These daily online studies are adapted from our Quiet Time Bible Guide. The studies go through the Old and New Testaments in just over two years. The approach taken by our quiet time Bible studies does not include answers. The goal of the study is to help you dig into Scripture for yourself. You can go deeper using a commentary, Bible background guide or Bible handbook.

Psalm 121: A Prayer of Assurance

For more context before you begin studying, read this introduction to the book of Psalms.

The Jews were on an uphill journey to Jerusalem and the temple at Mount Zion. This psalm is among the many "songs of ascent" sung (or inwardly affirmed) by individuals in the caravan along the way. Any pilgrim facing an uphill climb of faith, and all of us on life's pilgrimage from this earthly existence to the heavenly glory, will find assurance in repeating the confession of this psalm.

Warming Up to God

Imagine a battle of faith that you may be facing. Think of all helpful resources you may have turned to, or could be turning to, for help. Then face the Lord who watched you go to and fro. How do you imagine God making a difference in that situation?

Read Psalm 121

Discovering the Word

  • Judging from the words and phrases most often repeated in this psalm, what is its major theme?
  • How does the second verse in each of the four verse pairs (vv. 2, 4, 6, 8) expand on the minitheme of the introductory line in each pair (vv. 1, 3, 5, 7)?
  • What kind of help does the Lord provide his people along the journey (in contrast to those idols who may slumber or slouch on the job)?
  • In light of the assurances offered in this psalm, how do you account for the fact that some people do slip and fall into harm's way?

Applying the Word

  • Imagine you are an Israelite making this pilgrimage to Mount Zion and dialoging your way through this psalm of confession and assurance. What parts do you find most reassuring for yourself?
  • What parts do you find most reassuring for a fellow pilgrim whom you know is struggling along the way?
  • Consider one time, day or night, when you slipped badly and fell into harm's way. How was God watching over you in that situation?

Responding in Prayer

Consider using Psalm 121 as an appropriate prayer for all your comings and goings. Offer it at mealtimes, office breaks and bedtimes. Let it influence the prayers and counsel you offer family, friends and work associates, especially anyone facing an uphill battle.