This week, we continue our exploration of the Hallel psalms, keeping our focus on the psalms that comprise “The Great Hallel.” In ancient times, Jews recited these hymns during the three annual pilgrim festivals as they offered the required sacrifices in the Temple of Jerusalem. These Psalms express confidence and gratitude for God’s divine providence.
Psalm 121 is one of the Songs of Ascent (Psalms 120-134) that makeup part of the Great Hallel psalms (120-136). The psalms of ascent were sung by the pilgrim Israelites as they traveled from their homes and ascended Mt. Zion to celebrate their annual feasts.
In reading through the psalm, it appears that there are multiple persons speaking, with speaker one leading in the first two verses followed by a response by an additional speaker(s) beginning in verse 3. From verse 3 through verse 8, we hear the assuring reminder regarding God’s faithful watchcare throughout our lives. We can trust that He is continually looking after us as we maneuver through the toils and snares along our journey, both in the physical as well as the spiritual realm. God’s got us. He has our back.
A song of ascents.
1 I look up toward the hills.
From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Creator of heaven and earth!
3 May he not allow your foot to slip!
May your protector not sleep!
4 Look! Israel’s protector
does not sleep or slumber!
5 The Lord is your protector;
the Lord is the shade at your right hand.
6 The sun will not harm you by day,
or the moon by night.
7 The Lord will protect you from all harm;
he will protect your life.
8 The Lord will protect you in all you do,
now and forevermore.
Recently, a chaplain friend of mine prayed this special psalm over someone dear to Sweet T and me. The psalm directs our attention to our source of help. Its words reassure us that our Lord remains vigilant in His oversight and protection of His people. As always, we can rest assured that God is for us, not against us. My friend’s words and this prayer served as a warm and generous blessing for us.
God’s Word is a steadfast reminder of His promises.
In what ways has God’s Word blessed you recently? Feel free to share your experience in the comments below.
As always, thanks for reading.
The Devotional Guy™
Find me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!
If you’ve been blessed by this post or other The Devotional Guy™ posts, please share this blog with your family and friends.
Blackaby, Henry, and King, Claude A. (1994). Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God. Broadman and Holman Publishers. Nashville, Tennessee.
Getz, Gene A. (2011). Life Essentials Bible: Principles to Live By. Holman Bible Publishers. Nashville, Tennessee.
Lockyer, Herbert (1966). All the Books and Chapters of the Bible. Zondervan. Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Randel, Don Michael (2003) The Harvard Dictionary of Music. Harvard University Press. Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Tomlin, Chris, and Whitehead, David. (2017). Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change the Way You Worship. Thomas Nelson Publishing. Nashville, Tennessee.
White, James F. (1993) A Brief History of Christian Worship. Abingdon Press. Nashville.
Bob Utley’s Free Bible Commentary
Thank you to the artists and talented editors providing images and tools at Pixabay and Pixlr.
I love the psalms of Ascent. I used to have them almost memorized.
So happens I found Erik Routley’s little book on them in a used bookstore a few months into my divorce and that little book saved my life. He chose to talk about the pilgrimage made by Jesus and his friends singing THESE songs on the last journey he made to Jerusalem for Passover. Singing them while walking with Jesus when HE knows what lies ahead but no one else with him does, is truly a spiritual and deep exercise.
Routley points out that while singing these songs and making the climb up into the hills (from where the help comes), the pilgrim cannot see the city of his destiny until the very last leg of the trip. The city is UP THERE, and we know it is there, and we know it is God’s House there, but we cannot see it until we come over the lip at the top of the ridge. Thus every step and every song is taken and voiced in FAITH.
But they are sung with the pilgrim caravan. It is a happy song, generally, a festive time. Jericho is a meeting place. A staging area at the foot of the mountain where cousins and relatives from all over the diaspera meet and then sing as they climb.
The whole notion is so rich with meaning and symbolism for us.
Great choice of psalms!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks for reading and sharing the added insight. Glad you liked the post.
LikeLiked by 1 person