The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. - Psalm 121:7
I have been blessed with very good health. I have been strong, healthy and able to care for myself most of my days. I had a little surgery a few days ago that gave me a small taste of needing some help from others to get some ordinary things done. It was humbling to need help to pick up something I dropped. A bit of nagging pain and soreness reminded me of how blessed I've been. And I was ashamed when I realized I have often failed to show enough compassion for people I know who live with debilitating illness or injury. We can learn a lot of lessons when we need a little help.
I am grateful for helpers who filled in for me while I was recovering. David wrote Psalm 121 at a time when he knew he needed help, and a degree of help beyond what any human helper could provide. David looked up to the Lord and trusted God to provide the help he needed. He needed and celebrated in this psalm more than a helping hand; he needed comprehensive care. He changed the word help to keep, and stressed it over and over again (six times) in the last six verses.
David wrote that the LORD would be our ever-vigilant, never-sleeping keeper when we had to surrender to sleep. God will keep us on our journeys. He will be on duty day and night and be closer than your own shadow. He will keep you from all evil. God will keep you in all you do, at home, away from home and along the way.
We realize we're vulnerable when we're sick or hurt and unable to care for ourselves. We probably need to think about how dependent we are on God's help and keeping at times other than when we're in distressing circumstances. It would be easy to slip into self-sufficiency when life is going well and we feel strong. We're not as likely to feel the need for help when we have plenty and can do as we please. If we have plenty of human helpers around us, we should remember that we need help from God that no human can possibly provide. We must not allow the blessings of prosperity and health to blind us to our deepest needs that only God can provide.
The “keeping” promises of the Bible ought to be precious to us. We should love Aaron's blessing, "The LORD bless you and keep you." We should savor Jude's benediction: "Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy...." We should cherish the Lord Jesus' promise to the church at Philadelphia, "Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world...."
Wouldn't it be good to have David's words about the LORD being our keeper stored in our hearts when we feel afraid and vulnerable? We need the reassurance and peace that comes from being safely kept as sheep of the Good Shepherd on dark days of sickness and danger. Let's also remember our need of God's help and keeping on bright sunny days when we feel strong and able, lest our pride make us forget our need. We ought to thank God every day he enables us to go out and come in. We could not do without him for a moment. Our lives and prayers should reflect our gratitude to God for being our Keeper.