The 121st Psalm in the 21st Century!



YOUNG'S LITERAL TRANSLATION OF THE BIBLE
Psalm 121 {A Song of the Ascents}
I lift up mine eyes unto the hills,
Whence doth my help come?
2My help [is] from Jehovah,
maker of heaven and earth,
3He suffereth not thy foot to be moved,
Thy preserver slumbereth not.
4Lo, He slumbereth not, nor sleepeth,
He who is preserving Israel.
5Jehovah [is] thy preserver,
Jehovah [is] thy shade on thy right hand,
6By day the sun doth not smite thee,
Nor the moon by night.
7Jehovah preserveth thee from all evil,
He doth preserve thy soul.
8Jehovah preserveth thy going out and thy coming in,
From henceforth even unto the age!

PSALMS OF GRACE 
THE 121st PSALM IN THE 21st CENTURY!
This teaching focuses on how the 121st Psalm can encourage us in our present day.
Part I summarizes this Psalm in greater detail and is divided into three sections for our learning:
Strong in the Lord; I Shall Not Be Moved; and Fellow Laborers with God.
Part II is divided into these same sections for our practical application in the Age of Grace.

PART I 
A.  STRONG IN THE LORD 
Verse 1-2
Verse one appropriately reads as a question: From where does my help come? You see this in Strong's Concordance as well. If you hover over the KJV translation (the first appearance of the verse at the top), a pop up window will reveal a question mark after 'whence'.
In verse two, the Psalmist answers the question using a figure of speech: Anadiplosis – The same word or phrase at the end of a sentence is used at the beginning of the next sentence. In verse one, he asks, "From where does my help come?" In verse two, he answers, "My help comes from the Lord." Figures of speech are used in God's Word to add emphasis and call attention to a specific point being made.
Will he look to those who dwell on the earth for help? OR will he look to The Creator of the heavens and earth for help? This is a great way to gain a proper perspective. Thankfully, we don't have to rely only on our skills or abilities. We rely on the strength and abilities of God when we trust in Him to fulfill His promises. Rather than focusing on our insufficiency, we focus on God as our sufficiency. Notice how focused the Psalmist is on GOD, the source of his help, rather than on himself. Think about it for a moment. Let this reality sink in: The almighty GOD, Creator of the heavens and the earth, promises He will help His people. He stands behind His Word with His power. Our help comes from the same God of the Old Testament, but we have even more available today.

B.  I SHALL NOT BE MOVED
In verse three, The Psalmist tells us God would not allow his foot to be moved as he looked to and trusted in God as his help. There's a pattern in the Old testament. Notice when the Israelites believed God and acted upon His specific instruction, they were freed from bondage in Egypt; the Red Sea was parted for them; David defeated Goliath; and the list goes on and on. Do you see the pattern? In each instance, the enemy was defeated and the believer prevailed. When they didn't believe God, their foundation was shaken and they fell into all sorts of trouble. When they believed and focused on God, they stood on a firm foundation and God would not allow their foot to be moved.
Verse three proceeds to state details concerning what God will not allow to happen as he trusts in God. When we look to God as our help and obey His Word, He will not allow us to be moved, either. We stand on a firm foundation. We'll see this later in the Gospel of Matthew. In this verse, "keepeth" can be translated 'to watch' or 'preserve'. Again we are reminded that God watches over and preserves His people. The Psalmist experientially knew the preserving power of God. (Psalm 27:1-14) As we prove God in our lives, we grow to trust Him more and we move forward to claim even greater victories. Some things never change. God, for instance, tells us, "I am the LORD. I change not." (Malachi 3:6) The pattern hasn't changed either. In order to prevent ourselves from being tricked and deceived in this world, we need to use the resources God has made available, and follow His specific instruction.
In Verse four,  he repeats God doesn't slumber or sleep, adding further emphasis. He can't be caught off guard. There is never a time when we seek God that He is not available. He's always alert and vigilant. He's always there to help us, to hear our prayers, to deliver us and provide for our every need. We gained citizenship in heaven when we were born again, and we are His sons and daughters, eternally. This carries with it many rights and privileges, including God's protection, which God freely gives to us. We have the power of God in Christ in us when we are born again and it is always available for us to act upon and claim. 


C.  FELLOW LABORERS WITH GOD
We've seen the power of God in previous verses, but in Verse five, we see how God is alongside him as he acts upon His promises and serves the one true God. We see more clearly the authority of God. He uses a formal name for God, Yahweh, LORD Jehovah, meaning master, absolute ruler, and signifying the Master's omnipotence and all power. He has power and authority to reign at all times, in all places, regarding all things. He has no limitations. The Psalmist had all the resources of God working with him and for him as he moved forward. Our adversary has limited power and must work within the confinement and resources God has created. God has unlimited power and resources. God's plans WILL come to pass. To see the omnipotence of God we need not even look past the first page:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth…
And God said, Let there be light: And there was light.


21 And Moses said, The people, among whom I am,
are six hundred thousand footmen;
and thou hast said, I will give them flesh,
that they may eat a whole month.
22 Shall the flocks and the herds be slain for them,
to suffice them?
or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them,
to suffice them?
23 And the LORD [Jehovah] said unto Moses,
Is the LORD'S [Jehovah's] hand waxed short?
thou shalt see now whether my word
shall come to pass unto thee or not.

Notice when Moses had a problem believing God's promise, he went straight to God, and God was there to remind him His arm was not cut short. He was ABLE AND WILLING to perform what He promised as Moses led the people according to God's instruction. This is the power the Psalmist had at his right hand, the hand with which he would work, go to battle and fight. God would fight with him and for him, being his defender; all while under the shade of God's protection and safety.
Verse six shows us the elements in this world will not be allowed to harm God's people when we look to Him for help. We have nothing to fear in this world, because we are under the protection of The all-powerful God.

But now thus saith the LORD that created thee,
O Jacob, and he that formed thee,
O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee,
I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.
2When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee;
and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee:
when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned;
neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

Though the fiery sun may burn all around him, it cannot touch him under the shade of God's protection. This reminds me of how the fiery darts of the wicked are quenched by the shield of faith. As we put on the full armor of God, and act according to the Word, we stand upon a solid foundation protected from the elements of this world.

24 Therefore whosoever hearth
these sayings of mine, and doeth them,
I will liken him unto a wiseman,
which built his house upon a rock:
25 And the rain descended,
and the floods came
and the winds blew,
and beat upon that house; and it fell not:
for it was founded upon a rock.

In Psalm 121:7, we are reminded God watches over and guards every detail and aspect of our lives, leaving no stone unturned and no aspect of our lives unguarded. He guards us from ALL evil. The false god of this world and the spiritual forces at work in the world are defeated as we put on the whole armor of God, offensively and defensively. We can stand against spiritual darkness and withstand any circumstance. This world and our earthly bodies are temporal but we will receive new bodies at the return of Christ and will be forever with God. Nothing that happens to us in this world can take away salvation from a born again son of God. It's permanent. The ransom has been paid. We belong to God and have been reconciled, so we cannot be taken from Him. Therefore, the tactic of the enemy is to try to prevent believers from carrying out their ministry of reconciliation so others won't be born again. Another tactic is to try to steal future rewards we have when we live the Word.
Psalm 121:8,  reiterates God's constant reliability and presence, wherever we come and go, He is always protecting and shielding us from all that is within the world. Omnipresence is an attribute that God alone can claim. Our adversary is not everywhere present (1 Peter 5:8), but God is everywhere we come and go.

Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage;
be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed:
for the LORD thy God [is] with thee whithersoever thou goest.

The eyes of the LORD are in every place,
beholding the evil and the good

*More verses demonstrating the omnipresence of God*
Psalm 145:18; Psalm 139:7-12; Jeremiah 23:23-24; Isaiah 66:1; Amos 9:2-3; Acts 17:27-28

We also see in this verse the sixth usage of the Hebrew word 'shamar', meaning to preserve, keep and guard. What confidence we can have in our heavenly Father as we look to Him for help! Just as we look to the hope of the return of Christ, the old testament prophets dreamed of the day the Messiah would come and fulfill the prophecies God revealed to them. We can rejoice, because Christ has come and we have the ability to live their dream.



PART II
LIVING THE DREAM 
A.  STRONG IN THE LORD
Just as the Psalmist looked to God rather than relying only on man for his help, today in the spiritual competition, we rely on God for our help. From a spiritual perspective, what help will we gain by relying only on five senses information and resources?  We know from Ephesians 6:12, today we wrestle not against flesh and blood. It is a spiritual competition. Flesh and blood cannot compete in a spiritual competition. When we are born again, we receive the gift of holy spirit and have access to the spiritual power necessary to compete spiritually. The book of Romans introduces us to doctrine concerning how we are to live according to our new spiritual life in Christ. The book of Ephesians, which is also a doctrinal epistle, picks up that subject and unravels it to us in greater detail and depth, addressing the "faithful in Christ Jesus," the mature believers, in Ephesians  1:1. We gain instruction in how to live in the Grace Administration. We learn how to walk in a new way, according to the new life we received in Christ when we were born again and received the gift of holy spirit. The companion Bible by E.W.Bullinger points out the Believer's position in Ephesians is seated with Christ in the heavenlies  and he notes half of the doctrine of Ephesians concerns our standing and the remainder concerns our state. Once we are born again, we remain forevermore a child of God, a new spiritual being. However, whether we live according to our new spiritual nature, and apply the doctrine of the Word in our lives, is our choice. We belong to the Lord. We have been redeemed (bought back). We always have Christ in us, but how we live determines whether we are "in the Lord" or "in Christ."

I have elaborated on these verses with detailed definitions
based upon the following Biblical Research Materials:

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance to the Bible 
(Hover over the words in each verse to see details and Strong's numbers.
You may find Strong's definitions vague and out of context at times,
as they are very literal and do not always take into account verb tense,
figures of speech, and the context in which the words are written)


Young's Literal Translation of the Bible
Young's Analytical Concordance to the Bible
The Companion Bible
Figures of Speech in the Bible
Manners and Customs of the Bible




THE SPIRITUAL WALK
Ephesians 6:10-17 KJV

10 Finally ['Ioipon'-from here forward],
my brethren, be strong ['endunamoo'-empowered; strengthened] in the Lord 
     'strong in the Lord'
[To acquire strength from being in the Lord]
Our access to the inherent power of God, which gives us strength, lies within the renewed mind walk according to the Word, as the new man in Christ, not according to the old man ways. If we want to access  spiritual power, we must access it spiritually.
[See also Ephesians 4:22-24 and The Companion Bible by E.W.Bullinger]

and in the power ['kratos'-strength; exerted power with an impact which produces a result]
the whole armor ['panoplia' The Companion Bible references 'panoply'- A full suit of armor;
protective covering; a magnificent or impressive array] of God,
that ye may be able [''dunamai'-have power]
to stand against the wiles ['methodeia'-craftiness; deceit; cunning devices]
of the devil ['diabolos'-slanderous false accuser who tries to throw you off your path
in order to disturb the believer’s connection and fellowship with God.]
The next section in Ephesians define the 'panoplia' of God. The Magnificent, impressive array of the protective armor of God is listed here. Take note that we NEED the ENTIRE array, EVERY component of this armor (the FULL suit) in order to stand against the crafty methods of the false god of this world. The Companion Bible notes there are seven components of this protection. You can refer to Numbers in Scripture by E.W.Bullinger for more details concerning their significance, but his extensive study reveals the number seven represents spiritual perfection.



B. I SHALL NOT BE MOVED
Ephesians 6 continued

14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth
     'gird your loins'
In Biblical times this technically meant to tie up long, loose clothes so they were more practical when traveling. This is an Idiom, which  figuratively emphasizes the importance of mental preparation with the Word of God for a difficult task. Keeping the accurate truth of God's Word in our minds prepares us for the spiritual task that lies ahead.

and having on ['endue'-putting on; be clothed with] the breastplate of righteousness 
Our own righteousness is insufficient (Isaiah 64:6), but when we were born again we were made righteous in the accomplishments of Jesus Christ and it is a sonship right we can claim as sons of God. The righteousness of God is our sufficiency in the spiritual competition. We are instructed to clothe ourselves with His righteousness-renew our minds to the Word and act accordingly. This is vital to our lives if we do not want to be deceived by condemnation and distracted or caught off guard by focusing on our insufficiency. We need to have our thoughts well arranged, our minds renewed, and our focus on God, to defeat our adversary in the spiritual competition.
(1 Peter 5:8; Romans 6:1-2; Matthew 6:33)
We keep the Word in mind so that we can live it. When we are walking "in the spirit" or "in Christ," we are under God's armor. Being born again gives us access to the armor, but we have to "put it on." The renewed mind walk of believing places us under God's armor. When we fall down, we don't stay down. We ask for forgiveness and we forgive others. 
(1John 1:9; 2 Corinthians 2:10-11; 2 Corinthians 10:5)
We get back to living the Word - (Isaiah 26:3)

16 Above all, taking the shield of faith ['pistes'-faithfulness, believing],
wherewith ye shall be able ['dunamais'-have power]
to quench all ['pas'-every]the fiery darts [that which is thrown at a target] of the wicked. 
17 And take ['dechomai'-receive, accept]
[1 corinthians 1:18; Romans 12:1-2; Keep an eternal perspective; Matthew 6:20]


C.  FELLOW LABORERS WITH GOD 
What stands out to me about the 121st Psalm is the confidence the Psalmist had in the absolute power and authority of the one true God. He knew God would be right there with him every step of the way and he had all the resources of God available to him, just as we have the whole armor of God available to us. This is expressed in Romans:

Romans 8:31-34 KJV
31 What shall we then say to these things? If God [be] for us, who [can be] against us?
If God is working on our behalf; for our sakes; over and beyond what we alone can do,
Who can hold us back or bring us down from our position as sons of God?

3He that spared not his own Son, but delivered  him up for us all
He gave His only begotten Son for the purpose that we ALL might live unto salvation, because He cares about each and every one of us individually and has set each one of us as members in particular for a purpose in His Household.

how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 
How and why would He not give us, in association with what He's already given us, everything we need to fully live the reality of what God has made available? Why would He show His divine favor to us in the new birth and not show His favor to us as we act upon what He has given us within the new birth?

33 Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?
Who shall make any demands of God's people, God's sons and daughters, God's favorites, those under God's protection? Who shall say we are indebted to them or that we owe them anything?

[It is] God that justifieth.
The debt we owed as a result of our sin, according to the law, has been paid in full and nothing more is owed. Jesus Christ was the perfect legal sacrifice required as payment for our sin and God has legally declared us "not guilty." Therefore, we have freedom from guilt and condemnation. God let it go, so can we. (Romans 5:1; Hebrews 10:1-18)

34 Who [is] he that condemneth? [It is] Christ that died, yea rather,
that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
Who can give a judgement against you? Did they die for you and pay your debt of sin so that you owe them? OR Did CHRIST, The Anointed One, the Messiah, die on your behalf and pay your debt? Let me rephrase that question: Who would you rather serve? Christ who loved you enough to die on your behalf and even today is at the right hand of the almighty God conferring with Him on your behalf? OR The Author of confusion and death who desires to steal your sweet fellowship with God? Hmmm…let me think. Tough. Choice. I don't know if the Word of God has provided enough information for me to make an informed decision. I'm rarely sarcastic, but just as the Psalmist says, "Do I lift up mine eyes to the hills for my help? (NO!) My help comes from the LORD.There is much for us to do here and now in our Ministry of Reconciliation and we are laborers together with God. He wants our focus and our full attention so He can help us do what He has called us to do.

1 Corinthians 3:9 KJV
For we are laborers together with God:
ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building..


Ephesians 2:19-22 KJV
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners,
but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets,
Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
21 In whom all the building fitly framed together
groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
22 In whom ye also are builded together
for an habitation of God through the Spirit.


Acts 17:27-28 KJV
27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him,
and find him, though he be not far from every one of us
28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being
as certain also of your own poets have said,
For we are also his offspring.

I'll close with this thought:
In Him we live, and move, and have our being.
And that brings…


PSALMS OF GRACE
THE PSALMS IN THE 21st CENTURY
This is the second teaching in my new "Psalms of Grace" SeriesI began writing on this topic as a result of a wonderful conversation I shared while witnessing to a new believer. She was particularly blessed with Psalm 121, and God opened the door for witnessing concerning our new life in Christ. The conversation was gently led of God from the old to the new. As a child, when I was struggling and seeking God in a specific situation, I would turn to the book of Psalms. I know others who have done so, also. I turned to Psalms because it was relatable and Psalms forms dramatic mind pictures of the matters of life. Even someone who has never picked up a Bible may know of the story of David & Goliath, in which the power of God triumphs over the power of the enemy. People quote the 23rd Psalm, and sometimes they just pick up their bible and read through the verses. Old Testament scriptures are for our learning.

For whatsoever things were written aforetime
[prior to the day of Pentecost]
were written for our learning,
that we through patience and comfort
of the scriptures might have hope

We are now in the Grace Administration. The New testament introduces the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies, beginning with the birth of Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah. However, the Grace Administration began on the day of Pentecost, when the new birth was made available. Today we are in a spiritual competition and I enjoy seeing the parallel between the Old Testament and the New Testament. I enjoy how Old Testament studies can give us insight and tremendous learning concerning our present day spiritual competition. It's a new dawn. It's a new day. The victory has been won and Christ is the way!

References and Links
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
Young's Literal Translation of the Bible
Young's Analytical Concordance to the Bible
The Companion Bible
Figures of Speech in the Bible
A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the En and Gr NT
King James Version of the Bible
Bible Manners and Customs
Thayers Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament

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All photos taken by Angela Garcia-Salas.  See sharing information at the bottom of the page.