PRESERVED

4-9-17
Psalms 121:1-8 [[ A Song of degrees.]] I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. (2) My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. (3) He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. (4) Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. (5) The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. (6) The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. (7) The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. (8) The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even forever more.
Preserve————(1) to keep alive or in existence; make lasting (2) to keep safe from harm or injury; protect or spare (3) to keep up; maintain (4) to keep possession of; retain (5) To prepare (food or any perishable substance) so as to resist decomposition or fermentation (6) to prepare (fruit, vegetables, etc…) by cooking with sugar, pickling, canning, or the like. (7) to maintain and reserve (fish, game, etc…) for continued survival or for private use as in hunting or fishing.
The phrase “unto the hills” is used only once in this exact form in scripture. Before I get too far along I want to point out a few things in this chapter that I noticed and then we will look at some biblical examples. If the things we are going to look at don’t encourage you in the Lord, I don’t know if I can help you at all. First, we will look at the obvious. The psalmist had no question as to who his help was or where it came from. He was also sure that he was constantly aware of his condition and was keeping him. He also said that we were preserved from three things; all evil, our soul is preserved, and our going and coming. Not just for a little while but forevermore. If you look back up at the definitions of preserve, if you look with a spiritual eye, that is enough to bring you joy unspeakable. God keeps us alive and makes us last by giving us eternal life. He keeps us safe from harm and protects us and keeps us up by supplying all our needs accordiing to his riches in glory. He keeps possession of us. In John 17 Jesus said he had not lost one that God had given him except Judas who was a devil from the beginning. He retains us until the day he comes after us. He keeps us from withering away in decomposition or rotting in fermentation. He keeps us sweet by preparing us with the sweetness of his mercy and preserves us with the sealing of the Holy Ghost. He maintains us for continued survival for his own private use as hunters of lost souls and fishers of men. That kind of says it all doesn’t it?
Now for just a few bible examples. One such story is the story of Abraham taking Issac upon the mountain to pray and offer sacrifice. The preservation came in Genesis 22:11 when the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham and stopped him from slaying Isaac. Not only that, but he also caught a ram by the horns to be the sacrifice in the stead of Isaac.
One of my favorites is the story of Joseph being sold into slavery in Egypt. He summed it up to his brothers when he revealed himself in Genesis 45:5 when he said to them “Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. In Genesis 50:20, he said to them “ye thought it for evil against me; but God meant it unto good.”
Another good one is found in Daniel chapter 3 when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace. Have you ever noticed that there is no record of when Jesus went into the furnace and did you notice that he never came out? That means he was in the fire before they got there and he stayed in it because he knew one day we would have to go through the fire. I have always liked the way they answered the king in verse 16. They said “we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.” They didn’t have to even think about it. They went on in the next two verses to tell him that whether God delivered them out of the fire or not, they still wouldn’t worship his false god. When you are staring death in the face and talking face to face with the one person that can spare your life; to have the kind of boldness to make that statement the way they did definitely takes a touch of God. Their boldness paid off in the fact that upon seeing the fourth man in the fire, the king said he looked like the Son of God. Jesus hadn’t even been born into the world yet so how could he have possibly known who he was? After he got the three out of the fire, he made a new decree that there was no God like their God and that anybody that spoke against their God would be literally wiped out.
On over in Daniel chapter 6 is another well known example. When Daniel was thrown into the den of lions for praying to his God just as he always had, the king tried legally to spare him. After a sleepless night of fasting, he came to check on Daniel and Daniel told him that the angel of the Lord had came and shut the lion’s mouths and they had done him no harm. The funny thing in this story is that according to verse 16, it appears that Darius believed in Daniel’s God. He told him that his God would deliver him. In verse 19 he came in haste very early in the morning to check on Daniel and cried out lamenting and asked Daniel if his God had been able to deliver him. I have always liked Daniel’s answer; “O king, live forever.” It doesn’t sound like he had any animosity toward the king. To make a long story short, after Daniel had been retrieved out of the den of lions, the king had his accusers and their entire families put in and they were destroyed before they ever hit the bottom of the pit. He also made a decree commanding worship of Daniel’s God throughout all his kingdom.
Time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Elijah, Elisha, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hezekiah, the widow of Zarepath, Peter in prison, or Paul being shipwrecked and then snakebit. There are countless stories in scripture of how God preserved those that trusted in him and also many cases where he preserved others because they believed someone that believed in him. There are also a lot of similar stories not in scripture but are still just as much the gospel truth. Those stories are in my life and your life and in the lives of people we all know. Stories maybe not written anywhere else except on the tables of our hearts. Etched in memories of stone in our minds. Things we personally know to be true. Instances where we looked unto the hills from whence our help came. Preserved and sealed for the master’s private use. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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