On the journey of life, we are often tested by unavoidable circum- stances and events that threaten to harm or traumatize us. The Israelites prayed and sang today’s psalm, a “song of ascent,” as they made their pilgrimage to festivals in Jerusalem. As they traveled, they passed through mountains filled with dangerous possibilities while singing the question in verse 1: I lift up my eyes to the hills—from where will my help come?
We too are a pilgrim people who will pass through “many dangers, toils and snares” as “Amazing Grace” reminds us. Some come from natural causes like the sun and moon (v. 6), while others come from a supernatural source, like the evil we pray to be protected from (v. 7). But we need not be afraid because the Lord is our helper and, especially, our keeper (v. 5). Indeed, this psalmist promises five times that the Lord will keep us.
Far too often I am a worrier. I tend to fret about what might or could happen. Rather than being a “non-anxious” presence, I am nervous, always considering life’s contingencies. This psalm not only comforts me, it convicts me to trust in the keeping power of the Lord. The Lord is more than sufficient for any and all dangers I will face, real or imagined. The Lord, who made heaven and earth, is creator of all things (v. 2). The Lord never sleeps or slumbers (vv. 3-4). The Lord is present in all dangerous circumstances and will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and for evermore (v. 8).
Sometimes the Lord keeps us by preventing danger, other times by delivering us out of danger. At still other times, God sustains and strengthens us while we are experiencing danger. In whatever way the Lord keeps us, the response to the question “from where will my help come?” is my help comes from the LORD.
Name and identify the anxieties and fears with which you deal. Envision releasing them to receive God’s promise to keep you.
Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief. Amen.