Psalms 121:1-2 ESV
“I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.”
The “I” in this writing is a person who is trusting God with his life, who looks to the Lord for help and guidance and direction, and who does not look to the world and to human flesh to solve his problems. And if we are to apply this to our lives today, under the New Covenant, we would be saying that we are looking to Jesus Christ and to the Holy Spirit to be our helpers and to guide us in the way that we should go, which are the ways of God the Father. And then we are following in the ways of the Lord, by the grace of God.
So, this is a person who has trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of his life. So, he has humbled himself before God in heart response to God the Father’s persuading him as to God’s righteousness and holiness, and of the person’s sinfulness, and of his need to turn from (repent of) his sins to follow Jesus Christ in obedience to his commands (New Covenant). And so he has been crucified with Christ in death to sin, and he has been raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, not like his old life (Romans 6:1-23).
Psalms 121:3-6 ESV
“He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
“The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.”
Now I am using the term “he” generically to describe anyone, whether male or female. And if what is stated in verses 1-2 applies to our lives, then we can apply the rest of this to our lives, if this is something that is repeated for us under the New Covenant. For if we are those whose eyes, minds, and hearts are focused on the Lord, and not on the flesh, who are seeking after the Lord, and not the flesh, and who are getting our counsel and direction from the Lord, and not from the flesh, then God is the one directing our lives.
And the Lord will not let our feet to be moved from the truth of the gospel. This is not to say that we have lost our free will, or that we have no control over what we do or don’t do. We can still choose wrong and not right, but to do so we would be rejecting the Lord’s help and strength and guidance. We would be stepping out from underneath his protection in order to go our own way, and that would not be good. And if that is where we remain, then it will not go well for us in the end, for we will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
And where this says that the Lord is our keeper, it is basically saying that God is sovereign over our lives, and that nothing can touch us unless God allows it. But it is certainly not saying that no bad will ever befall us. For both in the Old and in the New Testaments we read of God’s people going through terrible trials, and not all of them of their own doing, but many because of their walks of faith and because they are committed to following the Lord with their lives. For Jesus said we will be persecuted as he was.
So, we can’t read these Scriptures out of the context of our relationship with Jesus Christ and what we are taught under the New Covenant. Yes, we have the promise of God’s watch and care over our lives, which is what I believe this is talking about, but then we have much teaching under the New Covenant which instructs us that we are going to share in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings, and that we are going to be hated and persecuted and rejected and falsely accused, etc. But God is still with us watching over us.
Psalms 121:7-8 ESV
“The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.”
And again, to us today, under the New Covenant, this is not a promise that no evil will ever befall us. The New Testament is filled with warnings to us who are following Jesus with our lives that we can expect to be hated and persecuted and to have evil people do evil against us because they hate us or they are jealous of our walks with the Lord. But, on the other hand, we do have the promise that God has provided a way out for us from under the temptation to sin and that he will keep us from that evil if we will do what he says, and if we will cooperate with him in his plan.
So, the big promise for us out of all of this, I believe, is that if we keep the ways of the Lord, and if truly we are seeking after him and his ways, and if we are walking in his truth and righteousness, and not in sin, he is going to give us all we need to fight off the attacks of the enemy against our souls and to endure unjust treatment and to not give way to sin. But we can still choose to ignore him and to not cooperate with him, and to do evil and not good, but that would be a really bad choice. For if we walk in sin, and not in obedience to our Lord, we will not inherit eternal life with God.
[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
Footprints of Jesus
Lyrics by Mary B. Slade, pub. 1871
Music by Asa B. Everett
Sweetly, Lord, have we heard Thee calling,
Come, follow Me!
And we see where Thy footprints falling
Lead us to Thee.
Though they lead o’er the cold, dark mountains,
Seeking His sheep;
Or along by Siloam’s fountains,
Helping the weak.
If they lead through the temple holy,
Preaching the Word;
Or in homes of the poor and lowly,
Serving the Lord.
If Thy way and its sorrows bearing,
We go again,
Up the slope of the hillside, bearing
Our cross of pain.
Then, at last, when on high He sees us,
Our journey done,
We will rest where the steps of Jesus
End at His throne.
Footprints of Jesus,
That make the pathway glow;
We will follow the steps of Jesus
Where’er they go.
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