Philippians 3:13-14 Brethren I do count myself to have apprehended, but one things I do forgetting those things which are behind I reach forward to those things which are ahead. I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus
My Paraphrase of Philippians 3:13-14 “you are not there yet so Don’t stop now”
PS 121 (PS 130)
These psalms are called Psalms of Ascent not only because the people were going up to Jerusalem to participate in the three great annual feasts; Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles, but because the psalms themselves lead us upwards to God in our own personal walk with the Lord. This is a pilgrim’s song. It tells of the dangers of the journey, and of the help, God provides along the way.
“I Lift up my Eyes to the hills,” This is not a declaration of hope, but rather, it is a cry of despair. The Psalmist is telling us that danger is lurking in the hills above and is waiting for an opportunity to pounce upon the weary traveler. When this happens, where can the pilgrim turn to for help? The psalmist answers his own question reminding us that the Lord is our help!
The picture Good Samaritan Luke 19:30 comes to mind
Life is a journey, we embark and we need wisdom, strength, love, hope, and faith to navigate the process.
How is God going to give you these things?
God will have to stretch you.
God will expand you.
God will put you in processes that:
Teach you wisdom. Expand your talent. Stretch your abilities.
It is like the fish tank, it will govern the growth of fish. Psalm 121 is a psalm about trusting in
God’s providential care. It is a travel Psalm. In fact, many families read this Psalm out loud together before going on a trip. Devout Jews recite portions of this Psalm when they leave or enter their homes. They attach a small cylinder called a Mezuzah with some Scriptures in it (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 11:13-21) to their right door frame. And whenever they leave or enter their home they touch the Mezuzah and recite Psalm 121 verses 5 and 8. Lord watches over you, the Lord is your shade at your hand; The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
3 big truths about God’s help and care for you.
1) The Creator is your helper.
2) The God of Israel is your protector.
3) The LORD will keep you from all harm.
- The Creator is your helper(1-2)
Jeremiah 10:12: “God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding.”
The Genesis account of Creation calls God Elohim, but Genesis 2:4 introduces the covenant name, Yahweh. Here, this is combined with Elohim—YHWH-Elohim—to show that the covenant God of Israel is none other than the creator of the universe. Other places in the Old Testament uses God’s covenant name, Yahweh, when they describe His creative work; for instance:
Yahweh who made the earth, Yahweh who formed it to establish it—Yahweh is his name Jeremiah 33:2.
When Jonah wanted to identify himself and his God, he tells the men on the ship, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear Yahweh, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land” Jonah 1:9.
When Scripture wants to emphasize the authority of Yahweh’s words, the prophets often appeal to God’s creative power:
Thus says Yahweh, who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—Yahweh of hosts is his name Jeremiah 31:35;
Because God created the world, He has the authority and the power to make sure that His word is fulfilled—so we should listen to Him! The Jews were very conscious of God as Creator.
I remember the first time I looked down a compound microscope at a slide of stain blood. I saw the 5 different types of white cells each different, red cells, platelets and marveled that in this small drop of blood was the reflection of the condition of our bodies by. How much information can be gained from a drop of blood? God created the microstructures that sustain us. The wonder of a cell is in its ability to mitosis multiply. The things that Man makes cannot reproduce. Yes, Yahweh Elohim the creator is your protector
Heb13:5-6 “never will I leave you or forsake you. The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”
2.The God of Israel is your protector(3-6)
The second truth is this: The God of Israel is your protector. Look at verses 3-6:
“He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber; 4 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;
6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.” These verses teach us that God is not only the creator of the world but your protector as well!
The key word in these next verses is the word “watches.” It comes from the Hebrew word “Shamar” which means “to watch over, to guard or to protect.” If you are in Christ, then he who watches over Israel watches over your life as well. The God of Israel is your protector. He is your bodyguard. And here in verses 3-6 the psalmist tells us some of the various ways that God watches over you.
In verse 6, two possible sources of harm that were common to the pilgrim. One was sunstroke, a dangerous condition. The other was moon stroke, believed by the ancients to be just as dangerous. Moon stroke, unlike sunstroke, did not affect the body, but the mind. In ancient times, mental illness was thought to be caused by the moon. This is where we get the word “lunatic” to refer to someone who has a mental disturbance.
3. The LORD will keep you from all harm (7-8) The Creator is your helper. The God of Israel is your protector. And then finally, “The LORD will keep you from all harm – he will watch over your life; 8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”
Verses 1-6 were all in the present tense, describing what God does for you. Now in verses 7-8, we are given promises for the future, telling us what God will do for you.
He will protect us from evil and the evil one:
Have you noticed how easy it is to sin? It requires no effort at all. Why?
1.) We are born with a bent in that direction.
2.) We like it.
3.) We are good at it. However, the Lord will help us overcome evil in this life if we have that desire in our hearts. He will protect us from the evil one – 1 Pet. 5:8
He will protect and keeps through tough times
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
“What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39
Even the worst things that happen to you – whether illness, loss or even death – all these things take place under God’s providential care. God is for you, not against you. He is committed to your good, and you can trust him in all things. So take comfort in this. Learn to trust God in all things and to look for the good in all the details of life. God cares for you. He will provide for you. He is there to help you (Psalm 121:1-2)
Blessing Johan Esterhuizen