Psalm 121 King James Version (KJV)

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.

He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.

Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.

The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.

The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.

The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

 

I had been thinking today about verse 8 of this Psalm when I saw a post by Ram Dass on Facebook which finished with a mantra that expresses the same sort of idea, I thought, so I decided I would post the whole Psalm.

Although I was thinking of verse 8, when I read the whole Psalm I felt I had to consider it in light of recent events especially, but many more before now, and decided that the key must be the last half of verse 7: ‘he shall preserve thy soul.’

have heard it said that when the Bible talks about the soul it means the whole person.  Unless the writer was indulging a flight of fancy I think it has to be assumed that in this case it is talking about the soul only, the Breath of God within the body (according to Genesis God breathed uniquely into man at creation and he thus became a living soul – Genesis 2:7, what I have been taught is the ‘fleshed out’ account and not a different story as some people assert.  I’m not sure where the story of Lilith comes from either, it isn’t in the Bible.).  God, Who Is Love, protects the soul that loves both Him and others and, as I assume must be part of that equation, is loved by others.  It certainly seems to be my experience that as long as I believe someone loves me I find refuge in that.  As my English lecturer, who was a Buddhist and also a psychotherapist, said to me once, ‘Love is your protection’.

There have never been any guarantees for the preservation of the body, and if anyone thinks there have, they must also think they have been broken, even within covenant communities to which they were given.  I can’t remember about the Old Testament, but the New Testament, especially in Thessalonians, talks about the resurrection of the body after death.  That is the only context I can think of for the word ‘soul’ in this Psalm meaning the whole person including the body.  I think that is the theological understanding, though I know people have many arguments and reservations outside of that.  My own sometimes, is ‘if God is love and perfection, where did even the possibility of evil in His creation come from?’.  I can find that question quite disabling in talking about God.  In Isaiah it says ‘I, the Lord, create both good and evil’.  Would any of the people who answer my posts anonymously through the media, Christian and secular, like to get into relativity with me?

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