Psalm 121 is categorized as one of the “Songs of Ascent” sung by pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem. The opening two verses form a poetic question and answer: “I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1–2). As the psalmist climbs upward through the hills on his approach toward Jerusalem, he affirms that the Lord who created the heavens and the earth is his sole source of help.
Jewish tradition claims that God’s people sang these pilgrim Songs of Ascent (Psalms 120—134) as they journeyed to the temple for one of the yearly worship festivals. Psalm 121 announces the worshiper’s confidence in God to watch over Israel and shelter His people from all harm. At the same time, this psalm is a general declaration of trust in God as the guardian and protector of life’s journey.
As the poet looks up to the mountains, it’s as if he sees Yahweh, God the Creator of heaven and earth, seated there on His heavenly throne. The Bible often refers to the heights of Jerusalem as the holy mountain where God dwells (Zechariah 8:3; Psalm 48:1–2; Isaiah 27:13). From this high place of God’s presence comes help from the Lord: “I call out to the LORD, and he answers me from his holy mountain” (Psalm 3:4; see also Psalm 20:2; 134:3). Likewise, from this sacred dwelling place of the Lord comes everlasting security: “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore” (Psalm 125:2).
Our help comes from the Lord through His vigilant, never wearying, sleepless protection: “He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalm 121:3–4). In every danger, whether from sunstroke in the heat of the day or exposure to the cold of night, “the LORD himself watches over you! The LORD stands beside you as your protective shade” (Psalm 121:5–6, NLT; see also Psalm 91:1 ). Whether we face threats to the body or soul, in every situation of life, “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble” (Psalm 46:1, NLT). Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, God has us covered.
The child of God can confidently say, “My help comes from the Lord,” because God keeps and protects His children at all times and in all dangers: “The LORD keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever” (Psalm 121:7–8, NLT).
The Bible is full of incredible promises of help from the Lord for those who hope and trust in Him: “You who fear him, trust in the LORD—he is their help and shield” (Psalm 115:11; see also Psalm 33:20). In Psalm 23, the Lord is our Shepherd, leading and guiding us through all of life’s hardships and joys. In the New Testament, believers in Jesus say, “My help comes from the Lord,” because Christ is their Good Shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep (John 10:11–15).
The Lord helps us in innumerable ways. He forgives our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9; Psalm 32:5). God gives us new life in Jesus Christ and sets us free from sin (Colossians 2:20—3:17; Romans 6:18). He grants us eternal life (1 John 2:25). The Lord is a faithful friend (John 15:13–14) who calms our fears, takes care of our needs, and supplies us with supernatural peace (2 Timothy 1:7; Philippians 4:6–7). He loves us perfectly and completely, and He never leaves us (1 John 4:18; Romans 8:31–38).
All believers of every generation can proclaim, “My help comes from the Lord!” No matter what trouble we face in this dark world, God is with us, shining His light into the darkness (John 1:4; 2 Corinthians 4:6) and providing everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). Whatever setbacks, hardships, or evil we encounter, our faithful God will transform these challenges to contribute toward our good (Romans 8:28). All of our days, He is our Helper and the God who sustains our lives (Psalm 54:4).