Psalm 121:7

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 7. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil, or keep thee from all evil. It is a great pity that our admirable translation did not keep to the word keep all through the psalm, for all along it is one. God not only keeps his own in all evil times but from all evil influences and operations, yea, from evils themselves. This is a far reaching word of covering: it includes everything and excludes nothing: the wings of Jehovah amply guard Iris own from evils great and small, temporary and eternal. There is a most delightful double personality in tiffs verse: Jehovah keeps the believer, not by agents, but by himself; and the person protected is definitely pointed out by the word thee, -- it is not our estate or name which is shielded, but the proper personal man. To make this even more intensely real and personal another sentence is added, "The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil:" he shall preserve thy soul, -- or Jehovah will keep thy soul. Soul keeping is the soul of keeping. If the soul be kept all is kept. The preservation of the greater includes that of the less so far as it is essential to the main design: the kernel shall be preserved, and in order thereto the shell shall be preserved also. God is the sole keeper of the soul. Our soul is kept from the dominion of sin, the infection of error, the crush of despondency, the puffing up of pride; kept from the world, the flesh, and the devil; kept for holier and greater things; kept in the love of God; kept unto the eternal kingdom and glory. What can harm a soul that is kept of the Lord?

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 7. -- The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil. Lawyers, when they are drawing up important documents, frequently conclude with some general terms to meet any emergency which may possibly occur. They do this on the principle, that what is not in may be supposed to be intentionally left out. In order to guard against this inference, they are not content with inserting a number of particular cases; they conclude with a general statement, which includes everything, whether expressed or not. A similar formula is inserted here. It is of great Importance, that the feet of travellers be kept from sliding, as they pursue their journey. It is of great importance, that they be preserved from heat by day, and from cold by night. But other dangers await them, from which they require protection; and lest the suspicion be entertained, that no provision is made for these being surmounted, they are all introduced in the saving and comprehensive clause. No matter what may be their character, no matter from what quarter they may appear, no matter when they may nome, and no matter how long they may continue, the declaration covers them all. Divine grace changes the nature of everything it handles, and transforms everything it touches into gold. Afflictions are overruled for good; and the virtues of the Christian life are developed with unusual lustre. "The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil." --N. McMichael.

Verse 7. -- The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil, etc. It is an absolute promise, there are no conditions annexed; it honours God for us simply to believe it, and rest on the Lord for the performance of it. As we view it, what have we to fear? The mouth of the Lord hath spoken it, his word is immutable. Jesus preserves body and soul, he is the Saviour of the body as well as of the soul. --Samuel Eyles Pierce.

Verse 7,8. -- The threefold expression, "shall keep thee...thy soul...thy going out and thy coming in," marks the completeness of the protection vouchsafed, extending to all that the man is and that he does. --J.J. Stewart Perowne.

Verse 7,8. -- It is of importance to mark the reason why the prophet repeats so often what he had so briefly and in one word expressed with sufficient plainness. Such repetition seems at first sight superfluous: but when we consider how difficult it is to correct our distrust, it will be easily perceived that he does not improperly dwell upon the commendation of tile divine providence. How few are to be found who yield to God the honour of being a "keeper", in order to their being thence assured of their safety, and led to call upon him in tile midst of their perils! On the contrary, even when we seem to have largely experienced what this protection of God implies, we yet instantly tremble at tile noise of a leaf falling from a tree, as if God had quite forgotten us. Being then entangled in so many unholy misgivings, and so much inclined to distrust, we are taught from the passage that if a sentence couched in a few words does not suffice us, we should gather together whatever may be found throughout tim whole Scriptures concerning the providence of God, until this doctrine -- "That God always keeps watch for us" -- is deeply rooted in our hearts; so that, depending upon his guardianship alone, we may bid adieu to all the vain confidences of the world. --John Calvin.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 7. --

  1. Personal agency of God in providence.
  2. Personal regard of providence to the favoured individual.
  3. Special care over the centre of the personality -- "thy soul."