Chaplains Corner

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.

The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time on and for evermore.

What are things you keep? If you had to leave where you live, what would you take with you? What would you leave behind?

How would you keep the items? And where would you keep them and why would you keep them?

In these two verses from our school psalm, Psalm 121, the word ‘keep’ appears 3 times.

In what sense is it used? In the Hebrew it means to guard, observe, to have charge of, to watch and ward, protect, save life, to wait for, to retain, treasure up, to preserve and protect.

It speaks of a relationship between the keeper and the kept.

In this case of this Psalm we are kept, by no less that the Lord, the keeper of the universe.

And the promise is that it is our life that is kept. Our going out and our coming in.

Going out and coming in, often when this Psalm is put to music these words get reversed, to our coming in and going out.

However, the word order here is essential to the sense of the Psalm and the circular notion we find in Hebrew Scriptures, that yes we are to go out but then we are to return, we are always essentially on our way home, home to God.

When our children leave our home, we want them to return, just like QANTAS recognises that there is no feeling quite like coming home.

So what is that coming home? Is it resting in God? Is it coming home at the end of a long journey?

This psalm concludes, with a return home and a promise of being kept in God forevermore.

by Alison Andrew, Chaplain

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