I lift up my eyes to the hills - from where will my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. 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 on and forevermore." (Psalm 121:1-8)
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Do you want to know one of my un-super powers? You know... those anti-talents that we all seem to possess.
Well, you see, I have incredible ability to lose most things.
Yep... You can call it as it is: I am literally a Loser. And everyone that is close to me knows this quite well.
When I was a kid, I went through an average of 5 jackets a year. Not because I was growing so much, but because I kept losing them in the most random places. In my lifetime, I have lost about 15 jackets, 10 wallets, 5 pairs of keys, and a host of other much needed things.
If you want to keep something... trust me...do not hand it to Greg.
And I am not alone in this! Research shows that we all lose an average of 9 items everyday. If you ask me, "keeping" is not something that we humans are very good at doing.
But as you read in today's passage, there is One Being on earth - and beyond the earth - whose limitless superpowers include being a "Keeper:"
"He will not let your foot be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper...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 on and forevermore."
Today's psalmist wanted to express so badly that God "keeps," that he chose to say it six different times. This word literally means to remain with; to set aside; to guard; to watch; to limit access to; to protect; to secure; to care for deeply; and to cling to.
David - at this time in his life - is thought to be journeying to a distant place. And today's psalm was sung at dawn in preparation for the day's journey.
In lifting his eyes up towards God, he wanted to remind himself that the Lord keeps. And what to the Lord keeps, no one can take away. With this reminder, David was able to renew his confidence and boldness for the day.
Unlike our slumbering hearts - fickle and in constant need of rest and refreshment - the Lord is ever alert. He watches over what is His. He actively keeps what He keeps.
I look at the synonyms above and I am reminded of a word used in John's gospel: abide. Much like the hebrew word for "keep," this word means "to cling to" and "to remain with." It is a word that demands a choice for us to make.
But when I look at the word "keep," the Hebrew denotes a constant - meaning it has no choice. Where we are called to abide in God, despite our unfaithfulness, He is always faithfully keeping us.
This is beautiful.
Whatever journey unfolds in our day, the Lord watches over us with a protecting hand. He has set us apart for good. His eyes are always on our path. And His hands are always close by. Like David writes, He shades us from both the strike of day and the evil of night.
But like David, this reminder should renew our confidence and boldness for the day. You see, David sung this so that he would mindfully place himself in the Lord protection. Though he was always kept by the Lord, he needed to cognitively remind himself of this.
And this is what we must do today. Though we are always cared for, guarded, and made secure by the Lord, let us mindfully place ourselves in that care - meaning let's recognize it today and let it shape how we act, speak, and think.
[What would someone "kept" by the Lord do, say, and think?]
Let us know in today's Instagram post! You can find it at Instagram.com/DeclareGlory
Greg, Declare Glory