I love the psalms because they remind me of God’s continuing care for His people. We are a needy bunch, aren’t we? We need God’s help in so many ways, and sadly, we often seek the help we need in places that cannot provide it. Instead of looking to God for the answers, we waste a lot of time trying to either help ourselves or put our trust in things and other people who will only let us fall.
I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun will not smite you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. The Lord will guard your going out and coming in from this time forth and forever. (Psalm 121).
I memorized this psalm as a child. My motivation was probably less than spiritual; it was to win a cash prize for scripture memory during VBS! The reward for memorizing, however, was far greater than that $20 bill. The truth of those promises has always settled my heart when I face hard days or trials.
The Psalms are filled with promises, many focused on the nation of Israel and the plans God has for His chosen people. Those promises carry over into our New Testament life as followers of Jesus; we are grafted in as the children of Abraham, and we are God’s people as His church – the body of Christ – the bride (Romans 9:6-8). We are set apart as priests of the new covenant (1 Peter 2:5). We can hold tightly to all the promises God makes to care for His children, claiming them as ours because we belong to Christ.
The church has not replaced Israel, however, and there are many promises God made to the literal, physical nation of Israel yet to be fulfilled. Consider these verses:
Psalm 132:13-18 – For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation. This is My resting place forever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it. I will abundantly bless her provision; I will satisfy her needy with bread. Her priests also I will clothe with salvation, and her godly ones will sing aloud for joy. There I will cause the horn of David to spring forth; I have prepared a lamp for Mine anointed. His enemies I will clothe with shame, but upon himself his crown shall shine.
Zion is a reference to the city where God chose to put His name and dwelling place – Jerusalem. Currently, it’s not a place that honors the Lord Jesus. It doesn’t appear to be the resting place of God, nor does it seem He dwells in it. Israel rejected their Messiah and suffered greatly for it. From the current perspective, God’s promises have failed, but we haven’t reached the end of the story. God’s Word will be fulfilled.
Revelation 21:1-5 – Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”
Is it easier to believe these promises, looking forward to the end of the age, and live confidently that Jesus will return and set all things right, or to trust God’s promises today, right now? Sometimes I think we put more faith in God’s ability to fulfill future promises than we have faith to believe what He’s promised us today. I say that because I talk to so many people who are filled with worry and anxiety, distracted by the deteriorating culture, fearful of the economic outlook, and unsettled by the disturbing stories of violence, war, and hopelessness that our media feeds us on a regular basis.
Is God big enough to completely recreate a new heaven and new earth so that He can dwell with us again? You say, “Of course!” but is He big enough to handle your problems today?
The Lord will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting; do not forsake the works of Your hands. (Psalm 138:8)
Those who trust in the Lord are as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people from this time forth and forever. (Psalm 125:1-2)
You may be facing what seems to be an insurmountable problem. You have no idea how you’re going to navigate what lies ahead. Take heart. Our problems are so very small in the sight of the God who creates and recreates the world. Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth (Psalm 124:8). Trust in God’s promises to keep you, to protect you, to guide you, and to provide for your every need. His word has never failed, and He will do exactly what He said He would do.