Psalm 121 – Come To Jesus, He Will Help You
Psalm 121:1-8 NIV
A song of Ascent.
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.
This is a song of Ascent, which is sung by Israelites on their way up to Jerusalem for worship. The words “A song of Ascent” form the beginning of this psalm in the original Hebrew text. This is important for us to note and not miss out. Reading the psalm without these words will reduce our full understanding that this psalm is for those who are coming to Jesus or shying away from Jesus. Jesus wants us to know how he feels about us coming to him for the first time, or coming back to him again.
Jerusalem is on a plateau at 754 meters in the Judean mountains. As the people walked up to Jerusalem on their pilgrimage, they would “lift up my (their) eyes to the mountains”, as they see the mountain range that surrounds them.
In the past, many people set up worship places at these mountains. It was in these mountains that they connected with God and sought His help. Thus they were known as 'high places'. For example, God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac on the mountain. Even today, we look at the mountains and stand in awe of God. As the pilgrims were making their way up to Jerusalem, they would be going there with burdens, worries and struggles with sins. This is just like us today, when we approach God to worship Him.
Some of the pilgrims could have stopped going to Jerusalem for a while and were on their way there again after years of absence. The mountains reminded them of the presence of God. For us Christians, the cross reminds us of Jesus.
My help comes from Jesus, “the Maker of heaven and earth”. The Lord here, refers to Jesus, as described in John 1:3 NIV, “Through him (Jesus) all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” We can connect with our ancient friends who worshipped the same God; we all worship Jesus.
The emphases of this psalm are “He will” and “He will not”, and “will” is in the future tense.
Jesus “will not let your foot slip”. In Psalm 94:18, the Psalmist explained, “when I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ your unfailing love, Lord, supported me”. It takes us to say to God, “God, I am slipping, I need your support”. Jesus’ unfailing love supports us. His blood on the cross is evidence of his love for us sinners, who often slip.
The Psalmist mentioned twice here that Jesus “will not slumber”. Even when we are sleeping, Jesus will not stop working for us, working out solutions for the problems ahead of us.
Jesus is “your shade at your right hand”. He is our shelter from the heat we are facing. “The mountains were covered with its shade, the mighty cedars with its branches.” (Psalm 80:10 NIV) In Israel, people would see the mountains lending their shades covering one another and even blocking the sun on the dry land. Jesus was there with Jonah too, as he provided a leafy plant that grew over Jonah to give him comfort. He shields us from the worst of our troubles.
Jesus “will watch over your whole life”. Whether we are “coming” to Jesus or “going” away, Jesus will always watch over us. If we go away, Jesus watches for us like the father of the Prodigal Son, longing daily for the return of his son.
No matter what we have done in our past, today is a new day for all of us. This is a powerful understanding of grace for me. Everyday my faith is renewed as I come to Jesus, reading and meditating on his words and praying to God to accept me and help me.
Do you struggle to come to God in the midst of the problems you are facing? Jesus is the maker of the heavens and earth, who else can we go to for help except Jesus? If we have a problem or a struggle, don’t run away. Jesus has said to us, “I will not let you slip, I WILL watch over you”. I once thought I was lost, as I slipped in and out of my wavering mind. But when I returned to Jesus’ unfailing love, he lifted me and has supported me till today. You wouldn’t know how much it means to me as I go into the word of God and find His ‘shade’ and Jesus lifted me up again from slipping. In fact, no one can help you if you do not want to go to Jesus. But if we go to Jesus, he will help us. It is guaranteed. It is an everlasting promise. This is what Jesus wants to tell us, when we come back to Jesus.
So come to Jesus. Come back to Jesus if you have been away. Jesus is waiting, and he WILL help us.
Andy is the head of compliance for an international bank and is happily married, with three daughters. He became a disciple of Christ three decades ago, and studies God's Word passionately. He desires to be constantly led by the Spirit.