"The Lord will protect your coming and going both now and forever. (Psalm 121:8 HCSB)
How many steps do we take in life?
Our first steps are a wobble, a lurch, and we fall--then slowly we rise and try again. Soon, we become fairly proficient at it and start running--usually with a giggle as a parent pursues--the pitter patter of bare feet on a hardwood floor. Childhood excursions through the yard, down the baseline, to and from the school bus stop, over to the friend across the street and a game of tag, thus we race through our teen years, feet awkwardly moving on the floor at the prom, maybe stepping on a toe, walking down the high school hallways as we navigate to class, at times over hot pavement to our car. Those feet stop growing, but keep going, some marching in a military formation, most eventually down an aisle for a wedding, and later walking the floor at night with a baby, only to put those feet on a cold floor when the alarm goes off and plod toward the bathroom in the dark of a bedroom before dawn. Those feet are then washed over in the warm water of the shower, dried off, stuffed in socks, encased in shoes and off to work they go. In our daily path we may casually stroll in sunshine on a sandy beach, or pace an emergency room tile floor, or climb a steep path shaded with trees, perhaps slog through mud or crunch through snow--feet wet, freezing. Perhaps they move routinely on a daily trek on the concrete floor of a factory.
How many steps do we take in life?
As life's journey continues, those steps will take us more and more into doctor's offices, funeral homes and cemeteries. Then our feet go back to the same pace as a baby, though gnarled and gnawing with pain in our feeble gait. Our final steps may be a wobble, a lurch, and we fall, never to rise again--until Resurrection Day and skipping, leaping, dancing on golden streets!
Coming and going--how many steps do we take?
I don't know. Typically, a lot! What I do know is this--for God's child those steps are guided, guarded and governed by the omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent Lord, whether we are coming or going!
Psalm 121 is "A Song of Ascents." These kinds of psalms were what the pilgrims sang as they ascended up the mountain to Jerusalem and worshipped at the temple. While we do not know for certain who composed the song, it certainly fits what we read of David's experience. From his treks as a shepherd boy searching for pasture, to his wilderness wanderings as Saul was a bloodhound on his trail, the steps of David were supervised by God.
In our coming and going, God is our HELPER. "I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth." (Psalm 121:1, 2 HCSB)
Don't walk with your head down--look up! Those who made the journey to Jerusalem could elevate their gaze to those lofty heights where in the Holy of Holies, God was enthroned between the cherubim. Recognize that the Lord is the one who molded the mountains. Indeed, by the sheer power of His spoken word, called all creation into being. Can any obstacle in our path be too large? I should say not!
In our coming and going, God is our PROTECTOR. "He will not allow your foot to slip; your Protector will not slumber. Indeed, the Protector of Israel does not slumber or sleep." (Psalm 121:3, 4 HCSB)
Are we worried about our next step? Is there uncertainty that drives sleep from our eyes, anxiety that causes us to toss and turn? Why should we stay awake, when God has promised He will? There is no reason for both of us to be up all night! In your coming and going, come to Jesus with that burden and He will give you rest. He has promised. Then go to sleep--the Watchman is at His post.
In our coming and going, God is our SHELTER. "The Lord protects you; the Lord is a shelter right by your side. The sun will not strike you by day or the moon by night." (Psalm 121:5, 6 HCSB)
Have you ever seen pictures of the Sahara Desert--that vast expanse of searing sand? Imagine that you had to walk across that? Sometimes it seems that way in the journey of life. Our steps take us into places where we "feel the heat." Yet, it is then that we find God to be a shelter--there is a cloud that overshadows us, blocking out the blistering rays. It is the glory cloud of God's presence that shaded Israel by day in the exodus and gave them light as they camped by night.
In our coming and going, God is our PRESERVER. "The Lord will protect you from all harm; He will protect your life. The Lord will protect your coming and going both now and forever." (Psalm 121:7, 8 HCSB)
From those first baby steps, God is there to care for us, all the way through until the steps of old age take us to the end--He never leaves us; He never forsakes us. The Lord has appointed the number of steps we take. He has ordained the path we are to tread. God preserved me in His grace and mercy while I wandered in the fields of sin. When I nearly stumbled into the Abyss, He reached out and pulled me back. He hemmed me in, where I had nowhere to go but to Him. The prodigal whose steps had taken him into the pigpen would rise and go to his Father. He was there, watching and waiting. He was there all the time--going away and then coming home.
Because of the coming of Jesus into this world and His going to the cross, I can be assured that my coming to Him in salvation will end in my going to heaven!
"Each step I take I know that He will guide me;
To higher ground He ever leads me on.
Until some day the last step will be taken.
Each step I take just leads me closer home."