I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
By Anna McAllister (WITHIN Devotional Contributor)
I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; your Protector will not slumber. Indeed, the Protector of Israel does not slumber or sleep. The Lord protects you; the Lord is a shelter right by your side. The sun will not strike you by day or the moon by night. The Lord will protect you from all harm; he will protect your life. The Lord will protect your coming and going both now and forever. Psalm 121 (CSB)
Recently I have been reading Eugene Peterson’s book “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.” It walks believers through the Songs of Ascents (Psalm 120-134) sung by faithful Hebrews 3 times a year as they make the journey to Jerusalem for worship - to commemorate and refresh their memories of God’s provision of salvation and preservation. Peterson offers much practical encouragement for growth in obedience, joy, worship, and community to name a few all while taking readers on a journey through this songbook.
Psalm 121 convicted me with a contextual note. At the time this psalm would have been written there would have been a lot of pagan worship going on in the hilltops. So verses 1-2 in Psalm 121 caught me this go round reading through “I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
Why this verse?
Well, as Peterson describes it - I find myself practicing “patent - medicine religion.” I know God “created the universe and accomplished our eternal salvation. But [I sometimes struggle to] believe that he condescends to watch [my] soap opera of daily trials and tribulations.” And so I buy my own solutions or remedies for those things. My own remedies are much like those pagan gods, no help.
So as I meditated on Psalm 121 I wrote down the following truths in my journal to speak to this lie that God is not always present:
Yahweh preserves and protects us
His presence is personal - it is not reserved for the big things only.
He accompanies us through the trials and troubles of each day.
He guards us from every evil.
Not only did He create the universe and establish your eternal salvation, but He rules in your heart by His Spirit to accompany you day to day; to move you from one glory to the next (2 Cor 3:18).
He is not just there at repentance and glorification- He is the driving force compelling us to the finish line and we journey through being progressively sanctified!
He is the author of the program prescribed in Hebrews - to keep our eyes on the only way, the truth and the life - Christ Jesus! He is the promise keeper to our archetypal pilgrim Abraham who was “sent out,” by Yahweh to be made into a blessed people who would ascend to remember where their help comes from; a people who would ascend to remember God’s saving ways. The maker of heaven and earth ascends with us daily.
He walks with us and to ask Him for help with our daily troubles, seeking Him as our all in all, is precisely what we are instructed to do by Christ when He teaches us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” But don’t forget - the prayer begins with the request for God to “hallow” his name. He will get the glory! So this truth we can hold assured : His presence and protection is provision from here to glory and in the in between.
The weekly devotionals seek to encourage you to dig deeper into Scripture as you take the time to daily read, meditate, and internalize the verses in the devotional, along with the passages provided below to give greater context. Take the time to read them throughout the week (repetition is important) and ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp what God is showing you about Himself, about you, and how to live in light of these truths.
Passages to read/memorize/meditate:Proverbs 3:5-6
Hebrews 11; 12:1-3
2 Corinthians 3:18
Questions to Reflect on: