Look Up! Look Up!

Title: Look Up! Look Up!

Bible Book: Psalms 121 : 1-8

Author: Franklin L. Kirksey

Subject: Faith; Deliverence; Hope; Security; Peace



Dr. William Pulsford (1822-1886) writes, “The hill of the Lord is to the pilgrim who looks up what the compass is to the mariner who finds his course by it through the troubled waters of the pathless sea. For those who look to Him, the Lord opens up ‘a way in the desert’ a path through the woods, and turns the sea into dry land.”[1]

Psalm 121: 1-7 reads, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills—From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in From this time forth, and even forevermore.”

This psalm pictures God in three ways and encourages us to look up to Him in prayer. Note these three images.

I. First, note God as the Prime Mover!

Psalm 121:1-4 reads, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills—From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep.” Dr. Adam Clarke (1760-1832) refers to verses one and two as “The resolution of a godly man.”[2] Therefore, we could refer to verses three and four as “The reliance of a godly man.” Note God as the prime mover! Here are a few examples of people referring to God as the prime mover:

Drs. Norman L. Geisler and William E. Nix explain, “God is the Prime Mover by whose promptings the prophets were led to write. The ultimate origin of inspired writings is the desire of the Divine to communicate with man.”[3]
Dr. Thomas Whitelaw (1840-1917), author of Old Testament Critics An Inquiry into the Character, Effect, and Validity of their Teaching, (1903) writes, “The prime mover in all religious awakenings and reformations is God (Ezekiel 36:27; John 3:3, 5; John 6:63; Romans 8:2; 1 Corinthians 15:10).”[4] Ezekiel 36:27 reads, “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” John 3:3, 5 reads, “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ . . . Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’” John 6:63 reads, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” Romans 8:2 reads, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” 1 Corinthians 15:10 reads, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

Dr. David L. Larsen writes, “This is to say that the important persons are shown to be unimportant and the unimportant persons turns out to be important, and God is the prime mover.”[5]

Dr. Willem A. VanGemeren writes, “Yahweh alone is God cf. 115:4-7; 124:8; 134:3; 146:6; Jer. 10:11)! The sole source of ‘help’ comes from Yahweh, who, as Creator, has unlimited power.”[6] Psalm 115:4-7 reads, “Their idols are silver and gold, The work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they do not speak; Eyes they have, but they do not see; They have ears, but they do not hear; Noses they have, but they do not smell; They have hands, but they do not handle; Feet they have, but they do not walk; Nor do they mutter through their throat.” Psalm 124:8 reads, “Our help is in the name of the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 134:3, “The Lord who made heaven and earth Bless you from Zion!” Psalm 146:6 reads, “Who made heaven and earth, The sea, and all that is in them; Who keeps truth forever.” Jeremiah 10:11 reads, “Thus you shall say to them: ‘The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under these heavens.’”

According to John 1, Colossians 1, and Hebrews 1, the Creator of everything is Jesus Christ. John 1:1-3 reads, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” Colossians 1:15-18 reads, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” Hebrews 1:1-3, 10-12 reads, “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high . . . . ‘You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not fail.’”

The Lord Jesus Christ is the ultimate prime mover!

II. Second, note God as the Protective Cover!

Psalm 121:5-6 reads, “The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night.” Here, “shade” speaks of His protective covering, “as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings” (Matthew 23:37).

Psalm 91:1-4 reads, “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.’ Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.”

Shadow of the Almighty: The Life & Ministry of Jim Elliot by Elisabeth Elliot, originally published in 1958, tells the rest of the story about her martyred missionary husband, Jim Elliot (1927-1956). In the Preface, she writes about the letters and journals of her dearly departed husband, “They are not mine to withhold. They are part of the human story, the story of man in relation to the Almighty. They are facts.”[7] Not everyone who claims a relationship with the Almighty has one. 1 John 2:3-6 reads, “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.”

The psalmist, David, humbly prays in Psalm 17:8b, “Hide me under the shadow of Your wings.” William O. Cushing (1823-1902) penned the following words in 1896 set to music by Ira D. Sankey:

Under His wings I am safely abiding,
Though the night deepens and tempests are wild,
Still I can trust Him; I know He will keep me,
He has redeemed me, and I am His child.

Under His wings, what a refuge in sorrow!
How the heart yearningly turns to His rest!
Often when earth has no balm for my healing,
There I find comfort, and there I am blessed.

Under His wings, oh, what precious enjoyment!
There will I hide till life’s trials are o’er;
Sheltered, protected, no evil can harm me,
Resting in Jesus, I’m safe evermore.


Under His wings, under His wings,
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings my soul shall abide,
Safely abide forever.[8]

The Lord Jesus Christ is the ultimate protective cover!

III. Third, note God as the Preserving Lover!

Psalm 121:7-8 reads, “The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in From this time forth, and even forevermore.”

To be preserved or kept from evil does not mean we will never have pain and problems but we will have the power and purpose of God operating in our life. Romans 8:28-39 reads, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’ Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Dr. Adrian Rogers (1931-2005) wrote, "Neither death nor anything that happens after death, or anything that happens while you’re living can separate you from God's love. If there were no other verse in the Bible that deals with eternal security, this one covers the base.

Some people say, ‘Well, if I believed in this doctrine, then I’d get saved and I’d sin all I want to.’ Friend, I sin all I want to. I sin more than I want to. I don’t want to! When you get saved you get your wanter fixed. As a matter of fact, you get a brand new wanter."[9]

In Genesis 50:20, known as the “Romans 8:28 of the Old Testament,” Joseph said to his brothers, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”

Rev. Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892) shares the following attributed to Thomas Toke Lynch (1818-1871)[10]:

Say not my soul, ‘From whence can God relieve my care?’

Remember that Omnipotence has servants everywhere.

His method is sublime, His heart profoundly kind,

God never is before his time, and never is behind.[11]

Dr. Billy Graham said, “Once we realize God holds us in His hands, we can meet life’s uncertainties with confidence.”[12]

When we think of God as the preserving lover, our mind goes to Ephesians 5:22-33, where we read, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

This passage pictures the natural self-preservation and the selfless-preservation of another. Jesus Christ’s love for the church is the prototype of a Christian husband’s love for his wife.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the ultimate preserving lover!


Rev. Charles Kingsley (1819-1875) succinctly explains, “All but God is changing day by day.”[13] Dr. F. W. (Frederick William) Robertson (1816-1853) writes, “God is not affected by our mutability; our changes do not alter him. When we are restless, he remains serene and calm; when we are low, selfish, mean, or dispirited, he is still the unalterable ‘I Am’. The same yesterday, today, and forever, in whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. What God is in himself, not what we may chance to feel him in this or that moment to be, that is our hope.”[14]

Oswald Chambers (1874-1917) writes, “We impoverish God’s ministry to us the moment we forget he is Almighty; the impoverishment is in us, not in him. We will come to Jesus as Comforter or as Sympathiser, but we will not come to Him as Almighty.”[15] Chambers is also credited with the following: “We must pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulty.”[16] 1 Samuel 7:12 reads, “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’” The word “Ebenezer” means, “The stone of help”. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “Ebenezer” is “a commemoration of divine assistance.”[17]

Rev. Robert Robinson (1735-1790) wrote the lyrics to the beloved hymn, “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” (1758). Here are the first two stanzas:

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

Dr. Herbert Lockyer, Sr. (1886-1984) writes, “From the constant recurrence of the word keep, we are led to name this song: A Psalm to the Keeper of Israel.”[18] Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Keeper of all believers as well. John 6:37-39 reads, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.” Jude 24-25 reads, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen.”

No matter how things might look during this year: Look Up! Look Up!

[1]William Pulsford, Sermons Preached in Trinity Church, Glasgow, (Glasgow: James Maclehose, 1873), 61-62.

[2]Adam Clarke, Adam Clarke’s Commentary, Database © 2014 Wordsearch.

[3]Norman L. Geisler and William E. Nix, A General Introduction to the Bible: Revised and Expanded. (1968, 1986), 191. Database © 2007 WORDsearch Corp.

[4]The Pulpit Commentary, http://biblehub.com/sermons/auth/whitelaw/the_gracious_acts_of_jehovah_or_israel's_glorious_future.htm .

[5]David L. Larsen, Telling the Old, Old Story: The Art of Narrative Preaching, (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publication, 1995), 106.

[6]The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, gen. ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, Vol. 5, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1991), 772.

[7]Elisabeth Elliot, Shadow of the Almighty: The Life & Ministry of Jim Elliot, (New York, NY: Harper, 1958), 10.

[8]William O. Cushing, “Under His Wings,” (1896).

[9]Preaching Daily, (Richmond, VA: Salem Web Network, 2014), Today’s Extra. . . “Eternal Security,” Tuesday, December 30, 2014, Accessed: 12/30/14, https://us-mg205.mail.yahoo.com/neo/launch?.partner=sbc&.rand=bfd1f431p56f8#

[10]Jim Reimann, Look Unto Me: The Devotions of Charles Spurgeon, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008), August 5 Reading.

[11]Charles H. Spurgeon, Morning by Morning, (New York, NY: Sheldon and Company, 1867), 218.

[12]An Inspirational Daily Planner 2010, Billy Graham, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2009), Friday, August 13 Reading.

[13]Kate Louise Roberts, Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations, (New York, NY: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1923), 317.

[14]David Thomas, The Book of Psalms: Exegetically and Practically Considered, Vol. 1, (London: R. D. Dickinson, 1882), 357.

[15]Oswald Chambers, The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers, Run Today’s Race, April 17 Reading, (Grand Rapids, MI: Discovery House Publishers, 2000),1142. Accessed: 01/03/15, http://cdn.rbc.org/dhp/ebook/Complete-Works-Oswald-Chambers_FV162.pdf .

[16]An Inspirational Daily Planner 2009, Oswald Chambers, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2008), Tuesday, August 4 Reading.

[17]Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “Ebenezer,” Accessed: 12/12/14, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ebenezer .

[18]Herbert Lockyer, A Devotional Commentary: Psalms, (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1993), 622.

Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, pastor First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort 30775 Jay Drive Spanish Fort, Alabama 36527

Author of Don’t Miss the Revival! Messages for Revival and Spiritual Awakening from Isaiah and

Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice [Both available on Amazon.com in hardcover, paperback and eBook]

http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Miss-Revival-Spiritual-Awakening/dp/1462735428 & http://www.amazon.com/Sound-Biblical-Preaching-Giving-Bible/dp/1594577684 / [email protected] / (251) 626-6210

© January 4, 2015 All Rights Reserved


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