Supper Table Psalms: Psalm 121
The Traveler's Psalm
By Zach Dietrich
Pastor Zach will write a new series of short family devotions each month that you can read along with Soteria’s psalm of the month. The Dietrich family calls them Supper Table Psalms because they just so happen to read psalms at suppertime. But, each family is different. Whether it’s in the morning at breakfast or in the evening at suppertime, during family time in the living room or before lights out at bedtime, make moments to read God’s word together. This month is Psalm 121, the traveler’s psalm.
What are you sure to pack to be prepared for a long road trip?
Books, games, and music? Check.
Blanket and pillow? Check.
Seat belt? Check.
Psalm 121? Wait. Why would we pack up a psalm to take on our cross-country road trip?
Psalm 121 has been called the traveler’s psalm. As we read it, can you figure out why?
Psalm 121 is one of the psalms of ascent. That means that Israelites likely sang this song as they traveled to the city of Jerusalem – a city on a hill – for celebrations. They traveled not by car, and most certainly not on a smooth interstate, but on foot, up and down hills, over streams, camping along the way.
If you had traveled with them, you wouldn’t have had to worry about flat tires, but you might slip on some loose gravel and twist your ankle. And, there are also wild beasts roaming and hot sun beating down on you. Or, there might even be bandits!
You can imagine the pilgrims’ singing and praying to God for protection:
“I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2, ESV).
Do you see why this is a traveler’s psalm? All the way, they had to remember how God protected them.
“Look to the hills,” one traveler sings. Hills are high and are low. They are beautiful and dangerous. Somes hills are gentle ripples upon the earth like water lazily lapping upon the shore. Some are granite cliffs, deep cut into the land. And, you are never quite sure what you may find over the top! But God knows, because he made every square inch of every hill.
Hills are a lot like all of life. Life is full of valleys and scenic views and mysterious turns, too. Life has boring slopes and dangerous hills. God watches every moment of our life. So the truth of God’s protection is bigger than road trips.
Perhaps the next time we pack up the trunk and take a trip, we can also bring Psalm 121. We can read Psalm 121 before we pull out of the driveway. When we look to the hills, whether the fields of Iowa or the Black Hills or the Rockies, we can praise the Lord who made every hill.