Sermon – Watchcare: help from heaven (Psalms 121:1 – 121:8) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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Psalms: Songs of Ascent

This series takes us through the last few Psalms in the Bible, called the ‘Songs of Ascent’. They focus on the Psalmist crying out to the Lord in their distress, and also worshipping Him as they are helped & delivered by God.

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Sermon 2 of 14

Watchcare: help from heaven

Rory Kinnaird, Psalms 121:1 - 121:8, 2 April 2023

Rory continues our series in the Songs of Ascent (Psalms 120-150), preaching from Psalm 121:1-8. In this passage we see the Psalmist reflecting on where his help comes from, what it means for all areas of his life - and what it means for us today.

Psalms 121:1 - 121:8

121:1   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.


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

And and, Sarah, appears is now gonna come and read this on for us.

And then, Roy will preach from it. I lift up my eyes to the mountains. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord. The maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip. He who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you. The Lord is your shade at your right hand.

The sun will not harm you by day nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm. He will watch over your life. The Lord will watch over your coming, and going, both now and for evermore. Thanks, Sarah.

And good evening, from me. May I add my welcome. My name is Rory Knadds. I'm 1 of the members of staff here at Cornerstone. And if you've if you were here last week, you would know that we we started this series in the song of a sentence, these 15 psalms that the Jews would have sung as they traveled onto up to Jerusalem to celebrate their their major festivals that that reminded them of God's goodness to them.

And now we're into this this second song of ascent So let's pray as we begin, and then we'll get stuck in. Father, we we thank you so much for these wonderful psalms They're not long, but they they are packed full of great truths about you. And so we pray father as we consider this Psalm now that you will help us, help us to listen, help us to focus, help us to put our hearts and our minds and things above, and we pray father that as a result of this Psalm, we will know something more of who you are, that we will know something more of the lord Jesus Christ. And what it means to be a follower of him. And so he prayed these things in Jesus' name on them.

So last week, Pete began in some hundred and 20. And he was reminding us that actually was surrounded by all sorts of lies that the world is full. Of lies and untrue and deceptions. But he also pointed us to the fact that there is a rescue and there is a salvation on offer you see in verse 2 of a hundred and 20 he says save me Lord from lying lips. And Pete's fourth point of his sermon was, the pilgrimage starts with turning from the lies.

The pilgrimage starts with turning from the lies. And as we come into Psalm 121, that pilgrimage has started. That journey has begun. Now, I'm sure you're all aware that when you're on a journey and I'm sure you've all been on a journey and if you're thinking I'm not I was I've been on a journey. You have.

Okay? Everybody's been on a journey. When you're on a journey or on a pilgrimage, there are dangers, there are obstacles, there are things that that might get in the way of your destination. Whatever that journey looks like, whether it's a hike up a mountain, whether it's a car journey, a boat trip, a plane ride, a bike ride. In those journeys, there's things that can get in the way.

All sorts could happen. In fact, I was in a car yesterday and nearly I I say nearly died, probably a bit dramatic, but My friend was driving the car. We were going to the driving range, and he nearly took out an ambulance and some other car that was in the way. I mean, it was incredible this is the mercy of God. He somehow swerved past them both, and we were spared the danger of those.

The ambulance, good job. The ambulance was there if we did hit it. Although I don't know if that's not going to that too much. But there's dangers there. It's in and there's a great program.

1 of our man, Drew's favorite program, we just started watching a third season race across the world. I don't watch it. It's fantastic. Isn't it? Isn't it the best program ever?

Anyway, that is all about a journey to get to a destination. And they face many many dangers along the way and many obstacles that stop and get in places. There's dangers on the journey, and those dangers can be of different degrees. I mean, you may have heard that the famous story of Ernest Shackleton, great adventurer. I don't know if this story is actually true, but he wanted to gain people to come on an expedition with him.

And he wanted to warn people of those dangers. He said, men wanted for hazardous journey, small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return, doubtful. Term, this dangers. I mean, you might not wanna go on that that particular journey doesn't sound like the most bright future, but I think as legend has it, people did actually sign up for that. There are obstacles.

There are potholes. There are snares. There is adverse weather. There are people whether intentionally or unintentionally hindering the progress of a journey. And that would have been familiar to these Jews on their way as they walk up to Jerusalem to celebrate the the the festivals that they were celebrating, as they go from their villages and their towns and their their homes, they would be familiar with these dangerous, whether that is a a rocky road, whether that is the the the weather or that whether that's Robbers on the road.

And so in the midst of those dangers and as they travel to Jerusalem, where is it that the psalmist will look? And as we consider, where the psalmist looks, where will we look? In this world, and as we journey on through this life, where will we look? As as as recession, the obstacle of a loss of job, as disease and pandemic, as persecution, as rejection from people hits us in this journey of life, Where is it that we will look? And I think as we look at where the psalmist looks, that will help us.

As we look at what the psalmist knows, it'll help us to know truth. So let's have a look at this. My first point here, look up and out. Help from the Lord, the maker. Look up and out.

Help from the Lord, the maker. Read with me this 1 or 2. I lift up my eyes to the mountains. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.

See, here is this service. He knows that he's traveling along a perilous road, a dangerous path. And so as he goes about this journey and as he sees the dangers around him, he looks up to ask the question, where will my help come from? And Maybe it's this maybe it's this feeling of desperately searching, you know, when you're in a pickle and you're just looking around anywhere to look for help. And and he looks at the things that surround him as the mountains, and he's looking not for some sort of help.

And he might be tempted as he looks up he might see the high places where people worship their false gods. He might be tempted to turn to the things that the people turn to in the mountains as they worship their bales and their ashes a false glance at the time. Or maybe he's actually looking off at the mountains because he realizes that they point to a greater reality. It's interesting if you just go ahead and look at chapter hundred and 25 in verse 2, it says as the mountains surround Jerusalem. So the Lord surrounds his people both now and forever more.

See, as it might be that as he looks up at the mountain, he realizes that the mountains point to a greater reality. They point to the 1 who made it. Maybe that's why they're like that. Point up. Yeah?

I don't know. This should have thought I had. He sees that actually there is 1 who made this, but it's not just that made this hill, it's not just someone who made a mountain, It's the maker of heaven and earth. It's not just mountains this 1. That's just a tiny part of his creation.

He's the maker of heaven and earth. He made everything. So as he's in this dangerous path, as he's surrounded by all these things, What does he look to for help? He looks to the all powerful 1. He looks to the sovereign 1.

Who created all things, who was king, over all things, who sustains all things. He sustains and creates the universe that we see. That's who he looks to. This is the director. This is the manager.

This is the CEO. Whatever you wanna call him, he controls everything. That's who the Psalmist looks to. Now, if that hasn't caused you to open your mouth wide with disbelief. Maybe I haven't painted this picture, whether or not for you.

Because that is the all powerful god of the universe. Yet it is this 1 who is all powerful that helps. Isn't that amazing? That's stunning? That the 1 who created everything is the 1 who helps.

He helps his arms. He helps us. The infinitely powerful 1 is he intimately held for 1. We sing a song at Cornerstone and the verse goes like this for the 1 who holds the heavens. And commands the stars above.

Do you see how big he is? The 1 who holds the heavens and commands the stars above is the gods. Who bends to bless us with an unrelenting love. That is incredible. And that's why we should look to him.

He's all powerful and he's all loving. So where will you look? Where will you look in this world? Where will you look in your journey in this world? Are you gonna look inwards and act yourself if you do that?

You're just seeing a problem and you just get wallow in a problem and wallow in self pity in the end usually. Are you gonna look at the things in this world The answer is that this world has. Just throw some more money at it. That will solve this danger. Just drown out the problems with pleasure and drink and whatever else it is.

Turn to other people. There's other people that are powerful politicians, government, family, friends, but actually all these people are finite. Or you could look up to the 1 who holds all things together when it's powerful words who can actually help you. Who are you gonna look to? And what does his help look like?

Now it's interesting. You'll see throughout this song, it uses words like what watches keeps keeps watches. It's all the same word. It's repeated over and over again. He watches over And I wanted to see 3 ways in how he watches over us.

Firstly, he watches over you fully alert. Fully let. Look look with me at verse 3 to 4. He will not let your foot slip. He who watches over you will not slumber.

Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. See there, we talked about that that that journey. Well, if you ever got up a mountain or anything like that, and there's and it's rocky. There's always this sort of risk of of tripping off of of twisting an ankle or something like that. But, God here won't allow it.

It reminds me if I don't know if you've ever if if you ever learned to ride a bike, you might have done. What did your what did your parent do when you're learning a bike? They wouldn't let you fall. I won't let you fall. I won't let you fall.

You won't fall. That's what God's saying here. And why won't he let you fall? Why won't he let your foot slip? Because he will not slumber.

Now you may be tempted to do that in this sermon. Please don't. Just for my encouragement. He won't slumber though, and that's good. God's listening.

He won't slump, but in fact, this is by the way, this is so good that the psalmist has to repeat it again. Doesn't he in verse 4? Look with me. He will meet a slumber nor sleep. He's always watching.

It's this this thing is called his watch care. He's always alert. He doesn't he doesn't bodes off. He doesn't get caught daydream. And I have some friends who I talk to, I may just go off in their own little world.

Mid conversation, Dave Laws. It's it's it's again, it's like the parent when the the newborn is there and they watch over them with a tent of care, they're there, making sure they're okay, but the parent is not the best example because they have to go to sleep at some point. But God is always alert and attentive good news that isn't it lousy. It's not like bail. If you know about bail, bail, what a rubbish God he was.

Right? Bale would go would fall asleep in drunkenness and they used to have to try and wake him up. What a rubbish God? You gotta wake up your God. God doesn't need waking up.

He's always awake. He doesn't day Jimmy, doesn't switch off. He doesn't get distracted. He's not like that dad at the party. I've watched their video.

There's kids just getting up into all sorts of danger as he messes around, as he tries to catch an arrow on his forehead. That's what men are like, a ridiculous bit you know, and those kids like balancing on the slide about to fall off. Because and that's distracted. He's not like that. That's not our gods.

He doesn't get distracted. And he and he helpfully reminds of what he's like and how he's always been. Verse 4, do you see that he mentions He changes it from He watches over you. He watches over you as an individual. He watches over Israel.

Israel. And it reminds us who is Israel. Well, if you know anything about the bible story, Israel is Jacob. And it's amazing Jacob who, by the way, wasn't the greatest character at the start. He's bit of a deceiving bloke.

But God and God visits him in Genesis chapter 28. And in chapter 28, as Jacob sleeps outside on a stone, he's visited by the lord in a dream. And listen to what God says to him in his dream in verse 15 of chapter 28. He says, I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you It's that I have done what I have promised you.

God is with Jacob. He says, I promise to be with you. I will watch over you. And so Jacob can go to sleep outside with his head on a stone. I was reading 1 comment.

I can't remember which 1 it was. He said, because God watches over him, Even though he's outside, he's as safe as if he was in a castle because God watches over him. God watches over Jacob and keeps him. God historically watches over the people of Israel as a journey through the wilderness. They're accompanied by a pillar of fire and a pillar of smoke.

God is with them watching over them always. There's no holidays with God. When we all go to our street parties to celebrate the coronation of our fine king, Charles the third, he is not having a bad holiday. He is awake. He is alert.

He is watching over us. Isn't that great news? He's fully alert, but secondly, he watches over you without exception. He watches over you without exception. Look with me at verse 5 to 6.

The Lord watches over you The lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun will not harm you by day nor the moon by night. There you are in a journey. You can easily be affected by the elements. Again, are we watching I was I was revisiting the first season of race across the world.

Oh, that's how much I love it. I watched it again. And there's 1 episode where they have to cross the Caspian Sea. Caspian Sea. But if it gets too windy, they have to stop.

It affects them. The danger of the weather affects them. They have to stop. They're they're trapped on a boat for 3 or 4 days. They're going absolutely crazy.

That elements can easy affect us the dangers of the the the weather can stop us. And so here for the the the psalmist, he's saying yes. There's there's the elements there. He uses the opposite. Right?

He uses the sun by day, the moon by night. And in other words, he's saying, we've got the sun here, we've got the moon there, and everything else within them will not harm them. Why? Because when they threaten, as the sun beats down and it's fierce heat and tries to and and and causes many issues. It will not threaten them why because God is close by.

Did you see? Where is the lord? He is the shade at your right hand. He's close by. He's not far away.

See, God isn't 1 that you have to lag it somewhere. You know, when when you get caught in a rain storm, you need to lag it for shelter. Now he's like it basically an umbrella or your right hand. Just put it up or a parasol in the sun. He's there at your right hand at your fingertips.

God is there with you close by. So you don't have to work to get his shade. He's there. Protecting you. He's protecting you physically as the sun beats down on you.

He protects you. Physically, he protects you. And as the moon, you might be thinking, why? How could the moon harm you? Well, if there's robbers there, the moon might give you away.

But also, you might know that the word lunacy or lunatic comes from the word lunatic, the moon. So mentally, God will protect you. Now you might be thinking, well, Do we, you know, why are we endangering at nighttime? Or think about when you're worried. When do you feel your worries the most of them?

Because you lie in your bed and stress and you're worried and you're anxious about stuff, that's when they come on. As you think through things that are being eaten away at you and they seem 10 times worse at nighttime, And in those moments, God says, I'm your shelter. I'm your shade. I'm here with you. I'm watching over you.

It's okay. So he watches over you without exception. Thirdly, he watches over you without limitation. This is great. He just broadens it out.

I love this. Look at verse 7 to wait with me. The Lord will keep you from all harm. He will watch over your life. The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

Without limitation. Look at the words, all harm. All evil. He watches over your life. He watches whether you're coming and going.

You're either common or you're going. Let's not use your middle bit. Is that you're either common or you're going? Now and forevermore, See look, if God is watching over you as he's promising to do here, nothing can hurt you. If God is helper, if God is keeper, if God is watching, if God is Guardian, he's gonna completely and fully watch over you.

So that you're not harmed. And he's through that right now for you. Right now, he's watching over you. How good is that? I'm gonna do it forever more.

So tomorrow he's gonna watch over you. And you might think, well, what about the next day? Yes. He'll watch your review. Okay.

What about the next day? Yes. What about the next day? Yes. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, for evermore.

Now, you might be sitting there in your seat? I'm thinking, this sounds all very good, Rory. But what about all the bad stuff that happens to us? Really? No harm?

What about when I end up falling in temptation and and sin? What about when what about when disease does hit my family? What about when death comes to my to my doorstep? Really? No harm?

He's watching over me then? Really? Well, here's my second point. Look up and out. Help from Jesus our Savior.

Look open out help from Jesus our Savior. I think 1 of the the lovely things about these Psalms is to remain somber, that the lord Jesus Christ himself would have traveled that road up to Jerusalem. He would have read the Psalm he would have learnt these psalms, and he would have sung these psalms. So he understands exactly our position. He understands what it is to journey.

He understands what it is like to be faced with dangers. He understands this Psalm. He would have sung this Psalm. And as he sung it, he preached it to his himself. As he sung this song, he preached it to himself, but not only do you preach it to yourself as you sing, get your singing with each other.

That's why singing so good. We sing truth to 1 another. So Jesus would be preaching this to himself and he would have preached it to the people around him. Because he believed the truths that are contained within these words. And No 1 believed it better than Jesus.

No 1 trusted the father like Jesus did. Didn't they? No 1 trusted him to help them to watch over them. So much so did Jesus know that that that God was looking out looking after him that he's able to even sleep in a storm. You just look at Jesus' life, what did he do before miracles he looks up and he prays to the father.

He kicks himself away and he prays to the father. He knows God's help throughout this lifetime. And so much so that God the father helps him all the way all the way on his journey. All the way on his journey, even through gethsemane. Even as he sweats these these these sweat droplets of blood, even then he knows the Lord's help, but he as he prays If you can take this cover away, can you?

No. Well, your will be done. He knows us help and he knows us help through Guest Family and to the cross. And then the glorious news is is that on that cross, that Jesus, as he hangs there and we've sang some of the great truths about the cross tonight. As he hangs on the cross, he deals.

With the things that threaten us most. Just a few days a few weeks ago, we were reflecting on John. Where he shouts, it is finished. It is finished. I have dealt with the threats.

I've dealt with the snazz of sin that might trip you up. I have dealt with the searing heat of judgment as I as I took the darkness and I took a judgment of god for my sin as he dealt with the persecuted Satan. That's what he was doing on the cross. So the things that we read here in Psalm under 21 is true. My foot won't slip.

The son of me won't harm me. No evil will come to harm me because I now know and I've been brought into relationship with the 1 who is watchfully carrying over me. The Lord Jesus has brought us into a relationship with him. He has put us on a path, on a journey. Not to Jerusalem of old in Israel, but to the new Jerusalem to a heavenly city, 1 that will last forever, where it will be with the Lord Jesus forever and ever and ever.

And so the things that once threatened does, The things that once threatened to harm us and they would have harmed us by the way, they would have harmed you. Death would have harmed you. Same would have harmed you. Satan would have had you that accused him lied to you. They don't harm us anymore.

They don't. They used to be able to, but they don't. In fact, better than that, they only service Now you might be thinking, how do the things that once harmed us now serve us? Well, let's turn to Romans chapter 8. Some of the the best words of the bible well.

It's hard to say that because it's all God's word. But anyway, chapter 8 verse 28. How do we know that the things that once threatened to harm us now serve us? How do we know that a watchful God uses these things. Well, let's read 8 28.

We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Not some things, not a few things, not most things, All things. All things. All things. All things big, all things small.

He watches over us and he uses the things in this world to servers, to make us more like the Lord Jesus Christ and to get us to our eternal home. This is my new phrase by the way. I've I've been telling I was telling Rooty the other day. Let's talk about this. Now whenever I'm in any situation now, I have to say to I say out loud, I say, all things, small or big.

There I am. A behind a slow drive. It was a BMW the other week of the year. I was like, why don't you have a BMW if you're not going to drive it like a normal human being? And then I had to say to myself all things.

All things. All things work for the good of those who God loves. He's grabbed my patience here because I'm not very patient. All things It might be that you shout, you say to yourself God's watching, God's keeping, God's preserving. There you are at home.

You've lost your keys again. You've lost your AirPods, your phone, whatever else it is, Tricia. Tricia's always loses And there you are. And then you're meant to be looking, but this is not looking. Yeah.

And in instead, you can say actually all things. God's watching. I can trust God. He's watching over me. You might think, oh, well, the Gosh, she doesn't care about the small things.

I was reading 1 person, he said, you might think it's like a a great surgeon trying to deal with the scratch. It just bandaging up. But he does. He does. And so, preach all things.

Preached God's watching over you. Preached God is keeping you and preserving you in the small things. Preached every day of your life. Bridge every moment of your life in the small things. So when the big things hit, you can know this for sure.

All things. Preach it to yourself. Preach it to 1 another. So that when suffering and the big things do happen, you will know he's watching over you. It's great.

I was talking to him. My my dad about this. And he's he's got a great outlook on on these things. So much he said, he was so glad that he was able to know that God is watchfully caring over us, that God in his providence cares for us. And he wanted to know that before suffering hit.

So when Steven, who many of you know, Evan thinks he's the nicest human being in the world, but he wasn't growing up. But when steam is born 3 months premature, all things. When mom gets cancer, all things. When he has 2 mental breakdowns, or things. All things.

All things. He watches over me. He watches over me. Now And that's great, but not just now forever more. It's gonna watch every tomorrow and the next day and the next day and the next day.

Praise God that he watches over us. So thirdly, where will you look to for help? Will you look within and just wallow and find no solution? Will you look to the world and find solutions that are inadequate. Or will you look to the maker of heaven and earth?

Will you look to the savior that is the lord Jesus Christ? And find 1 that watches over you and cares for you and loves you. You might be here and you don't know that. I don't I don't know. Well, tonight, you've been shown a God who watches a view, who wants you to be cure and to know his unrelenting love.

Turn to him. And Pilgrim Christian, As you go, keep looking to the father. Don't settle. Don't be tempted to look at other things. Don't be tempted to look for other solutions in both the small and the big, preach this to yourself.

Remember Jesus has dealt with our biggest threats. And then let his words ring in your ears. Surely, I am with you always to the very end. Of the age. Let's pray.

Father, we thank you so much for this wonderful song. We thank you that it shows us that, yes, you are the maker of all things that you are the sovereign but you are also intimately involved with us. And because you're the sovereign 1 who is intimately involved with us, you are the only 1 who can help us. And so we thank you that you are a god who loves us and watches over us. And we pray that we will understand that more and more in our in our lives.

We pray both in small and big we will be reminded that you watch over us. Help us know the presence of the lord Jesus Christ in our lives. As we pilgrim on to our new Jerusalem. We pray these things in Jesus' name, amen.

Preached by Rory Kinnaird
Rory Kinnaird photo

Rory is a trainee pastor at Cornerstone and oversees our Youth Work with his wife Jerusha who is also a youth leader.

Contact us if you have any questions.

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