GETTING?THE?MESSAGE/Rev. Chris Shelton
In Revelation chapter 7, we read of the saints of the Lord emerging from tribulation on earth clothed in white robes, exalting their King with palm branches. The Lord had distinguished them from the rest of men on earth by sealing them as his own. They had distinguished themselves, in response to his grace, by washing themselves in the blood of the Lamb, cleansed from sin.
They emerged as the faithful. They (in that sense) earned their palm branch to exalt their King, the Lamb of God. They had a perilous journey, with much tribulation to arrive there, but they walked by faith. It is implied that their motivation was from gratitude to the Lamb; they wanted a palm branch on the day that was to come, to wave it at Christ. This is the group we want to be counted among.
Psalm 121 is about saints on their way to worship the Lord, their Redeemer and King. The psalm provides assurance that the Lord is near to them on their journey, watching over them and protecting them. We are completely dependent upon the Lord, and need to listen carefully to his Word.
The psalmist begins by gazing at the hills before him on his journey, and asking the question, "From where does my help come?" The hills here probably represent temptations to look to idols for help. The prophets (see Ezekiel 6 as an example) condemn Israel when she worships in the hills at the "high places" of pagan deities, even though the Lord had promised help.
The Lord judges them as harlots, unfaithful to him. In Revelation, the world looks to the power of men, the wealth of possessions, among other things to give them security or contentment. But the psalmist distinguishes himself from these by declaring, "My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth." It is the Lord who is the Most High.
In the midst of this pandemic, we pray for our government leaders to have wisdom and righteousness as they make decisions that affect us all. We also are thankful for the people treating the sick and seeking a cure for this virus.
Nevertheless, events such as this point us to the reality of the world we are traveling through. We don't know the tribulations that lie around the next bend in the road, nor the number of our days. We do know the Lord tells us he is the one thing necessary, and that our greatest need is cleansing from sin and reconciliation with him. We need to draw near to him.
In Revelation 7, the saints went through great tribulation, yet declared (like the psalmist) that their help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. In Isaiah 51, the Lord rebukes his people for fearing men and placing their hope in men, rather than him. When the Lord rebukes us this way, he is directing us to what is good; where our ultimate and real help lies, which is in him.
In verses 3 and 4 we see that the Lord is upright, he keeps his promise. He doesn't fall asleep watching over his people and he doesn't let the feet of those who walk with him slip. When we have tribulation, we may wonder and be perplexed; our faith may waver. The Lord assures us here that he will uphold us.
The word "keep" is repeated over and over in the psalm. The believer is to know that the Lord is "he who keeps you." The keeping is upholding his people through the difficulties that are inevitable in this world, especially for those who follow Christ. It's been like that for all God's people.
Jacob obtained the blessing of God, given to his father Isaac and grandfather Abraham. He then found himself leaving everything because his brother Esau wanted him dead. He fell asleep, and in a dream saw the gateway to heaven
The Lord promised him, "I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." Jacob went through tribulations from that point until the end of his life. But the Lord kept him; he died in faith.
If you know Christ, you have been shown the gateway to heaven. And you have the same promise as Jacob. The Lord will keep you wherever you go, and bring you to the place where he is. So look to him, and walk before him.