Studies in Psalms – Psa 121:1-4 “Confident and Not Complacent” – Part 1

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Studies in Psalms – Psa 121:1-4 “Confident and Not Complacent” – Part 1

Psa 121:1   Song of degrees. I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. 
Psa 121:2  My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. 
Psa 121:3  He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. 
Psa 121:4  Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. 

This is another “Song of degreesH4609” which points us to Christ who is the One our Father directs to give the increase in our lives (1Co 3:6-7, Joh 3:30, Col 1:27-29, Mat 23:12, Joh 14:6-7, Eph 2:18).


Feminine of H4608; elevation, that is, the act (literally a journey to a higher place, figuratively a thought arising), or (concretely) the condition (literally a step or grade mark, figuratively a superiority of station); specifically a climactic progression (in certain Psalms): – things that come up, (high) degree, deal, go up, stair, step, story.


From H5927; an elevation, that is, (concretely) acclivity or platform; abstractly (the relation or state) a rise or (figuratively) priority: – ascent, before, chiefest, cliff, that goeth up, going up, hill, mounting up, stairs.

1Co 3:6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
1Co 3:7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

Joh 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.

Col 1:27  To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you [increase], the hope of glory: [glory-obedience]
Col 1:28  Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: (Jerm22:29)
Col 1:29  Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily. [saying exactly the same thing as Php 2:12-13 which has the added detailwork out your own salvation with fear and trembling”

Php 2:12  Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 
Php 2:13  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Mat 23:12  And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. [He must increase, but I must decrease]

Joh 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 
Joh 14:7  If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.

Eph 2:18  For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

This particular Psalm has a hope-filled message which confirms in old covenant language what Christ is doing today for His bride, the little flock or remnant (2Co 11:2, Luk 12:32, Rom 11:5) who have been set aside as a living sacrifice to “lift up [our] mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my [our] help“; a help that God continually gives (Heb 13:6 , Psa 54:4)  the few (Mat 22:14) who were categorized as “they that feared the LORD spake often one to another” (Mal 3:16-18, Php 2:12).

2Co 11:2  For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 

Luk 12:32  Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 

Rom 11:5  Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 

Heb 13:6  So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

Mal 3:16  Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: [Php 2:12-13] and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. 

In this study we will look at how the judgment upon the elect (1Pe 4:17) preserves God’s children, and how it is in God’s hands to reserve us unto that day of judgment which is a little and by little process (Deu 7:22) that unfolds in the lives of those who are going on to perfection in this age, as opposed to the majority of mankind who will be reserved for a latter judgment in the lake of fire (2Pe 2:4-9, 2Pe 3:7). 

If the Lord has determined to judge us in this age and make us ready so we can be among those who attain to the first resurrection, it will happen by our heeding the admonitions He gives us which tell us to not be complacent in this life (Php 3:14, Mat 20:23). If we are “accounted worthy” (Luk 20:34-35),  it will be because we have been blessed to examine ourselves throughout this life having been dragged to Christ through whom we are accepted and able to (Joh 6:44, Rom 2:4-6, Eph 1:6) give an accounting of our life today in Him (1Pe 4:17).

We can judge ourselves first (Eph 1:12) simply by virtue of the fact that “he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” – (2Co 13:5, 1Co 11:31, 1Co 9:24, 1Co 9:27, Rom 1:26-32, Php 1:6). Christ has to work everything within us, including the heeding of admonitions as well as giving an accounting, from a heart that has been softened (Isa 66:2) and does not therefore despise “the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance” (Rom 2:4). This contrast of those who heed and those who don’t is given to us in type and shadow in these verses of Peter (2Pe 2:4-9), and it drives home the point that God is the Sovereign cause behind all of the physical and spiritual creation (Eph 1:11, Rom 9:20-23).

2Pe 2:4  For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; 
2Pe 2:5  And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; 
2Pe 2:6  And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample ([self]?G5263 G5263) unto those that after should live ungodly;
2Pe 2:7  And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked [2Ti 2:16]:
2Pe 2:8  (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing [Mat 13:16-17], vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds) [Eze 9:4, 2Ti 2:19].

Mat 13:16  But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. 
Mat 13:17  For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. 

Eze 9:4  And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. 

2Ti 2:19  Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. 

Rom 9:20  Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? 
Rom 9:21  Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? 
Rom 9:22  What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 
Rom 9:23  And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, 

2Pe 2:9  The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: (The 9th verse describes the withholding that occurs in every life until the man of perdition is destroyed by the brightness of His coming 2Th 2:8-9)

2Pe 3:7  But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

Luk 20:34  And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: 
Luk 20:35  But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:[speaking of the 1st resurrection]

Rom 2:4  Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? 
Rom 2:5  But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; 
Rom 2:6  Who will render to every man according to his deeds: 

Heb 12:15  Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; 

Heb 3:8  Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 
Heb 3:9  When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. 
Heb 3:10  Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. 
Heb 3:11  So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) 
Heb 3:12  Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. 
Heb 3:13  But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 
Heb 3:14  For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; [Psa 107:2]

2Co 13:5  Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

1Co 11:31  For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.[In a latter great white throne judgment or lake of fire] 

1Co 9:24  Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. [how we run… 1Jn4:17, Heb 4:16] 

1Co 9:27  But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

As mentioned before, there is a process or “Song of degrees” God’s elect are coming to know as the Lord matures us and teaches us how to bring our bodies “into subjection” to Christ in each other, and convicts us that it is on the backs of others’ unbelief that we are being saved, as we see Him make His strength perfect through the weak of the world, the unnatural branch that is blessed to be first to be grafted into the body of Christ or brought “into subjection” and called His bride who has made herself ready (Rom 11:15-23, Rev 19:7).

Rom 11:15  For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? 
Rom 11:16  For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. 
Rom 11:17  And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; 
Rom 11:18  Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. 

Among God’s elect is where we are by the grace and faith of God who causes the blindness of the world through Satan (2Co 4:4) and opens our eyes through Christ the root or vine through whom we do all things and are supported. Boasting against the branches would not be supporting Christ’s purpose or bearing the root, neither would it be acknowledging His sovereignty that supports all things or through whom all things consist “but the root thee” (Php 2:13, Rom 3:27, Joh 15:5, Col 1:17).

Rom 11:19  Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. 
Rom 11:20  Well; because of unbelief they were broken off (CAUSED 2Co_4:4), and thou standest by faith (CAUSED Rom 3:27). Be not highminded, but fear: 
Rom 11:21  For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. 
Rom 11:22  Behold therefore the goodness (CAUSED Rom_3:27) and severity (CAUSED 2Co 4:4) of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness (Rom 2:4): otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

God’s goodness is demonstrated when He judges us and leads us to repentance. No discipline seems pleasant when you’re going through it (Heb 12:11). However an attitude of not despising the “riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering;” is required of God’s elect who are no longer “not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance”. 

Hebrews 12:9-10 is a witness to this verse (Rom 2:4), that God’s correction is for the benefit of His children who are being received and prepared to be in the first resurrection, and it reads, “Shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?” To think any other way is to let the beast on the throne take our crown because of a spirit of despising what a loving Father is doing for our good (Rev 3:11-13). God is able to keep us, is the hope filled message we are learning and if he grants others the faith who have been hardened to these truths, He can also “graff them in again”.

Rev 3:11  Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. 
Rev 3:12  Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. 
Rev 3:13  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. (1Jn_4:6)

Rom 11:23  And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.

These next series of verses will help us understand how God’s elect can be “confident and not complacent” as the Lord matures us little and by little through a lifetime of much tribulation (Act 14:22) and suffering so we can learn obedience and be kept humble regardless of how much abundant revelation is given to us, which will be required if we are to be used in the capacity of being kings and priests in His service (2Co 12:7-9, 2Pe 3:18, Eph 1:17-18, Rev 1:6, Rev 19:7, Php 1:6).

2Co 12:7  And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 
2Co 12:8  For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 
2Co 12:9  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 

2Pe 3:18  But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. 

Eph 1:17  That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 
Eph 1:18  The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, [opened heavens]

Rev 1:6  And hath made[G5656] [Tense-Aorist] us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Rev 19:7  Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made [Tense-Aorist]  herself ready. [G5656]
Rev 19:8  And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 

Php 1:6  being confident of this very thing, that he which began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ: 

Our heavens are going to be opened (Rev 4:1 Rev 19:11), and Christ is going to keep us humble in the process so we can receive the kingdom the only way in which anyone of us will ever be able to receive it, as teachable children (Mat 18:3). The manchild becomes the mature son by remaining obedient and being humbled throughout this life of much tribulation (Act 14:22) so that we can be received as sons and daughters (Heb 12:6). Sometimes that tribulation or temptation can be very intense, but God knows how to deliver us through it all (Heb 2:18, 2Co 1:3-5, 1Co 10:13, 1Pe 4:19).

Act 14:22  confirming the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God.

Heb 2:18  For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

2Co 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; 
2Co 1:4  who comforteth us in all our affliction, that we may be able to comfort them that are in any affliction, through the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. 
2Co 1:5  For as the sufferings of Christ abound unto us, even so our comfort also aboundeth through Christ. 

1Co 10:13  There hath no temptation taken you but such as man can bear: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it. 

1Pe 4:19  Wherefore let them also that suffer according to the will of God commit their souls in well–doing unto a faithful Creator. 

A wife knows what her husband’s plans are, and he shares them with her, and it is for that reason we have this verse (Joh 15:15) along with this parable (Gal 4:1-7) because we do differ from a servant if we are the wife of Christ or friend of Christ because all things that He has heard of our Father “I have made known unto you”.  The appointed time for God’s elect is today, the day of the Lord where we  are blessed to be matured first for the world’s sake. This maturing is being accomplished “through Christ”, and He is the one who can give us the ability and strength and wisdom to go beyond the “the principles of the doctrine of Christ” described in Hebrews 6:1-3, and “this will we do, if God permit”. To leave those principles is to no longer be “a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ” (Gal 4:7).

Joh 15:15  Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. 
Joh 15:16  Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

Gal 4:1  Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; 
Gal 4:2  But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. 
Gal 4:3  Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: 
Gal 4:4  But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 
Gal 4:5  To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
Gal 4:6  And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 
Gal 4:7  Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. 

Heb 6:1  Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 
Heb 6:2  Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 
Heb 6:3  And this will we do, if God permit. 

Jas 4:15  For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. 
Jas 4:16  But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil [Rom 11:17-18].
Jas 4:17  Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. 

With all these affirming verses in mind let’s “lift up mine [our] eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my [our] help” remembering that God has called us to say with confidence that He is our helper (Heb 13:6), and to know nothing can separate us from His love (Rom 8:39). The redeemed of the Lord can always be rejoicing in our spirits (Php 4:4) knowing that because we “suffer according to the will of God” we can therefore “commit the keeping of their [our] souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator” (1Pe 4:19). With the exceeding great and precious promises (2Pe 1:4) God has given us, and to which His spirit bears witness within us as His children (Rom 8:16), we can declare that we are being redeemed and saved in this age as we continue to be ‘confident and not complacent‘ at the same time, just as Christ was (1Jn 4:17).

Psa 121:1   Song of degrees. I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. 
Psa 121:2  My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.

The joy that has been set before us (Heb 12:2) is also the joy that we are experiencing in earnest today (Eph 1:14) via God’s holy spirit as our hope of glory within (Col 1:27). We are looking to the joy set before us and understand that joy through the spirit God has given us which bears witness that we are His children (Rom 8:16). This lively hope to which God has called us is within us, and we are helpers of each other’s joy as we “lift up mine [our] eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my [our] help” (1Pe 1:3, 2Co 1:24).

The measure of faith with which we operate, typified by the “Song of degrees“, is important to consider as we learn to be content whether we have a little or a lot, remembering “the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made”. God has made us have continual need in the flesh as a constant reminder that we have continual need of each other as the many members that make up the body of Christ (Rom 1:20, 1Ti 6:6, Php 4:12, Eph 4:13). What God is doing within the body of Christ today is considered an “effectual working in the measure of every part, [that] maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (Eph 4:16), and the faith is the means to the end that is needed and works in conjunction with the love of God which is being shed abroad in our hearts as the one body of Christ (Rom 5:5, 1Co 13:2, Mat 7:22, Joh 13:35).

When we read in the old covenant “My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth” our thoughts turn to how God is making the new heavens and the new earth within us (Rev 21:1-3), and this is being accomplished through the body of Christ, through the church (Eph 3:10, 1Co 10:21, 1Jn 4:6), through all the many members that make up the one body (1Co 12:23). We are friends and disciples indeed who are enduring together, and labouring and eating at this same altar together (Heb 13:10)!

Rev 21:1  And I saw [a wife sees Mat_13:16 , Joh_15:15] a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 
Rev 21:2  And I John saw [a wife sees Mat 13:16, Joh 15:15] the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 
Rev 21:3  And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 

Psa 121:3  He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. 
Psa 121:4  Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

Because Christ never slumbers or sleeps it cannot be said of Him that He has such a spirit as the one described in Romans 11:8 which describes the condition of those who are not called in this age. It is God who has created those conditions of slumbering and sleeping that represent spiritual blindness for the reason mentioned in Romans 11:11-12.

Rom 11:8  (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.
Rom 11:11  I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. 
Rom 11:12  Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?

Our foot used “to be moved” but God has mercifully reminded us as His children that He does not change and therefore we are not destroyed (Mal 3:6). The not changing mentioned in Malachi so that we are not destroyed, is the same as saying “Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep“.

Mal 3:6  For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

Next week, Lord willing, we will look at the last four verses of our study that reveal how God will protect and preserve the bride of Christ “from this time forth, and even for evermore” as He blesses us to be “Confident and Not Complacent” a process described so wonderfully with these inspired words of Paul, “moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord”  (Rom 5:20-21).

Psa 121:5  The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
Psa 121:6  The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
Psa 121:7  The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
Psa 121:8  The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

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