Today, as many of you reading this know, was my last day (at least for a while) at Hope of Israel Congregation. After nearly 20 years with this small fellowship (called ‘Light of Israel’ way back when) which eventually grew into a congregation, I have had a mix of thoughts and emotions reflecting about how far we have come, and the many, many dear friends and family members I am leaving behind. I’ll explore this more in the coming days, but for now I want to share an encouraging word I believe the Lord brought to my attention this morning.
During my little devotion time today I read a familiar Psalm, 121, which reads:
A Song of Ascents.
1 I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not allow your foot to slip;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, He who keeps Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun will not smite you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will protect you from all evil;
He will keep your soul.
8 The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in
From this time forth and forever.
First off, Psalm 121 is called a Psalm of Ascents; that is, in ancient times this was one of a series of psalms (120-134) that sojourners would sing along their way as they went up to Jerusalem to worship. That is sort of what I am going to be doing—going ‘up to Jerusalem’ to live and serve the Lord there. So, that is kind of neat.
Yet in my reading, the work “keep” or “keeper” seemed to get my attention. The words “guard” and “protect” are from the same Hebrew root word, so “keep” in various ways is used six times in this Psalm, thus there is an emphasis on G-d’s protection and keeping power for His people Israel, and each of us.
What really got my attention later today was during our call to worship where as a congregation we read in unison:
“The Lord bless you and keep you” – Numbers 6:24
“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy” – Jude 24
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Messiah Yeshua (Christ Jesus)” Philippians 4:7
So, yes, I think there is a word of reassurance that God can and will KEEP us, as we go forward in life. And for me going to Israel , or Robert Goldschmidt, who is heading for Chicago then NYC, or you and your future, be assured that…
“The Lord will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul.
The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever. vv 7-8.
Shalom, and Shavuah tov…have a good week!
PS. I put this on my FB page, but just in case you missed that, the HOI worship, dance, and AV teams threw a little going away party Thursday evening after rehearsal; and Laurie Taylor made about the coolest cake I have ever eaten. Check this out! (Thanks David and Laurie!