1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Psalm chapter 121

What does Psalm chapter 121 mean?

The theme of Psalm 121 is God's care of His people. Variations of the Hebrew root word for "keep" appear in verses 3, 4, 5, 7, and 8. This is the same term used in Genesis 2:15 to describe Adam's intended role in Eden. The sense of the word is to watch over.

The people journeying to Jerusalem for yearly feasts (Exodus 23:14–17) could face many dangers. Among the more potent threats was that of robbers. Anyone making their way from a distant place to Jerusalem needed to trust God to watch over them. As the psalmist looked at the hills through which he traveled, his thoughts rose above the hills to God, the Creator. He assured himself that his safety came from the Lord (Psalm 121:1–2).

Between verses 2 and 3, the voice seems to change. Rather than someone speaking to themselves, or about themselves, the words are now directed from one person to another. This might be other members of a traveling group speaking to encourage the first speaker. That response agrees that the Lord would not allow the psalmist to stumble, nor would God relax His protection. God cannot be taken off guard, or surprised, like someone who falls asleep (Psalm 121:3–4).

Supportive words from this psalm also refer to natural risks such as exposure. God is said to watch over His people as they faced the risks of life on a fallen earth. Furthermore, the Lord would watch over His people in all their daily activities: their "going out and coming in." While safety is not guaranteed in life (Psalm 22:12–18; 25:16; John 16:33), believers can be confident that God is in control of all that happens (Romans 8:37–39). That awareness and care will extend into eternity (Psalm 121:5–8).
What is the Gospel?
Download the app: