Daily  Devotionals  for  the  Fifth Week  in  Lent
(please scroll down for each day)
 

A Song of Ascents

Psalm 121

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.
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.
7  The Lord will keep you from all evil;
        he will keep your life.
8  The Lord will keep
        your going out and your coming in
        from this time forth and forevermore.
 

Background on Psalm 121

Before the psalm begins, the Bible refers to this as “a song of ascents.” These psalms were sung as the people traveled “up” to Jerusalem during the three great feasts of the Old Testament. Though Jerusalem was built on high ground, that is not the hill the psalm points to. Instead, it’s focus is on the Lord Himself. 
 
 

  Suggestions for Daily Prayers in the Home

 Begin: “In the name of the Father and + of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you in this time of devotion.

For example: “Come, Holy Spirit, and guide our hearts into the truth of Your Word, move us to greater faith as you make Christ Jesus known so that we know the Father’s love and trust His guiding hand; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Read the psalm for the week aloud slowly.

Read the individual verse or verses each day contemplatively.

End with the Lord’s Prayer and your own heartfelt prayers. As you pray, confess the sins you know, asking God’s blessing for all His people and for all the world. Remember especially those in great need.

Go about your day in peace and confidence.
 
 
 
 
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Monday, March 30, 2020
 
Psalm 121:1
I lift up my eyes to the hills.
        From where does my help come?
 
        In the Old Testament, “the high places” is another name for worship sites. On the high places were temples or shrines with altars for sacrificing and prayer. All the religions had such locations, so Israel too often fell into the habit of going to the high places of the gods of the surrounding nations. It was an ancient version of the idea that all religions are the same and all lead to the same god. That popular idea is simply false, however. There is only one God and He has introduced Himself to the world through one particular history and family—the family of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their descendants.
        And, finally, God—the real God—makes Himself fully known by sending His Son in our flesh. As the epistle for next Sunday puts it: Christ Jesus, “though he was in the form of God, did not count his equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”
        Seeing earth’s hills and mountains can be a glorious thing—especially when their beauty leads us to lift our gaze even higher, to God.
 
Prayer for the week: Our help comes from you, O Lord, the maker of heaven and earth, for you keep us, protect us, and hold us fast.
 
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Tuesday, March 31, 2020
 
Psalm 121:2
My help comes from the Lord,
        who made heaven and earth.
 
        As Psalm 121 continues, it lifts our gaze higher than the hills, for our help comes from the One who made us. To say each week that we believe in God the Father, “maker of heaven and earth,” is to be reminded constantly of this simple truth. The One who made us is our ultimate source of help in every need.
        We so often forget that simple truth. Moses chided Israel for neglecting it and even seeking the aid of false gods instead of Him. In Deuteronomy 32:6 Moses says: “Do you thus repay the Lord, you foolish and senseless people? Is not he your father, who created you, who made you and established you?”
        That God made us is so important. It means we are His. We belong to Him. It means He knows our need better than we know it ourselves. He cares for us completely, so much that He comes to us in Christ Jesus. He who made us in His image makes His Son into our image in order to restore our relationship to Him. His powerful Word made heaven and earth. His powerful Word became flesh and dwelt with us, “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). He is our help!
 
Prayer for the week: Our help comes from you, O Lord, the maker of heaven and earth, for you keep us, protect us, and hold us fast.
 
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Wednesday, April 1, 2020
 
Psalm 121:3-4
He will not let your foot be moved;
        he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
        will neither slumber nor sleep.
 
        Verses 3 and 4 of Psalm 121 introduce an image—the image of a night watchman. A shepherd had to be awake in the night, watching for hunting animals that wanted to carry off a lamb or ewe. In wartime, armies post pickets or other guards to warn of approaching enemy troops. The watchmen in the night had to stay awake. Asleep they were useless.
        Scripture warns us in many places to be watchful and alert. God told Ezekiel to be a watchman for Israel, warning them of their sin and the judgment that would follow (Ezek. 3:17ff). Hosea spoke of himself, also a prophet, as a watchman (Hos. 9:8). Jesus warns all His followers to keep watch against evil (Luke 21:34) and asked His disciples to stay awake with Him as He prayed in Gethsemane (Matt. 26:38-41).
        Yet, like the disciples in Gethsemane, our watchfulness leaves much to be desired. Distractions and temptations, worries and weariness all turn us from God and from spiritual attentiveness. But God does not slumber or sleep on the job. He keeps His people secure.
 
Prayer for the week: Our help comes from you, O Lord, the maker of heaven and earth, for you keep us, protect us, and hold us fast.
 
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Thursday, April 2, 2020
 
Psalm 121:5-6
The Lord is your keeper;
        the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
        nor the moon by night.
 
        Attention to God’s attentive care continues in these verses. He is our “keeper.” We might think of something like a zoo employee, or maybe a prison guard when we hear the word “keeper.” The Hebrew word does indicate a guard—but not one who incarcerates us. No, he is the keeper who protects, who watches out for danger, who, in the language of the psalm, protects us from being burned in the heat of the summer and frozen in the cool of the night.
        God is your keeper, watching over us, attentive to us. Hearing our prayers, but also seeing dangers that lie ahead too far for us to see them. Because He is our keeper, we know that He is keeping us secure.
        How well He has protected us. We live in a prosperous land of abundance. We have known great successes by His grace—more food and clothing and conveniences and pleasure than any previous generations. Yet, God’s keeping is not merely for the short term but for the long haul. It is for eternity and not only the moment. He is our keeper, our protector, today. Thanks be to God.
 
Prayer for the week: Our help comes from you, O Lord, the maker of heaven and earth, for you keep us, protect us, and hold us fast.
 
 
Friday, April 3, 2020
 

Psalm 121:7
The Lord will keep you from all evil;
        he will keep your life.

Verse 5 speaks of God as our keeper with a focus on the temporal—present-day life. We have seen His temporal care throughout our lives and this rich time and place with all sorts of wonders and comforts.
        God’s keeper goes much farther than His daily provisions and providential care. God’s highest priority is to keep us from evil—to protect our very lives. The Bible is always aware of a fact that we often fail to see. This is a fallen world, a world in which all humanity has an inner corruption, a selfish center that makes the great command to love God with our whole heart, soul, and mind utterly impossible—as impossible as it is for us to love our neighbor selflessly. All human evil ultimately flows from our self-oriented nature. It leads to the most heinous acts, but also to daily sins as we ignore or scorn others and their needs and forget the One who made us. Even when we want to do right “evil lies close at hand” (Rom. 7:21).
        But God keeps us anyway. He still seeks our good—to keep us from evil. Why? Because if evil has its way, it will take our life itself, drawing us forever away from Him. He loves us, so God does not give up on humanity—or on you and me. His Son has atoned for our sins—for the evil in our nature—and made us the Father’s own again. He is keeping us today.

 
Prayer for the week: Our help comes from you, O Lord, the maker of heaven and earth, for you keep us, protect us, and hold us fast.
 
 
Saturday, April 4, 2020
 
Psalm 121:8
The Lord will keep
        your going out and your coming in
        from this time forth and forevermore.
 
        God’s keeping, protecting, holding work is for every aspect of our lives both for the present and the future. He keeps us “going out” and “coming in.” I laughed thinking about that. Like most of you, I’m pretty much locked in. Coming in for me means coming in from a bike ride or a walk or some yard work. All the daily running around that seemed a part of every day is gone. Yet, I am so grateful that the Lord is protecting my coming in—and yours, too—until the day when the quarantine is lifted and we can do some real “going out.”
        Our present troubles don’t change the truth of this verse. The Lord is with us in our daily routines. He is keeping us as we sleep and rise, work and play, cook and eat, call our friends and family. He is keeping us through it all, as He has throughout our lives.
        And He is keeping us for the future—for the future when we “go out” from this life and “come in” to the life that is promised in Christ. So it is that our confidence in His loving care for us need never falter. The Lord is keeping you. Look at His Son’s willingness to die for you. Look at the way the Spirit calls you constantly to trust in the Lord. Look at the promise before us all—that great eternal Easter when we all inherit our resurrected body and everlasting life!
 
Prayer for the week: Our help comes from you, O Lord, the maker of heaven and earth, for you keep us, protect us, and hold us fast.