Two Great Promises

Psalm 121.2-3

The third verse in Psalm 121 makes two promises that mean the world to me: “He will not let your foot slip—He who watches over you will not slumber.”

The first promise here is that God will not let my foot slip.

If you are anything like me, this promise may surprise you, for my experience is that I seem to fall often.  I am not as faithful and true to God as I wish to be.  I seem to slip and trip my way through my walk with God.

So what does it mean for God to promise that He will not let my foot slip?

I heard a story long that helps me to understand this promise: A young girl was walking in the woods with her grandfather.  As is normal with a young child, her focus was distracted by all the sights that surrounded her, so she didn’t watch carefully for the roots and rocks and ruts on the path.  Though she was holding her grandfather’s hand, every time she hit one of those roots or rocks or ruts, she would stumble, and her grip on her grandfather’s hand would slip, and she would fall to the ground, scraping her knees.  The grandfather paused, knelt down to look her in the eye, and said to her, “Let’s switch things around.  Rather than you holding onto my hand, let me hold onto your hand.  For every time you stumble, your grip on my hand slips, and you fall to the ground.  But if I hold onto your hand, I will catch you and keep you from falling, for my grip is stronger than yours.”

It is true that I slip and I trip my way through my walk with God, but His grip is stronger than mine.  Every time I slip, He catches me.  I am learning to put greater confidence in His grip on me than in my grip on Him.

The second promise here is that God who watches over me will not slumber.

I love Eugene Peterson’s comments on this promise in his book, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: “The only serious mistake we can make when illness comes, when anxiety threatens, when conflict disturbs our relationships with others is to conclude that God has gotten bored in looking after us and has shifted His attention to a more exciting Christian, or that God has become disgusted with our meandering obedience and decided to let us fend for ourselves for awhile, or that God has gotten  too busy fulfilling prophecy in the Middle East to take time now to sort out the complicated mess we have gotten ourselves into.  That is the only serious mistake we can make.  It is the mistake that Psalm 121 prevents: the mistake of supposing that God’s interest in us waxes and wanes in response to our spiritual temperature.” (p. 39)

God’s grip is better than mine, and He never falls asleep on the job or gets distracted from watching over us.  Those are two great promises to us!

 

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