Psalm 121 is a part of collection of fifteen psalms, known as the Song of Ascents or Songs of Steps. They are an album, a playlist of sorts for the children of Israel whom scholars think are on the road to Jerusalem and on their way to the pilgrim festivals (cf. Deuteronomy 16.16). Upbeat and cheerful, this psalm keeps their feet moving. For sure, it is about God’s faithfulness but it could also sound like a pep talk for God’s people.
If their feet were dragging before, the reader cannot tell. They are on their way up: “I lift up my eyes to the hills—from where will my help come. My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (verses 1-2, NRSV). The Israelites are talking back to their condition. They have not arrived but they are certainly on their way. And if they need help, they know where to look for it.
If they are feeling like they can’t take another step, this psalm will talk them out of it. Psalm 121 says that God has the believer covered and that God has the credentials because “who made heaven and earth?” There’s no topping that and no stopping the children of God. God does not sleep— not even with one eye open. No, God will keep a watchful eye to ensure their safe arrival.
God has taken everything into consideration: their weariness, the weather. Nothing will ruin their day or their night. God will ensure that the Israelites keep a cool head and that no evil rears its ugly head. One foot in front of the other and one day at a time, this psalm reminds believers to keep it moving because “the Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore” (121.8, NRSV).