This past weekend my wife and I drove to New Ulm for homecoming at Martin Luther College. In the span of a few days, we experienced one blessing after another. One of those blessings was the display of amazing autumn color, especially on the stretch of Interstate 90/94 between Madison and Tomah, Wis. Brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows along the highways and on the hills. God’s handiwork glowing in autumn sunlight. At times the colors seemed “out of this world.” The LORD is amazing!
In Old Testament times, believers sang Psalm 121 and confessed that the LORD is amazing. Listen to this beautiful arrangement of Psalm 121 and then let’s recount the evidence we have that the LORD is amazing.
Many Psalms have a chiastic structure: ABB’A’ or ABCB’A’. Psalm 121 seems to have a staircase structure: ABCD. A Psalm that begins with words, “I look to the hills,” keeps taking us to higher and more beautiful heights.
The blessing of the LORD (verses 7-8)
The LORD is your guardian (verses 5-6)
The LORD guards his people (verses 3-4)
The LORD is the Creator (verses 1-2)
This Psalm gives evidence that the LORD is amazing, and that we are blessed to be his.
The LORD is the Creator: Genesis records how the universe went from nothing to something “very good,” in six days, by the power of the word of the LORD. His “creating” continues to this day as he preserves the world and enables living things to reproduce. The majestic mountains, the countless stars, the fall colors, the murmuration of the birds in the sky—his rich variety in every corner of his world—all these give testimony that the LORD is wise, powerful, eternal, and loving. This LORD has revealed his name to us so that we might look to him and call out to him for every blessing and for all help.
The LORD guards his people: In this fallen and rebellious world, the LORD has chosen people who belong to him. He watches over them. His attention is always on them. He guards them. His people grow tired every day and need to sleep, but he does not. He watches over them when they are awake and when they are asleep, without fail. This is true for all believers, including those who serve as shepherds under Christ. Every night we go to sleep in peace.
The LORD is your guardian: The Psalm changes from 3rd person to 2nd person. The LORD watches over you! How can that be? The Maker of heaven and earth, watching over you, dear brother? Yes, and he does this day and night so that nothing harms you. The sunlight will reach you with light and warmth, but it will not harm you. The moonlight—maybe even the recent Autumn moon of October—will shine down on you, but it will not harm you. The Creator of the sun and the moon is watching over you.
The blessing of the LORD: This beautiful psalm ends with a blessing, a blessing from the LORD, whose word is powerful and effective. When he blesses with words, the blessings which he promises are given and received. From the time he put his name on you in the holy waters of baptism, the LORD has promised to watch over your coming and going forevermore. Sin, death, and hell cannot harm you. You are forgiven, in the crucified Christ. You have crossed over to life, in the risen Christ. You are citizens of heaven, the glorious city far above the hills and even the stars, where the Creator is, with his Son, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, seated at his right hand. Because the LORD is “out of this world,” you are too: out-of-this-world conquerors through him who loved us.
May the LORD watch over your coming and going, both now and forevermore!