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Psa. 121:1-8


Intro: The superscription to this Psalm tells us that it is a “Song of Degrees.” This is a Psalm that worshipers would sing as they made their way to Jerusalem to participate in the three great annual feasts: Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. That means that this is a pilgrim’s song. It speaks of the dangers of a journey, and of the help God provides to His people along the way.

Just so you know, Verse 1 is not a declaration of hope, but rather, it is a cry of despair. The Psalmist is not looking to the hills for help in facing the problems of life. The Psalmist is telling us that danger is lurking in the hills above and that danger is waiting for an opportunity to pounce upon the weary traveler. When trouble comes, and it will, where can the pilgrim turn to for help? The psalmist answers his own question by reminding us that the Lord is our help!

I would remind you today that we are all pilgrims. Ill. 1 Pet. 2:11; Heb. 11:13. Our pilgrimage, our journey, began the moment that we received Jesus as Lord and Savior and it will continue until we step out of this life and into eternity. My soul thrills when I think of the glories that await us when we finally get home! Think of the glories of Heaven. Think of the thrill of seeing our departed loved ones. Think of the wonder of living in a glorified body, free from sin, sorrow, suffering and Satan! Think of the overwhelming joy of seeing the Lord Jesus Christ, in all His glory, and worshipping Him over there. What a day that will be!

But, we are not there yet, are we? Along the way, there are dangers lurking everywhere. There are thieves who would rob us of peace, joy and victory. There are sins that would quench the fire of God in our souls. There are problems that would strip us of the glory and power of God. 

I don’t know about you all, but I have walked through some these difficult times myself. There have been times when dangers have surrounded my life and I wondered where my help would come from. You’ve been there, and you might even be there today! Since this is a common experience for all God’s pilgrims, we need the lessons taught by this precious Psalm. If you area pilgrim, this Psalm is for you!

Let’s join the Psalmist for a few moments as he tells us about a source of help Who is greater than any threat we will ever face in our pilgrimage to Heaven. In these verses, there is help for pilgrims. There is help for those who feel they are about to be overwhelmed and overcome by their afflictions. There is help for those who may think no one cares. There is help for those who are asking Who’s Going To Help Me? Notice the lessons revealed here as we think on the thought, Who’s Going To Help Me?


The Psalmist knew that his help would not come from the hills. Ill. In the day this was written, the hills were places of idolatry and false religion. This writer knows that he will not find help in that which is false! None of the idols of the heathen can offer the help he needs.

Five times in this Psalm, the Psalmist identifies his helper as “the LORD.” The word is “Yahweh.” This is the covenant name of God. This name identifies Him as the self-existent, eternal, unchanging God Who is over all,  controls all, and is all in all. This name identifies Him and the God Who keeps all the promises He makes to His people. 

The Psalmist refused to look to the gods of false religion for help, because they were unable to help, Psa. 115:1-8. The Psalmist turned his attention to the Lord! He knew that the real source of his help was Almighty God. He isn’t referring to a friend or an ally, but to the Creator of the universe. The idea is this, “If God can make this world, then surely, He has the power to take care of me!” So, the Psalmist does not look to creation for the help he needs, but to the Creator Himself!


What a truth! Our helper is none other than the very One who stood on the edge of nothing and made everything with the Word of His power. He is able to help you and me - Eph. 3:20. (Ill. Isa. 40:12 - The span!) Ill. What He has done in the past! He has not changed! He is the source of your help! We won’t find the help we need in the world around us; our help will be found in the Lord Himself!


  I.  The Source Of Your Help


A.  V. 3  He Helps Those Who Slip - This verse tells us that the Lord will not allow our foot to “slip.” God knows how easy it is for us to slip into sin and into discouragement. We must remember that He is ever with us and has promised to sustain us with his presence and His power, Heb. 13:5; Matt. 28:20; Rom. 8:31; Heb. 7:25! 

Ill. He is like our shadow - v. 5. He is always with us. Ill. We are told that the Lord is our “keeper,” vv. 4, 5. We are told the Lord will “preserve” us, vv. 7, 8. All five of these words translate the same Hebrew word. It is a word that means, “to watch, to keep, to observe, to guard, to have charge of.” When the Lord saved you, He took responsibility for you, and He will see to that responsibility until you are safely home with Him in Heaven!

There will be times when we feel like giving up and giving in, but we need to realize that He has lifted us out of the miry clay of this world, set our feet upon the solid Rock of His power and glory and has established our goings. We are constantly being reinforced and help steady by the mighty hand of God, Psa. 40:1-3.

What this means to us is that we can count on the Lord to help us along the way. In fact, the New Testament depicts the Lord, in the Person of the Holy Spirit, as a “Comforter”, John 16:13. He is pictured as “One who comes along beside us to offer help and assistance” during our journey. He helps us to keep on standing for the Lord.

B.  V. 3b-4  He Helps Those Who Sleep - Not only does the Lord know that it is easy for us to slip, He also knows that it is easy for us to sleep. There are times when we grow weary and want to rest. There are times when we let down our guard and get caught napping. But, not so with the Lord! He is ever awake and ever active on our behalf. He doesn’t grow weary, He doesn’t tire and He doesn’t fall asleep at the switch. Therefore, there is no need for you to worry. There is no need for you to fret. There is no need for you to lose one moments sleep at any time because of this problem or the other. God is ever awake and is constantly on the job. What a blessing to know that we can depend upon Him. (Ill. Lam. 3:23 - “Great is thy faithfulness.”)

Ill. Back in the days of WWII, the Germans were bombing London all night, every night. After one terrible attack, the people of London began to search through the rubble looking for the dead and the injured. After a while, all had been accounted for but one old grandmother, a Mrs. Smith. They searched everywhere fro her and finally someone found her in her bedroom, asleep in her bed. 

They were shocked and asked her, “Mrs. Smith, how could you sleep with all those bombs dropping all around?” 

Her answer is priceless! She said, “Well, the Bible says that ‘He who keeps Israel never slumbers nor sleeps.’ I decided there was no use in both of us staying up, so I just went to sleep and left it in the Lord’s hands.”

C.  V. 5-6  He Helps Those Who Struggle - The image changes from one who is marching to one who is fighting. The imagery changes from the walk to the warfare. These verses remind us that while we are pilgrims and strangers in this world, we are also soldier engaged in the fight of our lives against a ruthless, tireless enemy who is bent on our total destruction. The hills were also where thieves and bandits made their hideouts.

  • V. 5  He Protects You From Your Enemies - This verse tells us that the Lord is our shade upon the right hand. In ancient times, warriors carries two items into battle. One was the sword and the other was the shield. Normally, the shield was carried by the left hand and the sword in the right. This meant that the right side was vulnerable to attack since there was no shield of protection upon it. The Psalmist is telling us that God takes up a deliberate, defensive position to protect us where we are most vulnerable.

We never know from where our attacks will come. Sometimes, we find ourselves attacked in areas where we are weak. Our enemy knows all about our weaknesses. Other times, we may find that we are attacked in areas where we are the strongest. 

  • Elijah is renowned for his courage, yet he fled from the woman Jezebel. 
  • Moses’ great strength was his meekness, yet in anger he smote the rock and was forbidden to enter the promised land. 
  • Abraham’s greatest strength was his faith in the Lord, yet he went into Egypt in pure unbelief. 

The whole point in this, we will be attacked, and we never know where the attack will come from, but it never catches God off guard! He is always ready to shield us and to protect us from our enemies! Ill. 1 John 4:4


  • V. 6  He Protects You From The Elements - In this verses, the Psalmist speaks of two possible sources of harm that were common to the ancient soldier. One was sunstroke, a dangerous condition where the body became overheated and shut down. This condition could be fatal. The other was moon-stroke, believed by the ancients to be just as dangerous. Moon-stroke, unlike sunstroke, did not affect the body, but the mind. In ancient times, mental illness was thought to be caused by the moon. This is where we get the word “lunatic” to refer to someone who has a mental disturbance.

The whole idea is this, while we are subject to attack in our lives. We are also subject to attacks in our bodies and in our minds. However, just as God will guard us against the attack of the enemy from the outside, He will guard us from the attack on the inside as well. When the heat is on, He will be there to shield us and guard us. When our minds are under attack and filled with fears and doubts, He will be there to protect us and give His peace, Phil. 4:7. 

Whether the attack is open, or secret. Whether it comes by day or in the darkness of night. Be sure that God is aware of where you are and of what is happening and He will always be there to protect you, to guard you and to give you the resources you need to stand in the day of battle. God is our strong tower! Our greatest gift in troublesome times is having Him to flee to - Psa. 91:4; Psa. 18:2.

  I.  The Source Of Your Help

 II.  The Scope Of Your Help


A.  V. 7  You Are Preserved From Evil - The Psalmist says that God will “preserve thee from all evil.” This refers to both the evil that exists within us and the evil that surrounds us. Let’s consider these two sources of evil.

  • Our flesh is evil! The flesh is not redeemed and it is much like a volcano. At any moment, the sin that is pent up in us can burst forth and commit any sin imaginable! This flesh which we carry around is utterly depraved - Rom. 7:18! How can we ever hope to live for God? The answer lies in the Holy Spirit. When we are saved, He moves in! When He comes, He comes with all the resources necessary to overcome temptation and to say no to sin - 1 Cor. 10:13.

Have you noticed how easy it is to sin? It requires no effort at all. Why? 

1.)  We are born with a bent in that direction. 

2.)  We like it. 

3.)  We are good at it. 

The Lord will help us overcome the inward evil in this life if we want that victory. Notice this promise from Jude 24, “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.”

  • There is also evil that comes against us from without. It comes to us in the form of satanic attack. There is a very real devil who wants you to fail, 1 Pet. 5:8. Thankfully, there is help from the Lord that will enable to stand against the devil and all his attacks, Eph. 6:10-13. The secret to overcoming the influence  and attacks of Satan in our lives is found in James 4:7.

B.  V. 8  You Are Preserved For Eternity - In this verse, the Psalmist reminds us that the Lord will keep us while we are here, 1 Pet. 5:7. He protects us regardless of the direction the journey takes us. Ill. “thy going out and they coming in.” Sometimes we are “coming in.” We are living close and we feel secure in our walk with Him. At other times, we are “going out.” We are not as close as we should be. Whether were are in or out, He is always faithful to keep us for Himself. (Ill. Psa. 23:3 - “paths” = “orbits.” Like the planets are kept in the gravitational pull of the sun, the saints are kept in the gravitational pull of the Almighty!)

And, that He will continue this ministry throughout eternity, 1 Pet. 1:5. We possess a priceless, endless, eternal guarantee, John 3:16; 10:28. This is simply a reminder that those who know the Lord Jesus Christ are preserved forever!

Conc: Who is going to help you? 

  • Who is going to help you when gas, groceries and over expenses keep rising while incomes do not keep up?
  • Who is going to help you when temptations arise within your heart?
  • Who is going to help you when Satan launches an attack against your life?
  • Who is going to help you when troubles, trials and problems overwhelm your heart, mind and soul?
  • Who is going to help you when the bottom falls out of life and you see nowhere to turn?
  • Who is going to help you when friends, family and other resources fail?
  • Who is going to help you when you don’t even know how to help yourself?

If you listen to the presidential candidates, they all tell you they can help, but they can’t help you! The government thinks it can help, but the government can’t help you. Even the church is insufficient to meet all the needs that arise in your life. 

There’s One WHo can help and His name is God! He can help you, because He possesses the ability to help, Eph. 3:20. He will help because He possesses the will to help, Matt. 11:28. 

Who’s going to help you? The Lord is, and He is the only One Who can!

There is a story about a man who wanted to cross a frozen lake. He got on his knees by the edge and tapped on the ice to make sure it was solid. Then he carefully scooted out on his hands and knees and tapped some more. When he found it was still solid, scooted still farther. Every few feet, he would tap the ice to make sure it was strong enough to hold him. The hours went by. His face turned blue. His knuckles turned red. He was almost to the other side when he heard a rumble behind him. As he looked back, he saw twelve Clydesdale horses pulling a heavy wagon. They made it across the lake in a few minutes, leaving the man to think how foolish he had been.

We are like that foolish man when it comes to trusting the Lord. We take a step, and tap, tap, tap and say, “I wonder if I will make it.” We take another step, and tap, tap, tap, and say, “I wonder if the Lord knows what kind of a mess I’m in?” We take another step and tap, tap, tap, and say, “Who is going to get me out of this?”  We take another step, and tap, tap, tap, and say, “I wonder if the Lord is going to keep working in my life? I know what he did back there, but I wonder if He will do it today?” 

When all the while the Lord is standing with us, as faithful as our shadow, and He is saying, “Trust me! Don’t worry about whether or not the ice will hold you, because I have your hand; I’ve planned the path you take, and I will never let you go.”

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