Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The Keeper

Carol read Psalm 121 from the King James Version for today's church zoom prayers.  Only eight verses but there was one word in translation that I particularly wanted to highlight. Contrasting KJV with NIV you notice how the question at the beginning is missing: I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.  A question mark helps - are the hills places of danger, of cultic worship or (as I think the majority take it) the physical hills around Jerusalem which speak of the Lord's majesty and purpose?  I have always wondered whether for this psalmist who seems to have a deep need to know God and have a purpose and meaning to his life whether they dwarf him with their permanence and size in contrast with his little life.  Well, who knows.

But what matters is the personal affirmation that his help comes from the Lord who made the hills and everything else and who promises to be with him every step of the way, night and day, body mind and spirit 24/7.  And the KJV word is 'keeper' - the Lord is thy keeper v 5.  It has a ring of warmth and responsibility about it and, as we read on, we see how consistent is God's keeping.

I particularly paused at the theme that 'he that keepeth thee will not slumber (v3) Behold he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep (v.4).  I remember as a child marvelling that God did not need to go to sleep...ever.  It was the Methodist minister Dr. Quayle who was working hard one night with no end in sight when this verse struck him and he seemed to hear God say: There's no need to both of us to stay up all night. I'm going to stay up anyway. You go to bed and get a good sleep'.

Yes. keeper is a good word.

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