18th September 2023
Rev Dr T. Jeyakumar shares that
God watches over us
Life is a journey with God.
And throughout the Bible, God has promised to see us through. The psalmist knows this as a fact, and in Psalm 121 -
the Pilgrim's Psalm - the writer is one who has experienced God in his religious journeys and in life.
He knows that God can be relied upon to guard us.
"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 psalmist looks up to the hills and mountains around as he goes on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
He knows that his help does not come from the hills or mountains, however great they may appear.
His help does not come from the soldiers that might have been posted there for the safety of the pilgrims.
So he rightly focused on God.
True help comes from God the maker of heaven and earth.
Why look to the hills when we can look to the God who created the hills?
God is the source of our security and guards us from danger.
Just like He guards the pilgrims going to Jerusalem, God will watch over you and me all through our lives. One can be confident that help comes from God.
"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."
God will not let your foot slip. He guards us. He is a God who is close to us, and His protection is immediate and personal. God stands ready at all times. He is not a God only 'up there', but He is a God who is down here with us.
The soldiers posted on the hills may fall asleep but God will not fall asleep.
He won't go off duty. The psalmist looks to the hills and he looks at the soldiers.
Then he looks beyond the guards and looks to God.
He knows God does not take His eyes off us.
So the psalmist goes to sleep.
There was a tribal group of people where it is said that in order to help their boys come of age emotionally and psychologically, the boys had to go to the thick jungle at night, sleep through the night alone and return to the village.
Then the boy is seen as a man. One day a boy was accompanied by his father to the thick jungle.
The father took him in and left him there and said, "I will come and get you in the morning."
When left alone the boy trembled. He could hardly see anything around him.
In fear and trembling he tried to go to sleep. At last, he dozed off.
When he woke up in the morning at the early hours of dawn, he could see someone seated nearby.
He then realised that while he was in absolute fear in the darkness, the whole night his father was there just a few feet away from him.
Likewise, God watches over us without sleeping.
What keeps you awake?
Fear of COVID-19, fear of darkness, trouble, problems at home, at school or at work? Prices of things going up?
Do we have the faith to commit ourselves to God?
Why should I stay awake and worry when God is awake and able to handle all my concerns?
"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. 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."
God is your shade at your right hand - this refers to someone who stands with you to offer protection in the face of opposition. Pilgrims were fearful of sunstroke. Those who travelled on foot for many hours can become emotionally ill, and ancient writers called this moonstroke (some of us call it lunacy).
The psalmist says God is our shade. God is our cover. We are not unprotected.
This psalm does not promise that we will know no unpleasant times on the journey in life.
The psalmist did not say there will be no sunstroke or moonstroke.
There are good Christian people who have slipped and fallen and died.
Christians do succumb to Covid-19 virus and die.
Some suffer for years because of other diseases.
Is the Psalmist wrong? Or is God unreliable?
Neither. Rather this psalm rejoices in the fact that God will be our Guard and He will see us through without falling asleep on the job. God protects us in the way that really matters. Nothing can separate us from God's purposes.
Nowhere in Scripture do we have promises that there will be no trouble or that Christians are exempt from difficulties.
What we are promised is that we are preserved even when evil comes.
"Deliver us from evil" from the Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6:5-15 is not "keep evil away from us", but "deliver us even when evil comes to us."
When I was young, I got up from my sleep in the middle of the night screaming.
My mother rushed into my room, switched on the light and asked me what happened.
I felt as if something so evil had attacked me and it was so real.
I asked my mother if she would sit by my side for some time until I fell asleep. She agreed to my request.
She then put her hand on my chest and sat next to my bed not just until I fell asleep but until dawn.
She then woke me up to go to school.
If my mother in her love for me would keep her promises, how much more God will keep His promises in His love for us!
Un-edited version and Bible references avaiable, on request
About the Author
Rev Dr T. Jeyakumar is President of the Trinity Annual Conference (TRAC) of the Methodist Church in Malaysia.
Having served in TRAC since 1991, he was ordained as Deacon in 1993 and Elder in 1996.
Rev Jeyakumar studied at Seminari Theoloji Malaysia and Malaysia Baptist Theological Seminary. He has pastored a number of churches and is passionate in equipping churches to grow.
Rev Jeyakumar is married to Grace Leong and they have two children, Ebenezer Jeya and Joanne Jeya. He is the author of two books, 'A Family-Friendly Church' and 'Touched by the Word'.