May 18 – The LORD Himself Watches Over You

Psalm 121 NLT

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.

1 I look up to the mountains— does my help come from there?
2 My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth!

3 He will not let you stumble;
the one who watches over you will not slumber.
4 Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps.

5 The LORD himself watches over you!
The LORD stands beside you as your protective shade.
6 The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night.

7 The LORD keeps you from all harm and watches over your life.
8 The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.

This psalm was written for the Jewish people as they travelled to Jerusalem for special religious observances. Most of them walked, and the journey could take several days depending on where you were coming from. You could stumble as you walked, you might face scorching hot days, or you might meet bandits along the way. This would be an encouraging song to sing as you walked along.

This is a psalm for us as we travel through life, especially now as we travel through this crazy pandemic time. There is one phrase that appears 5 times – “watches over you”. Verse 5 is super amazing. “The LORD himself watches over you!”

I don’t know about you, but my emotions are all over the place these days. I find the physical distancing so hard. On Mother’s Day, my daughter’s family came over for a few minutes, and we sat in our double car garage to avoid the cold and rain – 2 meters apart. I miss those hugs, especially from my almost 16 year old grandson who is 6 foot 3 inches, and loves to “crush me to death”, now that he can look down on grandma. Sometimes it’s just plain frustration, the inability to go to the store for some small thing I could use right now. I go for daily walks; some people say hi – others rush by with heads turned away. One of my daughters, and her university- aged daughter live with me. At supper time, conversation lags. What do you talk about when you are at home all day? Here we are on Victoria Day weekend, and how exciting are your plans? It’s just strange!

Does God care about me during this pandemic? Yes, he is watching over me!

“My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth”. This is no helpless God. He is the creator of the universe. He is powerful and knows exactly how everything works. He knows what is happening right now, and what will come tomorrow. He never sleeps. He is watching over you every minute 24/7. He is not looking away, caught up in some other event, and oops – he didn’t see what happened to you.

Verses 5 and 6 about protective shade and being cared for both day and night, remind me of the year we lived in Kenya. Kijabe was located on the Rift Valley Escarpment which was at a fairly high elevation. When we first got there, we found walking from our little house up to a higher level of the mission station left us gasping for breath. It took a few days to get accustomed to being that high up. We were also located close to the equator. During the day, it was usually over 100 degrees; it was really hot in the open sunshine, but bearable in the shade. At night it was cold, so, we lit the small fireplace in our home every night to keep warm. That stark contrast was also due to the high elevation. That experience really stresses God’s protection no matter how unusual the circumstances. God is our “protective shade” today.

“The LORD keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.” The Bible never promises that we will sail through life with no problems or difficult situations. The word “harm” can be better translated as disaster, something that can’t be fixed. We live in a broken world, and bad things happen. But God “watches over you” all through those hard situations. He watches over us as we “come and go” in our daily lives. He watches us “both now and forever”.

Joseph was an example of someone who experienced a lot of hardship. His brothers were jealous of him being Dad’s favourite son, so they sold him to a slave trader from Egypt. His master’s wife got upset when he refused to have sex with her, and Joseph ended up in prison for years. Through divine intervention, Joseph ended up a key government figure who managed the country through years of famine. When his brothers showed up looking for food, Joseph made sure they got what they needed, but also arranged to meet with them. They were embarrassed and frightened for their lives, knowing they had intended to harm Joseph. This is what Joseph told them: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” (Genesis 50: 20)

If you are having a hard time with all this pandemic stuff, keep this psalm handy to read. Know that God cares for you no matter what is happening. He is “watching over you”. Turn your eyes from all the frustrating, sad things, and look to him.

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” (1 Peter 5: 7)

Here is a hymn that echoes the thoughts of today’s devotions.

God Will Take Care of You – By Civilla Martin, 1904

Be not dismayed whate’er betide
God will take care of you
Beneath His wings of love abide
God will take care of you

God will take care of you
Through every day, o’er all the way
He will take care of you
God will take care of you

No matter what may be the test
God will take care of you
Lean, weary one, upon His breast
God will take care of you

God will take care of you
Through every day, o’er all the way
He will take care of you
God will take care of you

He will take care of you
God will take care of you

5 Replies to “May 18 – The LORD Himself Watches Over You”

  1. One of my favourite hymns. Brings back wonderful memories of my small country church in Nova Scotia where it was sung often.

  2. Thank you Audrey, it’s all so uplifting and a wonderful reminder of God’s love for all of us every minute of every day.

  3. Thank you Audrey even on this holiday you came through for us. I eagerly wait each morning for my Devotion.

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