in the Temple.) Okay back to today’s lesson. Psalm 121 tells us that we must not rely on man or manmade things for confidence and assurance. This psalm says to you that our strength does not comes from the mountains, that God never “falls asleep at the switch,” that He is your protector, that under His shade you can keep cool during the day and warm at night, and that God is with you and keeps watch over you today, tomorrow, and the day after that. Instead of hearing more words from us, here is Psalm 121 in its entirety, as written in The Message…
I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from GOD, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains He won’t let you stumble, your Guardian God won’t fall asleep. Not on your life! Israel’s Guardian will never doze or sleep. GOD’s your Guardian, right at your side to protect you—shielding you from sunstroke, sheltering you from moonstroke. GOD guards you from every evil, he guards your very life. He guards you when you leave and when you return, he guards you now, he guards you always.
Allow those beautiful words to soak deep into your soul. Allow them to penetrate into every nook and cranny in your body. And will you trust God to give you assurance, peace, comfort, strength, protection and safety – now and forevermore?