Note the heading of the Psalm 121 – A song of Ascents.
What does this mean? Literally it means a song of going up. “Going up where?” you might say. From Psalm 120-134, they all have this heading, a song of Ascents.
These Psalms are the songs that the Pilgrim people of God sang as they were going up to Jerusalem as God had commanded them to do three times a year in order to celebrate the great feasts of Passover, Pentecost and Atonement. The Psalmist is therefore a pilgrim travelling to Jerusalem, the City of God. But what is the issue that is foremost in the mind of the Psalmist?
Look through the Psalm and count how many times the word keep, watch or watches is used. These words relate to security; the issue that is foremost in the Psalmist’s mind is security. He is asking questions like –
Will I have the strength to go on?
Will I make it to the City of God?
Will God keep me till the journey’s end?
Although we are not on a physical journey to the City of God we are on a spiritual journey. As the writer to Hebrews writes in Chapter 12:22, “But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God.”
And like the Psalmist we have similar questions –
Can I go on?
Will I make it?
Is God really there?
Through this Psalm the Psalmist wants to tell us and teach us and assure us of the “keeping power” of our God.
1. What prompts the Psalmist to ask where his help comes from, v.1?
2. Life is full of hills. Why do you think we are not told what it is specifically about the hills that cause the Psalmist to ask where his help comes from?
3. Regardless of what the Psalmist is experiencing how might v.2 be a comfort to him and to you?
4. We have a God who is sovereign over even the hills of life. What two things from v.4 show that we can rely on this God?
5. God has proved His faithfulness throughout history to His people Israel and he doesn’t sleep. He is always watching, He is always listening, He is always caring and he is your God!
What do you think are meant by the sun and moon in v.6?
6. The Psalmist is saying that all the natural trials and hardships of life will not overcome you.
How can he be so sure? See v.5.
7. He is not just the God who is up there, who is distant and remote, He is also the God who is down here, who is up close and personal and who is “my help” v. 2 and who “watches over you” v.5.
From v.7-8 how might the Psalmist, and you, know that you will make it to the journey’s end and to the City of God?
Now or Later
Take time to read and reflect upon Isaiah 43:1-3. Notice how God promises to keep us not from prevailing difficulties but in them.
This study was kindly created by Terry McCutcheon. Terry is the Director of Hope for Glasgow and is a Gospel Partner of The Tron Church, Glasgow.