Before We Get Home: The Reality of Psalm 121
Reminders that we are mortal never come easy. I hate that I convince myself otherwise, but it’s easy to believe we are unbreakable, that life is bullet-proof, and we are living the best form of life right now. It’s a lie so believable that we can feel assaulted when sickness or trial or difficulty or death comes too close for comfort. I get so disillusioned with this fickle peace that I sometimes compromise my anticipation of Everlasting Peace.
“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” (Philippians 3:20-21, ESV)
“Just passing through” can be exhausting for the traveler, especially since we are exposed to the daily realities of sin. We fight and struggle against these lowly bodies; sometimes they break, sometimes they fail. But when they fray and tear and sigh, we begin to look up — we begin to await Him.
So in case you need this reminder as much as I do: You are not living your best life now, because you are not home yet. The traveler doesn’t hope that the road never ends. He doesn’t hope to dwell in tents that rip and fray forever. No, he longs for home.
But what is a traveler’s hope in the moments before we arrive home?
Psalm 121 breathes into the everyday such fragrant hope:
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
8 The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.
Dear weary traveler, you have a KEEPER!
The word used here for “keeper” is “shamar.” (Watch how many times it’s used in this psalm!) It means “to keep (safe), to watch, to guard (like guarding sheep or watching over a garden), to preserve. It’s a very active, present word.
God is our protector as we sojourn. He is on guard at all times looking after us. He is also affectionate in His care. If you’ve ever watched a shepherd protect his sheep or a gardener care for his plants, you can understand how present God must be in order to be our Keeper. (Read how Jesus cares for His sheep in John 10:1-18)
I cannot tell you how much my heart swells with peace as I lean into these realities about God. He is not far from us, even if it feels like we are so far from home. He doesn’t get exhausted like I do, He never falls asleep while He watches over us. He keeps us covered, and when the sun or moon beat down upon us, He offers shade and protection. There is an ever-present Peace and the anticipation of the Prince of Peace.
So even while we wait with lifted eyes for our Savior to appear, He holds us. He keeps us from this time forth and forevermore. It’s a journey full of hope, not only because of the destination but because we are held by our Keeper each step of the way.
Kaysie Strickland is definitely nothing fancy. Jesus found her in a mess and won her with His Words. She feels called to be a servant of the Word and His people through spending her life and words proclaiming the reckless restoration available in the gospel. She is married to her best friend on earth, drinks lots of coffee + tea, constantly rearranges the furniture in her house (God bless her husband), loves gardening and DIY projects, enjoys long conversations over coffee, and loves all the words. You can find her on Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Blog