Untitled Sermon (2)
Name, background info
Introduce the Psalm (121)
are Psalms of Ascent, or “Pilgrim’s Psalms”
The people of Israel would travel to Jerusalem for Passover, and would sing these Psalms for each part of their journey.
All of these Psalms are almost 3000 years old!
And yet they still encourage us, because the Savior of whom they speak is still alive and well today.
The writer of boasts in God’s salvation instead of men’s strength, and I hope that this Psalm will instill a trust in, or renew your trust in God’s coming salvation.
Introduce the method
is short; only 8 verses
I will read straight through it once.
Then we will proceed through it verse by verse, and I will provide some commentary
A Song of Ascents. 1 I will lift up my eyes to the hills—From whence comes my help? 2 My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. 3 He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. 4 Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade at your right hand. 6 The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night. 7 The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. 8 The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in From this time forth, and even forevermore.
Imagine for a moment you are a young father or mother from Souuthern Galilee.
The time for the passover has come, and your entire family is headed to Jerusalem.
At first the going is easy, the ground is level.
But, as you cross over the Kishon river, hills immediately rise up before you.
And as a young father or mother, your own father or mother also journeyed to Jerusalem, and you can remember quite clearly, that after the first hill is conquered, there are several more.
(Are we there yet?)
Not only must you climb those hills to get to Jerusalem, but your young children must climb those hills - or be carried up them.
There may be robbers in those hills.
And after you reach the summit of one hill, you know there will be another, and another, and another
In fact, if you take the route straight from Nazareth to Jerusalem, there are 10 hills you have to climb.
The writer sees all the troubles which lie ahead and quite rightly asks “Where does my help come from?”
But the writer of this Psalm was not discouraged. Listen to his answer:
When you are faced with this life’s hills, where will you find the strength to keep going?
This Psalm tells us something very profound: (reread v.2)
The God who made the hills will give you the strength to climb them.
The God who calls you over the hills and valleys of this earthly life, to his heavenly city - this God will give you the strength to make it.
Isn’t it a comfort to know he does not sleep?
How many of you mothers have stayed up until a child comes home safely?
They try to close the door silently and tiptoe into their bedroom. But you still heard them.
With that same sleepless care, whether we like it or not, God watches over his children, to see that they come home.
I love this picture of shade. I grew up out in the country down in west Texas. I worked in the sun, tending to my mother’s garden and my father’s yard. 40 Celsius was no stranger to me. But every now and again, I’d be out there, hoe in one hand, wiping sweat off the brow with the other, and a cloud would pass over the sun. Instantly the temperature would drop and a little breeze would kick up and you couldn’t help but thank God for the shade. Everywhere around you the land was burning up, but under that cloud, it was almost heavenly.
When we are trusting in him, God’s care for us is like that cloud. Those who are not trusting in God are burning up in the fear of what may happen here or there. But those who know Jesus Christ, his forgiveness, and the power of the Resurrection have relief from unnecessary worries and cares.
I would like to say that God’s shade is a bit
The word “preserve” used by the NKJV is such a fitting word here (reread 7a). Some of you will remember a time when fridges were a luxury rather than a convenience. Unless you rubbed your meats with salt, they would rot within a couple of days. But the salt made it impossible for bacteria to break down the meats. It starves and kills those things which ruin good food.
The preservation of God is not to lock us away from trouble, but rather to instill in us such a quality so that when meet trouble, we will triumph over it. He gives us his Spirit, the Spirit of Christ.
Christ did not live a charmed life. Rather, when sin and death met Christ, they were obliterated - and this same power is offered to each one who believes in Him. Through Christ, God preserves each one of us - through trouble - to eternal life.
I urge each one of you, as you lift your eyes to the days ahead of you, to remember the city which lies beyond these hills, which Hebrews calls:
22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
Most of all, remember Jesus who gave you life, and walks with you, and welcomes you into his kingdom with open arms
13 and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. 17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.