I often read psalm 121 at funerals. The psalm calls us to lift our eyes up from the casket in front of us because the Lord is ever alert. “The Lord is your keeper.” He will “keep your going out and coming in from this time and forevermore.”
However, one phrase would give me moment of pause. “He will not let your foot stumble.” I am tempted to say, “Look, the Lord has allowed this person to stumble so badly that he is unable to get up. What do we say about the promised help from the Lord? The Lord made heaven and earth, but He can’t keep your loved one from stumbling into death?”
Psalm 66:1-12 was assigned for last Sunday. The psalmist calls on “all the earth…shout for joy to God.” In the Exodus God, “turned the sea into dry land.” At the Jordan river, “They passed through the river on foot.” The psalmist acknowledges, “He preserves us in life; he keeps our feet from stumbling.”
That doesn’t mean we won’t tested in our life. “You brought us into the net; You laid a crushing burden on our backs; you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water…yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.”
Psalm 66 is similar to Isaiah 43. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you…”
Whether we see the hindrances in life as engendered by God or as the result of living in this world, God is with us. Psalm 66 ends with, “Blessed is God who has not withdrawn from me his love and care.”
We turn to God in trust. The psalmist writes that even if he had cherished evil thoughts, God would not have listened to such foolishness. Instead, God listens to his plea for mercy.
What great blessing we have in Christ who gives us an abundance of life that in his return not even the coffin can hold us down.