As we close out Streams of Refreshment, I felt that Psalm 121 was the perfect place to stay and rest upon. Let’s find the refreshment this stream has for those of us in this troubled world.
I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
The first stop at this stream is at the lower part of it, looking up to the hills. It is in the hills the Jewish apostates set up shrines to other gods. The question is the ask, “From where does my help come from?” With the answer being it is the Lord, who made everything, is where our help comes from. Now our eyes are taken off of creation for help and placed on a higher place, Heaven where God dwells. Like Jerusalem being on the top of the mountain, so one has to look up to the temple. Travelers, as they saw Jerusalem on the mountain top, knew that the temple where God dwelled was there and they could find help there.
He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The next stop along the stream is no matter what happens around us, our feet are stable upon our trust in Him. There may be some gravel along the way or a loose rock gives way out from underneath us, He will not let that move us from getting to know Him better. One thing we know for sure God will not stop His vigilant watch over us. Unlike us who fight to stay a wake on New Year’s Eve, nodding off every once in a while to jerk back awake until the next time, God “will neither slumber or sleep.” Aren’t these two words that mean the same thing? Yes and no. The Hebrew word for slumber is nûwm – noom, which means drowsy, like the nodding off on New Year’s Eve. While sleep is the word yâshên – yaw-shane’, it means to be asleep. It is safe to say from His place above the hills God watches over us even when we are asleep to keep us safe.
The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
Not only does the Lord constantly watches over us. Let’s look at the Roman guards that were placed to keep watch over the tomb. Their one and only job was not to let anyone take the body of Jesus. They were the keeper of the tomb. Should they fall asleep it would be the death sentence for them. Should they lose their prisoner, at this assignment, it was the dead body of Jesus inside a tomb with a huge boulder rolled over the entrance and sealed with the seal of Rome, it would mean death. Yet, they were no force to go against the resurrection power of God, Almighty. The failed in keeping Jesus in the tomb. Unlike the Lord who is our shade on our right hand.
Unlike the Lord who is our shade on our right hand. That means He protects our strength. Growing up in Califonia, summer meant trips to the beach with the youth group from church. It also meant the following Sunday most of us were sunburnt. No one wanted to move or raise their arms due to the pain. When you are out in the Sun and the heat it is very exhausting, zapping your strength. Shade is a major protection from the heat and burning sun.
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 forth and forevermore.
When I was 27, in all my wisdom, I bought a Chevy Blazer and planned a trip across the U.S. About a week before my trip I noticed the temperature gauge didn’t work and took it into the dealer. They were unable to get the part until the following week, cutting way into the time I needed to drive to Colorado. I had them place an aftermarket part on and went on my way. On the day I left on the trip about an hour away from home. I had looked down at the aftermarket temperature gauge and looked back up to see a big piece of tire on the road. I went around it on the right side of the road and the Blazer bucked violently then flipped end over end. When the dust settled I had a compound fracture of the left ankle, broke and tore the left knee and ligament, and broke the right hand and wrist. Looking back at it now, the faulty temperature gauge could have been God’s way to keep me from falling into evil’s harm. A single young woman on a road trip by herself. But because I knew better than Him and went anyways, He had to step in with a more drastic way to prevent me from going.
You may think that God wouldn’t do something like that. Let me point out a couple of miracles that happened. First, I had basically a full tank of gas, and the battery came out of the Blazer as it was flipping preventing it from causing a fire also none of the gas had leaked out. Next, I was in the middle of the California high desert, the only car in the accident, and at the just happened to be an off duty highway patrol officer going in the opposite direction who was the first responder. He grabbed his first aid kit and put an air cast on my left ankle, I had moved to rest on the dashboard because I knew enough that it needed to be elevated. Even though I ended up on the floorboard, my seatbelt was still fastened around me and kept me from being thrown from the car. Down at my hometown hospital, the young Jewish orthopedic dreaded coming into my room the next day to change the cast and dressing on my leg after doing a seven-hour surgery on it the day before. He was 100% sure when they opened up my leg it would be showing signs of infection because of the lack of treatment the non-trauma hospital I was sent to at first. I had lost three inches of bone to the dirt, there was dirt ground into the end of the bone. The other hospital left the bone exposed for over eight hours as I fought with them to send me to my hospital which with lights and sirens would be a forty minute trip. When my doctor did finally come into the room he was surprised there was no sign at all of any infection.
We can find refreshment knowing God is our help and He is watching out for what is best in our lives. Rest on that.