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When You Need Hopeful Inspiration
For any day of the year!
How do I find the words to offer hopeful inspiration?
As I sit down to write words of encouragement, today, it seems more challenging than usual.
My goal is always to bring something of hopeful inspiration. The best way I know to accomplish this is to write from what God is teaching me.
So, in searching for words to convey what is in my heart, I do what I often do. I ask God to help me to share the words you need to hear.
Then, in my daily quiet time, I find myself in Psalm 121. Almost immediately, I recognized this holds the hopeful inspiration I long to share.
Of the psalms, Eugene Peterson said, “There is no literature in all the world that is more true to life and more honest than Psalms…”¹ Within its pages we find represented life’s disappointments, pain, struggle, and sin. We also discover in Psalms the joy and blessing of a life spent praising God in the middle of it all.
This psalm of ascent has been described as “The Traveler’s Psalm—one to read before setting out on a journey…[but] also suited for the journey of a lifetime!”² Friend, as we set out on the journey before us—whether a new year, new week, or one more new day— what better resource than the hopeful inspiration of ancient Scripture?
“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.” Psalm 121.1-2 (ESV)
This psalm is liturgy, with verses 1-2 spoken by one setting out on a journey. The remainder of the psalm is expressed by those who are remaining behind. It begins with the question, “From where does my help come?” This is a leading question, for the answer immediately follows: “My help comes from the Lord…”
As you begin the journey before you now, you may have questions. It is okay to ask questions, but I want to encourage you to preach the gospel to yourself, as well. Go to the Scriptures, and be reminded of God’s promises. Our help for every situation comes from the Lord.
In verses 3-8 of Psalm 121, there are two lessons of hopeful inspiration.
#1 – He is our Keeper—hopeful inspiration.
“3 …He who keeps you will not slumber. 4 Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The Lord is your keeper. 7 The Lord will keep you from all evil; He will keep your life. 8 The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in...” Psalm 121.3-8 (ESV)
Notice the words keep(s) or keeper appear six times in this psalm. For a passage with only eight verses, this is a lot of repetition. Another short passage of Scripture that emphasizes the keeping power of God is the book of Jude.
“To those who are the called, loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ. May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.” Jude 1-2 (HCSB)
See how this New Testament reference in Jude acknowledges the role of Jesus Christ, in whom believers are kept safe. Furthermore, because of God’s keeping power, we are the recipients of multiplied mercy, peace, and love.
Take heart, friend. You have a Keeper. He is the Lord of heaven and earth. His promises are for you. Take heart and be encouraged with hope. There is nothing to fear, for He is on your side and has promised to never leave you.
#2 – He is your Shelter—hopeful inspiration.
“The Lord protects you; the Lord is a shelter right by your side.” Psalm 121.5 (HCSB)
In my home state, we know what it means to seek shelter by taking cover from tornadoes and the potential devastation they can bring. They call them tornado shelters for a reason.
Over the past few years, many of us have felt the need to take shelter more than once. We will not soon forget the days of sheltering in due to a mysterious virus sweeping the world. Around the same time, we watched on our screens as protests and violence took place. We felt concerned for those being forced to take shelter for an entirely different reason.
“…He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” Psalm 91.4 (NLT)
In trying times, whether due to natural disasters, violent uprisings, a crumbling economy, or other abusive forces—you have a Shelter on whom you can call. His name is Jesus. “Yahweh himself will watch over you; he’s always at your side to shelter you...” (Psalm 121.5, TPT)
What if you had prayed Psalm 121 at the beginning of the hardest year of your life? The year of that cancer diagnosis. The season you buried a dear loved one. The year you thought you had lost it all and could not go on.
What if we pray it as we begin today?
How about we pray it now, declaring the hopeful inspiration of Psalm 121, as well as the wealth of promises found throughout Scripture?
¹Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. by Chad Brand and Eric Mitchell, editors © 2015 (link effective as of 12/31/2021)
²Psalms. by James Limburg © 2000 (link effective as of 1/5/2022)