Psalm 120 [Read]
Psalm 121 [Read]
Psalm 122 [Read]
Psalm 123 [Read]
Corinthians 6 [Read]
The beauty of Hebrew psalms is that it uses very few words, each with its inherent rich meanings, to express the psalmist’s deep devotion to God. Because of its conciseness, its interpretation is often multifaceted. As a humble reader of God’s word, I always strive to search for additional light to help my understanding.
Therefore, I choose to read the beloved Psalm 121 somewhat differently today. I read it with the backdrop of Psalm 120. The psalmist was under attack from lying lips and deceitful tongues (Ps 120:2), and he had been living among sinful people for too long (120:5). He tried to live a godly life, but people around him simply would not allow that (120:7). Because of this, he constantly needs to deal with the internal struggle between flesh and conscience. Haven’t we all had that temptation to fight evil with evil? Haven’t we all had the urge to make things right with our way? Haven’t we all wanted to just completely cut off those people from our life? I know I have.
With such frustration, he turns his eyes to the hills, Mount Zion, for help. Just as the psalmist speaks to his own heart (Ps 42:5), he reminds himself about the faithfulness of God. The LORD will not allow him to slip into sin (Ps 17:5, 38:16), for he watches over his people without slumbering (Ps 121:3, 4). Nothing can cause him to be overcome by evil, for the LORD promises that he will keep him from all evil (121:7, ESV). Whatever he does in his “coming and going”, the LORD will surely watch over him (121:8). The assurance of spiritual deliverance overflows from the words, and such assurance allows us today to pray confidently: “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Mt 6:13, ESV).
It’s helpful to know that the recurring word “watch over” here is the same word appears many time in the OT for “keeping” God’s law. As we are exhorted to keep his word in our life, our Lord promises that he will watch over us from falling into evil. Christians go through afflictions and frustration and may even be harmed physically, just look at all the martyrs in Church history. But no one can force us to sin or be overcome by evil, as long as we lift our eyes to the Zion, to the Maker of heavens and earth. This is the promise of Psalm 121.
Keep on reading.