A Song for the Journey

devotional song for a journey

    I lift up my eyes to the mountains, where does my help come from?
    My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
    He will not let your foot slip, he who watches over you will not slumber;
    Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
    The LORD watches over you, the LORD is your shade at your right hand.
    The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
    The LORD will keep you from all harm, he will watch over your life.
    The LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

Read Psalm 121 aloud and let the beautiful words surround you. We don’t know for sure who wrote this psalm, probably David, because the author was a gifted songwriter! This psalm is one of the 15 “songs of ascent.” Pilgrims sang these songs as they made their way to Jerusalem and ascended Mount Zion to worship at the Temple of the LORD. These psalms were songs for the journey, a little traveling music! But the journey is long and the way ahead is fearful, robbers could be hiding in the mountains ready to attack them. “Where will my help come from?” they sang (verse 1). The mountains are nothing compared to the help of the LORD, the one who made the mountains. Are you lifting your eyes to the doctor who gives you test results? Are you lifting your eyes to Facebook for your self-esteem? Are you lifting your eyes to your bank account for security? Lift your eyes to your heavenly Father who turns curses into blessings for those who trust Him. So, the travelers sing this promise, “My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth,” (verse 2).

The song continues, “The LORD is your keeper,” (verse 5 KJV) (or “He watches over you,”) (verses 3 and 7). The God who made you keeps you. Christ who saved you keeps you. The Holy Spirit who guides you keeps you. A thousand self-help books will counsel you that you are your own keeper, and it is up to you to keep yourself healthy and happy. But read all through the Bible and you will find no one else named a ‘keeper’ of human beings except our Creator God. We do not keep ourselves! A keeper keeps what has been entrusted to the keeper’s care, that means us! The job description reads: keep it, hold it, guard it, take care of it, watch over it, don’t lose it or let it be damaged, don’t misplace it, don’t let it get lost on the journey. The LORD is our keeper because we belong to Him. God made us, and God watches over us on our journey of life with him.

The pilgrims sing verse 3. “He will not let your foot slip.” God helps us avoid temptation and slipping into sin. An ounce of sin can harm us more than a ton of suffering. Sin can harden our hearts so we lose everything. If we trust the LORD he keeps us from slipping along the way, even when we are weak.

Whether your sleepless nights are filled with prayers for a sick child, tears of grief, anxiety over unpaid bills, or aches and pains, God is with you.  The promise in verse 3 reminds us, “He who watches over you will not slumber.” This promise is so important the Psalmist repeats it in verse 4, “Behold He that watches over Israel, (and you) will neither slumber nor sleep.” You can sleep because God is awake watching over you, listening to your prayers.

Verse 5 has a promise of shade on our trek. Shade is a symbol of spiritual refreshment found when we spend time praying and reading Scripture. Our lives are filled with pressures that are like the sun beating down and draining us of all strength. Read this psalm over again and again and you will feel a refreshing breeze to your heart.

What a powerful promise we have in verse 8! “The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and evermore.” The King James version of the Bible verse says, “you’re going out and your coming in.” This verse is a reminder of the benediction in Deuteronomy 28:6, “blessed will you be in your comings and goings.” This was a common Hebrew expression meaning the whole of life. God is watching over us in our journey in this life, and He will “preserve your soul” (verse 7 KJV) for an eternity in heaven with Him. Are you trusting in this promise that God is watching over YOUR comings and goings! Sing it out loud and strong fellow travelers!

Psalm 121 is a song for our life’s journey. When you know how to sing “The LORD is my keeper” you can journey anywhere by day or by night, whether you are going out or coming in, you will find yourself enfolded again and again in God’s grace and discover yourself in God’s safekeeping.

Affirm today, that our help does not come from the internet, government, political leaders, or institutions. Our help comes from the LORD, and our confidence is in Him only.

Prayer: DEAR LORD, I praise you that your promises will always give us more that we ask, not less. Thank you for your Word, help me to trust in it. Give me the grace to know you LORD as my shade and my help. Amen.

We’ll Abide” – Hannah Danielson Doria


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