Psalms 121:8 | NIV (1984) | Other Versions | Context
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
I was studying in a mission school, and when we graduated, each of us were given one of the above banner with the school hymn printed on the back of the banner. I’ve never been one for nostalgia to schools, but years later, I still have it stuck to the top of my desk. This verse has seen me through many harsh times, reassuring me with God’s promise, and it is with a tinge of nostalgia that I write this post today.
Psalms 121 is the second of a series of song of ascents, beginning from Psalms 120 all the way to Psalms 134. 3 times a year, the people will gather and go to Jerusalem, a high land, as a form of pilgrimage; they sing these songs and hence these songs are called songs of ascents. I’ve been told that Psalms 121 is perfect for driving or travelling, as it is about Help, Protection and Shelter. The whole of Psalms 121 is filled with promises that God will protect us and watch over us, and Psalms 121:8 ends of the Psalm with a strong and eternal promise.
The Lord will watch over your coming and going – wherever you go, whatever you endeavour, God will watch over you. Watch over connotes protection, reassurance; and in other versions the word ‘preserve’ is used, which suggests that even in difficult times God is there to keep us going. The omnipresence of God as highlighted in Deuteronomy 28:6 – You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out – is used similarly in Psalms 121:8. When we come and go – when we travel, and in a sense, whatever we do, whether in the workplace, or at home, or anywhere – we have that reassurance from God. God is always there. He is omnipresent.
Analysis: Eternal promise
Both now and forevermore – the earlier part of this verse gives us the assurance that our Lord is will watch over us everywhere and anywhere, and now it is every time and anytime, and even forever more – an eternal promise. This phrase can be found several times across the Psalms, Psalms 125:2, Psalms 113:2, Psalms 115:18 – and while it does not always speak of God’s protection, it gives great promise of eternality as well.
What a great assurance! God will watch us anywhere, everywhere, anytime, every time and eternally. Perhaps it is best that we keep in mind that God’s protection over us doesn’t mean that we won’t suffer or meet with trials – but that even in trials and difficult times, we have the faith to keep going on. If anything, this is a great prayer to make in every trip and endeavour we make, isn’t it?
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