The Lord Is Our KeeperSeries: Turbulence
THE LORD IS OUR KEEPER
Pre-Sermon Study By Terry Siverd / May 23, 2020 / Cortland Church of Christ
Good morning to everyone. This coming Sunday will be 9th consecutive Sunday that we've been separated due to “the virus”. Our church shepherds have announced that we are planning to resume our Sunday morning worship assemblies beginning on Father's Day, June 21st. Lord willing, we're hoping to see a number of you on that occasion. Please visit our website for a list of protocols that will be followed when we come together again. We're hopeful that these protective measures will lessen your concerns and ease some anxieties.
Our plan for tomorrow (Sunday, March 24th) is to Livestream our sermon on Facebook at 9am. Shortly thereafter the sermon will be also posted on our church web page. The sermon will henceforth be accessible from both venues, for viewing at any time of the day or night. As we prepare our minds for tomorrow's sermon, I'd like us to meditate on the 121st Psalm. This short lesson will pave the way for tomorrow's message - - think of it as a pre-sermon Bible class.
Psalms 120-134 provide a cluster of fifteen psalms, known as Songs Of Ascent. All of these psalms are brief (13 of the 15 are comprised of just 3-8 verses, one has 9 and another 18). Throughout Old Testament times and also during the early days of the church, the children of Israel would participate in pilgrimage festivals. In particular there were three Jewish feasts, during which time all Jews were encouraged to travel to Jerusalem to take part in these holy days. These psalms of ascent were usually sung and or spoken aloud as they approached Jerusalem. Literally, they are called “songs of goings-up”. Jerusalem was a city set on a hill and from every compass point one would ascend to that holy hill. We can only imagine how exciting it would be for the children of Israel to return home. That final ascent must have been such a joyful leg, overflowing with much anticipation. Many of the children of Israel were living in foreign lands, some far removed from their roots. And for many of them, their life beyond Jerusalem left a lot to be desired. These psalms of ascent, as we might expect, express a wide range of emotions. For example:
Ps.120:1/In my trouble I cried to the Lord, and He answered me ... Ps.122:1/I was glad when they said to me, 'Let us go to the house of the Lord.” ... Ps.123:1/To Thee I lift up my eyes, O Thou who art enthroned in the heavens ... Ps.124:1-3/Had it not been the Lord who was on our side...when men rose up against us; They would have swallowed us alive ... Ps.125:1/Those who trust in the Lord are as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever ... Ps.127:1/Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it ... Ps.128:1/How blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways ... Ps.130:1/Out of the depth I have cried to Thee, O Lord ... Ps.133:1 / Behold, how good and pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!
As I mentioned earlier, our study this morning come from Psalm 121.
Regarding these songs of ascent, John Stott notes: These little psalms all breathe a spirit of quiet, undaunted faith in Israel's God, the Maker of heaven and earth. Undaunted is defined as, “not discouraged or disheartened; resolute or fearless”. It was their FAITH IN JEHOVAH GOD that led them to be brave and courageous.
At the very outset, the psalmist declares (Ps.121:1b-2) - - From whence shall my help come? My help comes FROM THE LORD, Who made heave and earth. But, as the psalmist reveals, our God is not just our CREATOR, He is our KEEPER. The ONE who speaks things into existence, is also the SUSTAINER of His creatures. This word KEEP or KEEPER is used six times in this brief psalm.
Vs.3 / He who keeps you will not slumber ... Vs.4 / Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep ... vs.5 / The Lord is your keeper ... Vs.7 / The Lord will protect (keep) you from all evil; He will keep your soul ... Vs.8 / The Lord will guard (keep) your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever.
What a wonderful text to keep close to our hearts: THE LORD IS OUR KEEPER.
We are resting in the promise that You are our keeper.
Keep us in the palm of Your hand.
Cover us with Your outstretched wings we pray.
Protect us and guard us in these tumultuous times.
Through Christ, the anchor of our Soul, we pray. Amen