Psalm 121 is a psalm of ascent written by David. Pilgrims sang it as they marched up to Jerusalem for one of the three yearly festivals.
As the pilgrims traveled up to Jerusalem, they used the hills around Jerusalem as a metaphor to express the source of their help.
The psalmist expresses trust in the protection and care while on the journey. The main theme in Psalm 121 is the safety God provides as we journey through life.
Along with the profession, "My help comes from the Lord" (Psalm 121:2a), is the qualifying title, "Maker of heaven and earth" (Psalm 121:2b).
Even on a short journey to Jerusalem, the travelers surely observed worship sites devoted to other deities. Thus, to confess that God was "Maker of heaven and earth" was to declare those other deities ineffective.
When the psalmist says the Lord did not slumber nor sleep, he was confirming that God could keep constant watch over Israel and its pilgrims. The point is emphasized by the six occurrences of the word "keep" or "keeper" to describe what God does and who God is.
Psalm 121 is well suited for the joy of our pilgrimage during the Lenten season on the way to Jesus' death, burial and resurrection. Even though there were many false gods all along the route to Jerusalem, Psalm 121 highlights a point that the Lord is "Maker of heaven and earth," the only one who gives and sustains life. The Lord is therefore the only one worthy of our devotion.
As you travel during this Lenten season, remember Psalm 121. Become one of the pilgrims going up to Jerusalem where God is the shade at your right hand. Also, know the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore (Psalm 121:8).
Reflect on this lesson throughout Day 12. You are invited to read Day 13 of the Lenten lessons.