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753. The Lord Is My Helper and Keeper

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
June 17, 2020 7:00 pm

753. The Lord Is My Helper and Keeper

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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June 17, 2020 7:00 pm

Dr. Steve Pettit continues a chapel series entitled “Encountering God.”  This series is from the book of the Psalms.  Today’s scripture passage is Psalm 121.

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Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. The school was founded in 1927 by the evangelist Dr. Bob Jones Senior's intent was to make a school where Christ would be the center of everything, so he established daily chapel services today.

That tradition continues with fervent biblical preaching from the University travel platform today on The Daily Platform. Dr. Steve Pettit is continuing a study series from the book of Psalms entitled encountering God. Today's message is the Lord is my helper and keeper and Dr. Ellen Benson, VP for student development and discipleship is with us.

Alan the beginning of this Psalm.

Many of our Bible say it's the song of a sense, can you tell us a little more about what that is absolutely as you mentioned often. If you look in your Bible.

There are guideposts there that help us with understanding and at the beginning of this body of Psalms really that runs from Psalm 120 through 134 you'll see a header that that looks like a Psalm of a sentence and in his message.

Dr. Pettit's can help us to understand some of what that nomenclature is about, but one of the wonderful things as we contemplate today with the president. Psalm 121 is again this concept of encountering God and encountering him in life. Psalms 120 through 134 really allow us to look into a unique event for a unique people group. The people of Israel are going to be making a journey they make it multiple times a year up to Jerusalem because that is where in their worship system, they encountered God at at the temple and they have to make this arduous journey by foot.

That is all uphill and that journey finds them starting out in a sense, as far from God as they could be. And then the difficult process of getting to where God is and ultimately ending up in God's presence and these Psalms follow a pattern so one 2121, 122 lay out for us. This pattern that starts with 120 difficulty. 121 then deliverance and ultimately that third Psalm is going to be security. I'm now in God's presence and that triumvirate will start over again in the next set of three Psalms and what this middle Psalm in each of those sets of three, does it talks about deliverance that that God is with me and God is active in the journey. So for them it was this concept of this long, arduous climb up to Jerusalem and the dangers they would encounter in the distance they would encounter why they went application for us Is in a sense, our daily lives. I I'm not yet in heaven I I am facing the struggles of the journey, and thus we have this idea that the Lord is my helper and my keeper. He helps me with the struggles of life, and he keeps me from falling. He keeps me from falling away from him and and so this middle Psalm in each of these triumvirate's is really about God in my reality. God interacting with me while I faced the struggle and while I face the difficulty and ultimately it leads our hearts to this thought that one day we will be with him in the struggle will be over so want to delight to look at Psalm 121 with this idea that here we encounter God in our everyday lives. Well I'm again thrilled to have this sermon that we can listen to from Dr. Pettit from the series encountering God so now here's Dr. Pettit, would you take your Bibles this morning and turned to Psalm 121 we have two more studies this semester before will come to a conclusion about mid April because of other things are going. Own it. So the next week, will look at Psalm 139 and then will finish up the semester was Psalm 150. But today I like us to look at Psalm 121 is been called the traveler's all because it was often used for people who are traveling on journeys from one location to the nub next in their concerned about safety and protection, so let's look at this Psalm this morning. I think you'll find it to be very, very encouraging Marie the entire Psalm beginning in verse one I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved, he they keep it they will not slumber. Behold, he that keep of Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is thy keeper. The Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite the by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve the from all evil, he shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and my coming in from this time forth, even for ever more. Thank God for the reading of his word three times a year.

Jewish people were required by law to go up to the city of Jerusalem for an annual festival. You could almost say it's like they had three spring breaks, they would go up for these festivals and you probably have heard the names of them their Passover, Pentecost, and the one that may not be quite as familiar is the one called Tabernacles, and these were times where they were worshiping the Lord. They were spiritual vacations. You can say it that way. And so they came away from their times there in the city of Jerusalem, where they solve their their family. You could call it because it's the children of Israel, they saw their brothers and sisters, their relatives or aunts or uncles their tribal members so they would come away with a time of great refreshing, and renewing a time of great rejoicing. So how did they get there. Well, they had to walk for example, where Jesus lived.

There was about an 85 to a 90 mile walk from Nazareth all the way down to the city of Jerusalem. Well, what would they do all those long journeys. They would always travel in large caravan so they would travel in two or three people is too dangerous. They would take like a wagon train. They would take 20, 30, 40 or 50 people.

So what would they do in those long trips well when you were growing up.

What did your parents do for you, and long trips. Listen the patch the pirate something along that line. Another word you wanted to use the time for a profitable purpose. And that's exactly what they did is they travel they saying while they travel and they saying particular song and those songs were not songs that they chose.

They were actually songs God chosen, and those songs are Psalm 120 to Psalm 134 would you look at your debt that the Bible again, look at your Bible, it probably says Psalm 121 and underneath that you see a title that title is either something like a song of degrees or a Psalm of assent now. Why were they call these particular Psalms. Well, there's a reason for and that is the road that led to Jerusalem from the city of direct Jericho, which is the primary way to get Jerusalem was a was a hike uphill. The city of Jerusalem city sits at 2500 feet above sea level and sits on top of a mountain. The city of Jericho 15 miles away since it 800 feet below sea level, so it is the last days journey. It's about a 15 mile high uphill that a person in decent shape can do an 8 to 9 hours.

It is grueling. It is through the desert.

It is very very challenging and as they would make their way up to the city of Jerusalem.

They called it a Psalm of assent you're sending up to the city and these were the songs that they would sing now. What's the purpose of singing the Psalms will obviously it did help them to endure a grueling hike another word you got your mind off it. Same reason that people listen to music when the exercise but for these Jewish people.

They were spiritual reasons and there were two primary reasons. Number one.

The Psalms were instructional that is they were intended to teach the travelers some specifics specific lesson. For example, you notice the Psalms are very longer 67 or eight versus so the short so it has a lesson a message in your supposed to get the message as you were singing this although we all understand the more you sing it, the easier it is to learn it. The second reason is they were inspirational because the purpose of the Psalms were to strengthen the pilgrims understanding and knowledge of God and in so doing, it was to strengthen their faith. So the question then, this morning is what is the specific lesson of Psalm 121. It is a lesson for life's long journey because life is long and it's a journey, and there things that you learn as a pilgrim on your way to the city of God and what is the lesson well traveling in ancient times was very dangerous.

It was hard it was difficult and the lesson or the theme of Psalm 121 is that is this that troubled travelers turned to trust God for security and safety.

In other words, as their traveling along and facing the realities of the difficulties and the fears that come then you learn to trust God for safety and security. Historically, Psalm 121 is been called the travelers solve. For example, this was the solve this 27-year-old David Livingston read to his family. The day that he was leaving to go to be a missionary in Africa. That is, he looked at this Psalm to giving strength and a sense of safety and security as he as this Psalm reveals something about God and that is that we learn that God is our helper and that God is our keeper throughout all of life's journey.

That's the lesson of Psalm 120.

So let's look at it more carefully because we see that the writer here tells us first of all that the Lord is our helper. Look at verse one I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord which made heaven and earth. Now, immediately we have almost an interpretive question here because depending on your translation that opening statement I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help.

Some translations have a. At the end of it, and some have a? And it's an interpretive way of looking at it, why well because for some as they look up to the hills from the city of Jericho walking up.

It's a long journey but not only is it hard but is dangerous your number the story the good Samaritan and the man that was traveling from Jerusalem and direct Jericho and he fell among the thieves.

It was very dangerous. So when you look at the hills. Okay, it's a it's a question of security. It's a question of safety and so you're scared. Did you get the walking up there that's one way to look at it. The second way to look at it is that the hills represent. Ultimately, where God is located because God is in the city of Jerusalem. And when you look up and you see the hills instead of it being a question of concern. It has a. At the end of it I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help. That is, the Lord is in the top of Mount Zion. That's where my help is located and whether it's a question of concerning confidence or it's it's a statement of confidence. The answer still the same. Who is the one that comes to my who helps me throughout my life and the answer is it is the Lord.

The Hebrew word for the word help is the word because there or if you're from the south ease or however you want to say it, and this word is used throughout the Old Testament over and over and over.

For example the first place. We find it is in Genesis chapter 2 in verse 18. As God describes the first woman who was created by the Lord to come to man and be his helper. Listen to Genesis 218 and the Lord God said it is not good that man should be alone I will make him a what I help meet for him and Adam gave names to all the cattle to all the fowl of the air and every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a help meet for him court you know the story, God made Adam and Adam was given the responsibility to name all the animals. I can see Adam now. He sits down or stop it all the animals come marching by the names of here comes Mr. was a skunk and all the little stinkers you know they come walking back here goes Mr. Mrs. hippopotamus you know and all the little hippies and they come walking back here goes Mr. Mrs. draft. What a cool animal long necks. He walks botches them and they go over behind the tree they start necking with each other and so he he sees all these animals and somewhere in the process, he realized that there was a male like him. And then there was another animal sort like him but different because they look the same of the little different, female, and after about 10,000 couples walking by.

It dawned on him that was something missing in his life. You know, ladies, if you haven't figured out men or a little slow. It takes him a while to get it, but he got it any realize that there was something missing in his life and God made the woman to do for the man what she could not do for himself. Adam did not know what was missing when Yves showed up.

She soon letting the that that he needed her. And God is brought the woman into the life of the man to be his helper.

That's the idea. So the Lord is our helper in Exodus chapter 18 Moses names his two sons. His wife's name was Sapporo.

One of his sons was name Eliezer L.

Meaning God Azor meaning hell.

God is my help in ancient times when they would name their children. They didn't choose cold names. They chose names that reflected their faith or their experience and Moses tells us why he named his son. Eliezer Exodus 18 for in the name of the other was Eliezer meaning my God is help for the God of my father. Father said he was mine help and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh.

In other words, because of his deliverance from death. He named his son and represent recognition of what God did for Eliezer. The Lord is our helper. He doesn't leave his children alone. God promises to come to you to help you to assist you. How often in the course of a day do you ask God for help, Lord. I'm we Lord, I need Lord I ask for God will you. The Lord is saying I'm your helper in first Samuel chapter 7. I love the story Mark of the ark of the Lord is placed in a particular town and stays there for 20 years. During the time the Israelites drift away from the Lord. They backslide in the prophet Samuel comes in. He speaks to them. He preaches to them and tells them if they return to the Lord and God will deliver them out of the hand of their enemies that were coming to attack them.

The felicity, so what do they do, they responded in humility, they obey God they got right with the Lord and Samuel gathers them together in a town called Metz Paul and is a gathered together the enemy, the Phillips listings find out that the children of Israel there, and so they come up to attack them as the enemy was fast approaching the people became terrified and they became desperate and they said the same of please pray to God and they did in the and Samo prayed as a prophet and what did God do.

God answered his prayer and listen for same. Of 1710, the Lord thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines and confuse them or discomforted them and they were smitten before Israel. In other words, God stepped in to defend and deliver the Jewish people and what it Samuel do. He set up a stone. The stone was to be a memorial a remembrance of what God did and listen to first Samuel 712, because he gave the stone a name then Samuel took a stone any set up between Medspa and shin and called the name of it Ebenezer meaning stone of help Heather to The Lord helped us how many times if you song the great Kim, come thou fount of every blessing and you come to the second stanza. Says here, I raise my Ebenezer and you wonder what it was.

That is, that Scrooge of course not. Ebenezer means my stone of help here. I raise the stone chiller by thy help on come and I hope by thy good pleasure, safely, to arrive at home the point is this, that in the singing of the song I'm saying. God, you have help me here and this is a testimony that you help me all and so what is the Bible teaches that the Lord on the journey of life sustains us.

He helps us he comes to protect his own couple years ago I was preaching in the Chicago Illinois area and there was a dear precious couple a young missionary couple that were in the service that they I didn't know it and I preach the sermon on the Lord is our helper.

This couple had been in South Africa and they had very young children, and they came home on furlough, primarily because they had been actually attacked by bandits who come into the house, robbed them and threatened to kill them, and in particular it shook the wife to her core and they came home on furlough to get over the event and that Sunday was the day before they were to get on the plane and fly back to South Africa and she was still struggling with fear and confidence and security that morning she heard from Psalm 121 the Lord is my helper.

He's the one that delivers us and gives us safety and security on the dangerous road of life folks were all gonna look to somebody to help us in the psalmist is saying, the Lord is our helper. But then I want you know to secondly this morning that the Lord is our keeper and if we look at verse three, he begins to use the word key, but he uses it six times I want I want to insert the word keeper in the place where it's where in the King James it uses a different word notices says he will not suffer thy foot to be moved either keep it they will not slumber. Behold, he the keep of Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep the Lord as I keeper the Lord as I shade up on the right hand.

The sun shall not smite beeps might be by day, nor the moon by night.

The Lord shall keep the from all evil, he shall keep my soul the Lord shall keep by going out and my coming in from this time forth, even for evermore Hebrew word for the word keep is the word Shemar. It means that God watches over us. He's described for example as one who attends the garden as a gardener. God is our keeper keeps the garden like a shepherd that watches his flock. Or like a man who watches and guards his house the ideas this that God cares for and God guards his own like a soccer goalie who is the keeper who keeps the ball out of the net when the opposing team is coming to score what he is saying is that God not only helps us but God comes to guard us. God protects us. He keeps us first of all, from falling under the heavy weight of the journey. You know it's a long ways us a long hike up to the city of Jerusalem and in ancient times travelers carry their own luggage. Sometimes the weight was to having when life's burdens get so having what we do.

We are to roll our burden on the Lord, he will not suffer thy foot to be moved. In other words, you're not going to slip and stumble and fall imitate something the road up to Jerusalem is trance treacherous. You can easily fall over a cliff down into up and down into a wadding that's hundreds of feet below. Cast your burden upon the Lord, he shall sustain the he shall never never suffer the righteous to be moved to. Secondly, his care for us is constant. God is undistracted either keep it they will not slumber.

Behold, he the keep of Israel shall leave it neither slumber nor sleep.

Aren't you glad God doesn't take a nap. Some of you come in a chapel and some of you bless your heart. Now I I don't see you guys in the bedroom, us. He does really well. So there was a guy over here mandate a lad. He's not there anymore because he said somewhere else and he was a sleeper I was going to bring out I was gonna bring something to start throwing it guy wake up to.

We sleep all the time. We falsely we can hardly keep her eyes open. God never gets tired our cell phone wears out and that we lose its charge and it dies. Will God never loses his job God did 100% hundred percent of the time God will never slack his care for us.

God is never distracted here. Talk to somebody and that when you're talking to them you realize they were really listening to you they were distracted.

God never gets distracted when you talk to God. He doesn't think about anybody else.

He only thinks about you. God cares for us in is constant in undistracted in the number three. He protects us from imminent danger.

The sun shall not smite me by day, nor the moon by night was at me if you've ever been to Israel. You know this, that the son and Israel is oppressively hot. It's brutal and you're walking through the desert associate and so travelers are in danger of heat stroke and so it just sucks the life out of God is simply saying that I am going to preserve you. I am like the shade. I am your comfort.

I am your relief when you are with. When life is wearing down on you where you go to get relief you get from the and of course the moon here reminds us of the dangers that hide in the shadow and look lurk in the darkness. And God is always there to protect us from harm.

The Lord is our helper. He is our keeper throughout the entire journey of life.

God was with the pilgrims as they went to Jerusalem and as they made their way home. And God will be with his children until they safely arrived to the heavenly home and how can we be absolutely certain of this, because Jesus said in John chapter 16 to his own disciples. It is absolutely necessary for it for me to go away, because if I don't go away.

Then the comforter or the helper will not come to you.

You see the way that we know that Psalm 121 is real to us as believers is that helper now lives in our heart. The Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is there to help us throughout the travels of life and so you and I have security and safety.

And the one who is our helper in our keeper. We pray together.

Lord I thank you this morning that you are helper our keeper.

Thank you that you promised to provide our every need, and to protect us all along our journey. Thank you Lord that you keep us from evil and temptation.

Lord we depend on your power to overcome what we are by nature more we roll our burdens on you to carry them. Lord we ask for the sense of your presence to bring us relief and comfort when were sad. Lord you're the one that makes us happy and joyful.

Thank you Lord that your power is eternal and that your care is perpetual and we thank you for this in Jesus name, amen. You've been listening to a sermon from Dr. Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University from the study series encountering God, which is a study from the book of Psalms we would urge you to get a copy of the study booklet so you can follow along as you listen to the sermons you can get the booklet on Kendall or get a printed copy from our website. The Daily

Thanks for listening and join us again tomorrow as we continue the study of Psalms here on The Daily Platform

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