This is one of the Psalms of Ascent (Psalms 120-134). These psalms would have been sung at certain times of the year as God’s people made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the required festivals (Passover, Pentecost, Booths/Tabernacles). There were no real roads at the time, just well-worn pathways over the hills and through the valleys and there were many dangers along the way. This Psalm expresses God’s care for His people along that journey, no matter how difficult it might be. Life for us is an uphill climb with lots of dangers along the way. However, God’s tender care for us as our Father is the ever-present defense of the Christian.
I. The Situation (verse 1)
Implied in the question, “From where shall my help come?” is the fact that the Psalmist is in need of help. The journey is dangerous and he is in need of protection and provision along the way. The parable of the Good Samaritan offers an example of the dangers while traveling (Luke 10:30).
II. The Solution (verse 2)
The help the Psalmist needs comes only from the Lord. The Psalmist knew where to go in the midst of his trials. This is the simplicity of the Christian life—look to the Lord for everything! He is sovereign over all realms: “Who made heaven and earth.” Since He made heaven and earth, surely He has the capacity, competency, and strength to be our help! He is the Lord our God, the Almighty, who reigns (cf. Revelation 19:6). He possesses all creating power (Genesis 1), sustaining power (Hebrews 1:3), redeeming power (1 Corinthians 1:18), sanctifying power (1 Thessalonians 5:23), and resurrecting power (Mark 5:41; John 11:43). To imagine a god that is less than all-powerful is to imagine an idol—it is the worship of a god that does not exist. God’s omnipotence is forever unchanging. Only a fool would seek help elsewhere!
III. Sleepless Support (verses 3-4)
God’s keeping care is intense. He exercises ceaseless vigilance in His guardianship of His people. The promise is not that temptation and affliction will never come, but that in temptation and affliction we will not be overcome. We will fall, but He will keep us from falling away. Those in Christ will rise again, “Because the Lord is the One who holds [our] hand” (Psalm 37:23).
IV. Sustaining Shade (verses 5-6)
Strength and support for the journey may still leave us vulnerable to elements affecting us. Shade provides relief and comfort in the midst of oppressive circumstances. The sun will not disappear and the dark nights will not dissipate; but God is our shade during such difficulties. We will not be free of trouble, but we will be preserved through it. The “right hand” is the most fitting place to provide protection and defense. God is always at hand, always watching over His people.
V. Soul’s Savior (verses 7-8)
Foes and adversaries stand not a chance against the Lord. God knows and is committed to delivering His people from all snares, plots, guilt, sin, difficulty near, problems far, death, and hell. Rather than closing His eyes or plugging His ears as we face the dangerous trials of life, God opens His arms to strengthen, support, and save us. God keeps His people for the endless ages of eternity.
- The point of this Psalm is not that we will not have problems, but that we will have problems. And when we do, God will keep us through them all. Where do you look when trials come your way? What types of things have you looked to in the past in the hopes of finding the help you need? Where are most likely to look today when troubles come? Based on this Psalm, what is the only appropriate response of the heart to trials of any sort? Are you looking to the Lord for help in your current troubles?