Summary: Knowing our “help comes from the Lord” gives us the faith to start climbing, because we know God is keeping a close watch and “He will not let you stumble” (when we keep our faith in Him!). We can be at peace knowing God is always with us day and night.
Rachel is about to embark on what some would call the journey of a lifetime. She is about to head off to Hong Kong for three and a half years, she’s going on a journey, to work, to learn and hopefully have a little fun too.
I prayed about what I should briefly speak on this evening that could be an encouragement to Rachel and also to us. God led me to Psalm 121, a Psalm for travellers, that can help us on our journey through life.
Psalm 121 is a poem, a song, written by King David. In most Bibles it has the title “a song of ascents”.
Perhaps a more accurate translation of the title from the original hebrew is “a song for a journey to a higher place,” and that’s how the travellers, the pilgrims on their journey to Jerusalem would have felt.
They were heading to somewhere different, somewhere special, they were taking this specific journey for a purpose.
The Jewish people always thought of going UP to Jerusalem, probably because the city was higher geographically. Walking the 17-miles from Jericho to Jerusalem the road rises by about 3,500 feet. That’s around 1066.8 metres.
The highest point in Hong Kong is in the territory is Tai Mo Shan, at a height of 958 metres.
Maybe Rachel will find the time to visit while she is there and maybe she will sing while she is on the journey up... No, Maybe not.
When the Jewish people went up to Jerusalem for the feasts and celebrations, they had special songs to sing, and Psalm 121 was one of those songs.
A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.
1 I look up to the mountains—
does my help come from there?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth!
3 He will not let you stumble;
the one who watches over you will not slumber.
4 Indeed, He who watches over Israel
never slumbers or sleeps.
5 The Lord himself watches over you!
The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
6 The sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon at night.
7 The Lord keeps you from all harm
and watches over your life.
8 The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever. Psalm 121:1-8
This is a Traveller’s Psalm.
It reminds us that the best way to travel in life is to travel with the Lord. Travel with God, because He will help us like no one else can.
In those days the road from Jericho to Jerusalem was so dangerous it was called “the way of blood.”
Travelers were in real danger. There were no air conditioned cars or planes, no mobile phones, no wi-fi, no Facebook, no TripAdvisor, just the dust and the heat and maybe a donkey or camel to carry their luggage.
They had real reason to be fearful of the journey ahead and on their journey, singing these words brought them comfort and strength.
These words helped them to have the same sense of peace and security that you and I can also experience today.
God never slumbers, and God never sleeps.
He is able to watch over us every moment of every day and every night.
Do you know that God is here for you right now?
Do you know that if you wake up at 4 o’clock in the morning feeling sick, or worried God will be there for you?
In verse 5 & 6, we see God is our Shade, our Shelter: The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
Can you imagine what it felt like for those travellers walking along in the hot sun with no air conditioning and no sun cream?
They needed to find places of shade and shelter on their journey and often on our journey through life we do too.
Do you know that God wants to be your shelter?
Sometimes trouble comes into our lives, sometimes we experience the heat of problems that burn hotter than the sun.
Sometimes it can also feel like the cold darkness of night has surrounded us.
Jesus can be both our shelter when the worst comes our way and also the Light of our life.
Being a Christian does not mean having a trouble-free journey in this world - it means having Jesus with us on our journey.
We are not alone, God is always with us.
There is great truth and great comfort in the words of verses 7 & 8: “The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.”
What a wonderful promise, what a wondeful truth.
Because God loves us and cares for us He takes an active involvement in our daily lives.