ODJ: Pizza and God’s Presence

April 12, 2017 

READ: Psalm 121:1-8 

The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade (v.5).

Not placing an order at a pizzeria may have saved Kirk Alexander’s life. When Alexander, who’d been purchasing pizza almost daily since 2009, hadn’t placed an order in more than a week, the restaurant’s manager asked a delivery driver to go to the customer’s house and check on him. Sure enough, Alexander didn’t answer the door—even though his lights and TV were on. Thanks to the driver’s 911 call, Alexander—who required immediate medical attention—received treatment and survived.

Far more attentive than that pizzeria manager, the Psalmist wrote that the “Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade” (Psalm 121:5). As he looked to the hills of Jerusalem (v.1), the Psalmist noted where his security could be found. He affirmed that God, who has unbounded power, was Israel’s only true source of help (vv.1-2).

The God who redeemed Israel was the God who watched over, kept and sustained His people (v.3). Not only was He the source of their help, but He watched over His people at all times. The Psalmist said God watched over Israel (the corporate community, v.4), providing encouragement and refreshment (v.5). God’s protection moved with His people wherever they went (vv.7-8).

Did this mean that the people of Israel never experienced hardship and that we shouldn’t expect times of struggle? No. But the Psalmist accurately stated that God is there and aware of what’s happening in our lives. We can rest in His love and care for us, even when we go through dark valleys (23:4). And, when tough times come, we can look forward to being in His peaceful presence “forever” (121:8).

—Marvin Williams

365-day plan: 1 Kings 1:28-53

Read John 14:27 and consider how Jesus brings peace to us by His very presence. 
When do you feel most vulnerable? What will you do to affirm your faith in God’s power and protection over your life this week?