The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. 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 forth and forevermore. Psalm 121:5-8
After Cain killed Abel, the Lord asked him, ‘Where is your brother?’ Cain responded with a question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The correct answer Cain’s question is, “Yes.” We are to keep, to protect, and to guard our brothers and sisters from all harm. We are to put their needs first. Yet we often fail to be our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper. Instead of protecting and guarding them, instead of putting their needs first, we put ourselves first. We put our needs before theirs.
Sometimes we go so far as to harm our brothers and sisters. We may not go so far as to murder them, but we find other ways to harm them. We may hurt their reputation by saying unkind things. We may think inappropriate, angry thoughts about them. We may find ways to insult and abuse them. We are not very good at being keepers for our brothers and sisters.
Thankfully, the Lord is your keeper. In this psalm, the author tells you that the Lord is your keeper, and He will protect you. The Lord is a much better keeper than anyone else. The Lord keeps you even from the rays of the sun. You will not even have to worry about the slightest sunburn, with the Lord as your keeper.
This will all come to fulfillment in heaven. When St. John sees his vision of heaven in Revelation 7:16-17 he writes: ‘They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’ In heaven, God will take care of all our needs, and protect us from all things that could harm us.
Why would do such a thing? From where does this love come? The verses of Psalm 121 are prayed at almost every baptism. In your baptism, you put on Jesus. You are clothed with Him. Jesus trades places with you. You become the perfect, holy child of God, and He becomes the condemned sinner. God now sees you as His perfect, holy child. He loves you with the same love that He has for His own Son, and He punishes Jesus with the punishment that you deserve.
In this life your keepers will fail. The people who are supposed to love and care for you will fall short. They may not protect you as they should. But you have a Keeper, a heavenly Father, who promises to take you to a place where you are kept perfectly safe, guarded and protected from all harm, even heaven itself.
O Lord, support us all the day long of this troubled life, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes and the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then, Lord, in your mercy grant us a safe lodging and a holy rest and peace at the last, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.