“Who is looking after you?” – Psalm 121

Sermon for the Watford church of Christ

1. Who is looking after us? vv1-2

Fear
Bandits in the hills
False
Pagan temples, altars and shrines were on the hills – false hope

Fix
God is available to help, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV)
He is our ‘helper’ or ‘guardian’, ‘the one who guards’ 8 times in this Psalm.
The Psalmist’s thinking quickly jumps from the hills to what lies beyond them – the Maker of the universe.
Setting our hearts & minds will help us keep the right perspective during the day,
Col. 3:1
2Cor. 4:18
Heb. 3:1
Heb. 12:2

2. What is he like? vv3-4

Note move from “my” to “your” – when we are assured of God’s help we can point others to that helper.
‘watches over’ = Heb ‘Shamar’, The basic idea of the root is “to exercise great care over.” … “take care of,” “guard.”

Awake
Mother watching over a vulnerable child – staying awake to protect
Pagan gods needed waking (1 King 18:27), but not Israel’s God.

Attentive
Guarding against intruders, etc., such as the cherubim guarding the way to the tree of life in Gen 3:24.
Better than a burglar alarm. Satan steps back when he knows God is home!

Personal
God is YHWH five times in this little Psalm.
And his protection is personal – all the ’you’s’ are singular.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1 NIV11)
We are to help ‘guard’ one another in Christ. Be in touch! Be like God!

3. What will he do for me? vv5-6

Shade you (protection) comprehensively
God is our constant companion and helper in real or imaginary dangers.

Times when it gets hot
Stressed? Does not need to become crippling anxiety.
Stepping into the shade helps you think more clearly. That’s what a QT is for.

Times when it gets scary
It was thought that too much exposure to the moon could cause illness i.e. ‘lunacy’.
We are all scared by things. How do we process that fear, and overcome it?
That’s what a QT is for.

Shade = Heb. ‘tzel’, ‘shadow’, “Yahweh is the shade or the source of protection for his people The Psalmist prays that God may hide him under “the shadow of his wings” (Ps 17:8; cf. Ps 36:7; Ps 91:1).
Remember to step into the shade when it gets too hot or too scary.

Conclusion vv7-8
Our situation is bearable because it is not the final destination.
God is doing good even at this time.
What’s been better since this Covid 19 crisis began?
Romans 8:35–39
Faith is taking hold of this and moving into confusion without being controlled by fear
Because we know, by faith, God will make something good from it
That is why Jesus went to the cross
He, by faith, looked forward to it with joy
Not so much the cross, but it’s outcome
““I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11 NIV11)

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“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John