Saturday 18 May 2013

Bible Book:

Psalm 121 Saturday 18 May 2013

Background: God still is...

One of the first things a good ski instructor teaches a skiingnovice is how to stop. Safety is paramount, and once the basicskills of control are understood and mastered, hours of fun on themiles of exhilarating ski runs await. And what happens when theskier encounters unexpected twists and turn in the terrain? Thedefault is straight back to lesson one: how to stop safely.Similarly, with rock climbing, one of the early principles a noviceis encouraged to understand is the fine art of balancingbody-weight on a vertical surface. And should the guide rope getcaught or the climber slip, it is back to the default principle ofhow to connect with the rock face without putting life or limb indanger.

Often the twists and turns of life can seem like a ski slopewith its uneven surfaces, low visibility especially for those withlimited experience. At other times it can feel like an uphill climbaccompanied by bruising, courtesy of the slips and catches alongthe way. Both slopes and hills of life have their share of joys andat times seem to be one exhilarating experience after another.Equally, both can have their challenges and even back-to-backdisappointments. So what's the default position? How does one stopor connect safely again?

In Psalm 121, whether life seems uphill or down slope, upliftingor downbeat, the safe or default position is the same: look to theLord. This is not the physical upward look to the hills that theauthor refers to rhetorically, but it is the expectant looking towhere hope of humanity and the help of God meet. In verses 3-8, thepsalmist describes God as an alert, wide-awake, protecting,providing, 24-7 help with no 'best before' or 'use by' date. Thewriter gives unshakeable assurance of God, drawing on nature, humanbehaviour, and personal routine to emphasise thatGodwasable,isable, andwill beable to be that sustainable andsustaining source of help.

There is an unmistakeable and almost overwhelming confidence inGod bursting out of this Psalm, giving the author and reader theopportunity to remember God's promise, to revive purpose and toregain perspective. Far from wondering if God might help, couldhelp or even should help, the author makes it clear that God stillis.

To Ponder

  • How does this Psalm encourage you to "look to the Lord"?
  • How would you describe God's presence during a good ordifficult time?
  • How have you experienced the assurance of God's help duringgood or difficult times?
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