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The LORD: Our Helper and Protector

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Will Livingston
Old Testament Devotion: Psalm 121
Monday, February 21, 2022
A. Foundational Elements
1. “The LORD: Our Helper and Protector”
2. Psalm 121
3. Help and Protection
4. ETS: The LORD helped and protected His children along their pilgrimage.
5. ESS: The LORD will help and protect us as we journey through the pilgrimage of life.
6. OSS: [Supportive] I want the hearers to embrace the help and protection available to them in the LORD.
7. PQ: Who is the Lord to us?
B. Formal Elements
1. I was fifteen when I ran my first and only half marathon. I was not prepared, physically. I had never ran that far. The journey along the race was difficult, challenging, and exhausting. I had to maintain proper focus for the full duration of the race, and I had to rely upon the Lord’s help and encouragement as I ran. My primary goal was to finish the race. When I realized that my body was holding up okay, my mental focus was sustaining a healthy status, and I was going to accomplish the primary goal, I sat a secondary goal for myself: pass the person in front of me. I ran alongside the runner for a while being encouraged by her words and interest in my journey. However, I distinctly remember a particular moment that occurred around mile 11. I approached a drink station, and I was not planning to stop to get a drink. However, the guy operating the station looked at me and said, “You’ve got it. It’s all downhill from here!” The reason I remember those words so clearly is because his statement was an oxymoron in the moment. He, of course, meant that the largest portion of the race was behind me and I was going to finish. However, the oxymoronic aspect that caused his words to stick in my mind so well is that I was looking uphill, approaching the final two miles of the race which were on a gradual incline. This, of course, was discouraging and threatened my mental focus.
2. The Psalmist who wrote Psalm 121 was on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem which likely involved a several-day long trek across difficult terrain to attend one of the three yearly festivals. The terrain intensified posing threat to the pilgrim’s physical agility and health especially as he neared the city of Jerusalem which was affixed on a mountain. Like my experience, I am sure the Psalmist was tired and weary from the journey to the city. Approaching the mountains of the city reminded the Psalmist of his need for help and protection if he were going to arrive safely. The Psalmist was confident that the Lord would help and protect him along the remainder of his journey.
3. The reality for us today remains the same as it was for the Psalmist: The Lord will help and protect us along our journey. We may not be journeying to Jerusalem or running a marathon, but we may well be facing other journeys that pose great challenges like anxiety, depression, loneliness, pressure to perform well, lack of support, financial hardship, marital strain, or a health crisis. As we journey throughout life and navigate challenges such as these, we will be reminded of our need to rely upon the Lord to help and protect us. Let us examine together now who God is to us in moments such as these.
I. The LORD is our helper. (vv. 1-2)
1. The LORD is our helper who helps us amidst the difficult terrains of life. (v. 1)
2. The LORD, Creator of heaven and earth, is our helper who stands ready with all resources necessary to help us. (v. 2)
II. The LORD is our protector. (vv. 3-8)
1. The LORD is our protector who keeps us from slipping down the slippery slopes when we trust Him. (v. 3a)
2. The LORD is our protector who never slumbers nor sleeps. He is always alert to our needs and the dangers that threaten our well-being. (vv. 3b-4)
3. The LORD is our protector who is ready to defend us. (v. 5)
4. The LORD is our protector who protects us both day and night. (v. 6)
5. The LORD is our protector who protects our whole being from all harm as we journey along the pilgrimage both in the present and future moments. (vv. 7-8)
1. Each of us share the common need to rely upon the Lord as our help and protection in life. The Lord is the only one who is able to help and protect us as we endure the challenges encountered along the journey in life. He alone is worthy. He alone is able. He alone is our Helper and Protector.
2. Today, you may be experiencing a moment in life that reminds you of your need to rely upon and trust in the Lord as your helper and protector. Returning to my opening story of the half marathon race, I was reminded of my need for help. I was tired, and I was tempted to quit. As I ran, two things encouraged me to continue going: (1) I had worship music playing in my ear buds to encourage me and keep me focused. (2) I had my sights set towards the finish line and the medal that I would receive. Through the music, God helped me run. Through His presence, He protected me from physical injury, mental exhaustion and doubt, and any other issue that threatened my well-being along the way. James 1:12 reads this, “Blessed is the one who endures trials, because when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” (CSB)
3. Will you trust the Lord as your helper and protector today? There is help for you. There is protection for you. Will you embrace it today?
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