Psalm 121: No Down Time

Psalm 121

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.

He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD is your keeper;
    the LORD is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all evil;
    he will keep your life.
The LORD will keep
    your going out and your coming in
    from this time forth and forevermore.

Pansies #1 | Mercer Botanical Garden | March 2023

One of my not-so-secret pleasures is sneaking off to our front bedroom and taking a mid-afternoon nap. Sometimes I’m really tired. Sometimes I just want some down time. I’ll listen to a book, watch a YouTube video, or meditate and pray. It’s a privilege of being retired…and not having much pressure from Diane in the form of a “Honey-Do” list. Whether it’s a midday nap, a good night’s sleep, or some other form of rest, it is a necessary rhythm for those who wish to follow God’s laws and Jesus’ example. He would often go out alone to pray (resting by absenting himself from the constant demands on his time). And God commands that we remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy, including the command that we not work on that one day of the week.

God himself rested after the work of creation.

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. – Genesis 2:1-3

I’m wondering about this psalm in light of God’s resting on the seventh day of creation. Was that it for God? Did he get one day of rest and now he’s 24/7/365 caring for people, and on leap year, 24/7/366? Does God never get a break? According to this psalm, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber or sleep. He’s always watching over us. He is always on call. He’s always attentive to us. Why he needed to rest after creating the world, but no longer needs to, is a mystery to me.

Beyond the mystery is the blessing of God’s constant care, protection, provision, and watchfulness. Jesus teaches us about God’s care for us and all of creation.

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. – Matthew 10:29-30

God is watching over us without fail. He is aware of our every need, temptation, trouble, joy, challenge, and hope. This isn’t just a full-time job for him. It’s his heart’s calling, a work of love, and a product of his goodness.

The one exception I can think of to his absolute care was 2000 years ago from 9:00 in the morning to 3:00 in the afternoon. That was the time his only Son was on the cross. It was then that God took his eye off Jesus. Jesus cried out, “My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me?” He did that so that we could enjoy the eternal blessings of God’s glorious grace. There is no down time for his loving care for us and for all of creation.

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