Dave

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[5] The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand. [6] The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. (ESV)

http://theversesproject.com/verses/174/Psalm-121.5-6

https://fighterverses.com/blog-post/the-lord-my-keeper-psalm-1215-6/

The LORD is your keeper Shamar / phulasso Keeps a garden / shepherds watching their flocks

The LORD doesn't just keep us. He is OUR keeper. The LORD himself is my personal keeper. He is mine and I am his. We are kept personally by the Creator of heaven and earth.

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil – the LORD is our keeper – at all times – day and night – we may fear no evil. He keeping us, preserving us, watching over us closely

The LORD is your shade on your right hand

Shade // right hand Journey to Jerusalem. Sun shining on left, shade on right. The LORD himself is our shade.

Everywhere we go our shadow comes with us. When the sun shines brighter, our shadow gets stronger.

Everywhere we go, the LORD is the shade on our right hand. When the heat of the sun gets hotter and more intense, the shade just grows more powerful and offers more comfort.

Don't complain about the heat of the sun – get into the shade.

Step into the shade. Step into his presence.

Psalm 91:1–2 [1] He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. [2] I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (ESV)

The sun shall not strike you by day Nor the moon by night

Day and night. All the time.

The moon by night

Moon by night – The reference to the moon may simply lend poetic balance to the verse, but it is likely a reference to the primitive belief that the moon was dangerous and could have adverse effects one's mind. They believed that the rays of the moon had an abnormal effect on the eyes and could cause brain damage. We've all heard the familiar English expression “moonstruck” (mentally unbalanced, romantically sentimental, lost in fantasy) which apparently reflects this strange ancient belief. The etymology (study of the linguistic development of words) of the English word “lunatic” is from the Latin word lunaticus, which is derived from the Latin word luna reflecting the belief that lunacy fluctuated with the phases of the moon. (Merriam-Webster) Whether the psalmist meant to address such pagan beliefs is uncertain.

Epileptic = Greek = lit. moonstruck

It is the very error of the moon; She comes more near the earth than she was wont, And makes men mad.” Othello, v. 2.

We are not in danger from the moon. It is not a thing to be moonstruck in the way that it creates mental illness or epilepsy.

But we do live a really tough society. Pressure on Christianity. Increasing pressure. That can affect us and

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Psalm 121:1–4

A Song of Ascents.

[1] I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? [2] My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

[3] He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. [4] Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

[3] He will not let your foot be moved.

He – The LORD He – the maker of heaven and earth.

He is our keeper.

The Greek translation of the Hebrew text (Septuagint or Lxx) renders shamar with the Greek verb phulasso.

Phulasso (5442) means to watch, to carry out the function as a military guard or sentinel (cp Ac 23:35, 28:16), to keep watch, to have one's eye upon lest one escape, to guard a person that he might remain safe (from violence, from another person or thing, from being snatched away, from being lost). The NT uses phulasso of guarding truth (eg, 1Ti 5:21, 6:20, 2Ti 1:14-note)

Phulasso is the verb used to describe the shepherds “keeping watch (phulasso) over their flock by night (Lk 2:8), which congers up the image of savage wolves seeking to devour the helpless sheep. Elsewhere we read of the Good Shepherd, the Great Shepherd Who keeps watch over His sheep.

“He who keeps you will not slumber.”

He who keeps you What is it to be “kept” by God?

He keeps us secure. He won't let your foot be moved.

Illustration. Helping Noah climb on the groynes at the beach – rocky – he walks, tightly gripping onto my hand – just in case at some point his feet slip – and when they do, I'm holding on to him – so worst case scenario, he ends up dangling from my hands! I take his strength.

Moving feet. Their feet slip – unbelievers who think their life is going well [REF] – but the LORD won't let our foot slip.

Who is “your”? The people of God – more than that – the very people who are looking to God for help. If we look anywhere else or to anyone else for our help, our foot will slip, because nothing is able to hold our footing successfully. God is the only one who can come through with the promise of “he will not let your foot be moved.” He holds us in place.

He keeps us with constant attentiveness “He who keeps you will not slumber”

“He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.”

What is the difference between slumbering and sleeping?

God is working for us. Non-stop. Even when we miss a step, God doesn't.

Psalms 120 – 134 are called the Psalms of Ascent. These psalms were sung in Hebrew by Israelites as they ascended to Jerusalem three times a year for different Jewish festivals.

Psalm 121 – a song to be sung at the start of a long journey.

I want to look at just the first two verses this morning.

I lift my eyes up to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

The psalmist has created symmetry in these first two verses.

He starts with creation.

I lift my eyes up to the hills.

Then he talks about “my help” at the end of verse 1.

From where does my help come?

And then at the start of verse 2, “my help” comes again.

My help comes from the LORD

And then he ends as he starts, with creation

who made heaven and earth.

Creation (hills); From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD Creation (heaven and earth)

I lift my eyes up to the hills.

Do I find help in the hills? No – my help comes from the one who made the hills. The great I AM. Yahweh. The LORD not only earth, but the LORD of heaven. This is where my help comes from.

The hills, or the mountains, may represent a few different things. Firstly, in the time when this psalm was written, the mountains would where darkness lived – witches, sorcerers, people of the occult – high places. People that didn't look to the LORD for the source of their lives, but who looked to the darkness, people who looked to luck and fortune.

And so the psalmist isn't looking to the mountains for that kind of help.

The hills could also represent the beautiful creation of God. But they are not God.

Romans 1:20 [20] For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.

The hills are made – and they point to God's existence and his power; but they can't help us. Our help doesn't come from the hills.

Where are our eyes this morning?

Most of us, if not all of us, have mountains or hills in our lives. Things that seem insurmountable.

They're so big that it's hard for us to look anywhere else but at the mountains.

And if there's thing this psalm is encouraging us to do, it's to lift up our eyes – towards the mountains yes, but not to look at the mountains – to look at the one who made the mountains.

The mountains may be big. But the LORD is bigger.

I'd like us to name those things that are mountains in our lives this morning – right now, in fact. Not out loud, but in our hearts – let's identify them and name them before God.

Pray: And in the name of Jesus, we speak to these mountains and tell you to be gone! Mountains be gone, be flattened in the name of Jesus.

This blog is now largely unused, for favour of the evad.uk domain.

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The spiders have been out in force.

Each one of us has some kind of vocation. We are all called by God to share in His life and in His Kingdom. Each one of us is called to a special place in the Kingdom. If we find that place we will be happy. If we do not find it, we can never be completely happy. For each one of us, there is only one thing necessary: to fulfill our own destiny, according to God’s will, to be what God wants us to be.

Thomas Merton

They were lovely, not primarily because they had any loveliness in and of themselves, but because He loved them.

Maybe one day in history it did. But no longer, cat.

So, stop miaowing at me through our patio doors late at night. It is quite unnerving.

I will not give you any food.

I will not let you in.

I will not stroke you.

All I will do is take photos of you through the glass. But that is done now, so all you can realistically expect is the metaphorical cold shoulder.

You should give up whilst you're ahead, cat. Not that you are ahead. I am ahead. So I am giving up.

Farewell.

#cat (23rd August, 2019)

22nd August 2019

Recently I have been reading Ecclesiastes (in the Bible). I have found it to be very insightful and relevant even to life in the Western world in these days. A very different culture to when it was written. Which goes to show that humanity has not changed. In the words of the author, there is nothing new under the sun.

One theme which has jumped out at me is that of joy. For example:

Ecclesiastes 5:18–20

[18] Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. [19] Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God. [20] For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.

and

Ecclesiastes 8:15

[15] And I commend joy, for man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun.

#bible

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