I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come?
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun will not smite you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul.
The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever.
Crisis and chaos have a way of revealing the things we depend on most. Times like this force us to take a hard look at the places we run to for help. When you are lost, where do you look? When your circumstances are out of your control, where do you start reaching for help? When you feel vulnerable or exposed, where do you look for security and safety? When you feel bombarded by temptation or darkness, what do you take as a shield?
The words of this psalm were intended to echo the heart of a traveler making his or her way to Jerusalem for worship. It is included in a group of psalms known as the Songs of Ascent (Pss. 120–134). These psalms serve as a reminder that, as you go, and no matter what you face on the journey, the Lord is the one who keeps you along the way. He is the guide, protector, provider, and keeper. Just as a worshiper might say or sing these words on the way to worship, they should be the words that mark our life’s journey with the Lord. They help reorient our eyes to see Him, our words to cry out to Him, our hands to trust Him for provision, and our feet to follow Him in obedience.
Moments of crisis and chaos often serve to remind us where to reach, and where not to reach, for help. We all reach out to the wrong things thinking they will hold us up when we lose our footing. We might even reach for good things, like our family, our disciplines, or our work. But those will never be our truest help. These moments can act as a barometer of sorts to see how we trust the Lord. Do we actually trust that He cares for us? Do we actually trust that He is in control? Do we actually trust that He is the Good Shepherd who keeps guard over us?
● Where do you typically go first for help in times of need? To your spouse? Your friends? Scripture? What keeps you from turning to the Lord for help first?
● Where in your life do you currently need the Lord to “keep” you most? Where do you need Him to set up a guard for help and protection?
● Take some time to repent for the ways you look to other things or other people for help first. Repent for the ways you place your trust elsewhere. Ask the Lord to reorient your gaze to look to Him for the help you need in your current season.