Romans 8:28 (NLT) – And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
“The promise of [Psalm 121]…is not that we shall never stub our toes but that no injury, no illness, no accident, no distress will…be able to separate us from God’s purposes in us.” [Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, p. 42]
God’s providence ensures us that he is continually involved in our lives to make sure everything goes according to his plan.
What does it mean when “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them?”
How can we practically “love God” today and be assured of our “calling” in him?
Romans 8:26-27 tells us that “Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness” and when we don’t know what to pray for, the “Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words” and“the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.”
As we close in prayer, let’s pray in the Spirit to align our hearts and lives with his will and purposes. Let’s also pray that more of God’s will would be accomplished in our ministries and communities as we continue to submit and yield to him.
Psalm 121:7-8 (MSG)
God guards you from every evil,
he guards your very life.
He guards you when you leave and when you return,
he guards you now, he guards you always.
“The Christian life is going to God. In going to God Christians travel the same ground that everyone else walks on, breathe the same air, drink the same water, shop in the same stores…The difference is that each step we walk, each breath we breathe, we know we are preserved by God, we know we are accompanied by God, we know we are ruled by God; and therefore no matter what doubts we endure or what accidents we experience, the Lord will guard us from every evil, he guards our very life.” [Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, p. 45]
The extent of God’s care is far and wide. List all the things that God “guards” (v.7-8).
According to this Psalm, is there anything that is out of God’s reach?
“Regardless of the vicissitudes of one’s life – whether at work or at home, whether in sleep or when awake – the Lord is there to help and protect.” [Willem VanGemeren, Psalms – Expositor’s Bible Commentary, p. 896]
As we close in prayer, take a moment to worship God for his comprehensive care over our lives, families, ministries, communities. Let’s also pray for that we would live a life that is constantly and consistently “going to God.”
Psalm 121:5-6 (NLT)
The Lord himself watches over you!
The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
The sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon at night.
“Psalm 121 says that the same faith that works in the big things works in the little things. The God of Genesis 1 who brought light out of the darkness is also the God of this day would guards you from every evil.” [Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, p. 44]
Some people get sunburned very easily. But rarely is anyone so sensitive to light that they get burned by the moon! Yet in this psalm, this is the extent of God’s detailed protection over the people he loves.
There is no challenge, illness, or problem too big or too small for God. According to Eugene Peterson, “the only serious mistake we can make is supposing that God’s interest in us waxes and wanes in response to our spiritual temperature.”
Is God too busy to care about the little things in our lives? Is God too upset with us to deal with our big self-inflicted issues?
How can we avoid falling into the trap of making the mistake of supposing that God’s interest in our lives changes based on our spiritual temperament?
As we close in prayer, ask God to help us develop a correct view of his love and passion to watch over every aspect of our lives.
Psalm 121:3-4 (NIV)
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The phrase “he who watches” is derived from the Hebrew term for “guardian.”
“What does the doctrine of Yahweh’s guardianship mean? He protects, guides, and blesses his own. He will not permit them to totter or stumble.” [Willem VanGemeren, Psalms – Expositor’s Bible Commentary, p. 895]
More than just our Guardian, God guards us all day, all night, and all the time! He never sleeps and never tires. He never stops protecting us, guiding us, and blessing us!
When was the last time you pulled an all-nighter? When was the last time you overslept? How does the fact that God never rests assure you of his protection, guidance, and blessing?
Is there an area in your life that you need God’s immediate protection or direction? If so, present your request to God and trust in him.
How can you practically live in this reality and depend on God’s incessant guardianship in your life?
As we close in prayer, ask God to help us depend on his protection and guidance in all aspects of our lives, families, and communities.
Psalm 121:1-2 (MSG)
I look up to the mountains;
does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from God,
who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.
“During the time this psalm was written and sung, Palestine was overrun with popular pagan worship. Much of this religion was practiced on hilltops. Shrines were set up, groves of trees were planted, sacred prostitutes both male and female were provided; persons were lured to the shrines to engage in acts of worship that would enhance fertility of the land, would make you feel good, would protect you from evil.” [Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, p. 40]
Psalm 121 gives us a snapshot of a Jewish sojourner on the way to Jerusalem. He or she may look up and see the majestic mountains littered with idols and pagan statues, and be tempted to wonder if there is another way to live, another source of strength. But the answer is “No!” A look to the hills for help will always end in disappointment. The Lordis our strength and we look to him alone.
Have you ever grown weary on your faith journey, or felt like there may be another better way to live this life?
Why is it important to remember that God “made heaven, earth, and mountains?”
As you close in prayer, ask God to help you fix your eyes on him. He alone is our help and source of strength.