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The Lord is Your Keeper (Psalm 121:5)

The idea of a new blog came to me in January of 2021, as I was drawn to Psalm 121. Note how the calendar gives us “1” for the month of January and “21” for the new year to form “121!” Other pastors were talking about the importance of scriptures that included the numbers 20 and 21, as we turned to another year and prayed for the future of the USA.[1] There was one word in Psalm 121 that occurred six times (in the King James Version, KJV)[2] and it proved to be an important word in my life. I felt strongly that this word would be important to readers of this blog, especially at times that seem unsettled.

The Meaning of Keeper

The words, “keeper” or “keep” occur 350 times in the KJV. One prominent use of these words came from the story of Cain and Abel (Genesis 4) when Cain said, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Truly, we hope that there is a big brother or someone else that can intercede if we are harassed. For example, when I was young (and physically small), we played football with the neighborhood boys who were older and larger! Although it taught me to be strong when needed, it was good to have my older brother who helped me many times to keep from getting injured. He was being my “keeper” and I appreciated it. Perhaps you had a “keeper” when you were young?

Keep and Keeper come from the Hebrew word, “Samar” which has several meanings including to keep, guard (like being a guard for a city, a vineyard, tending cattle or sheep, watching over a house) or the concept of “preserve and protect.” Also, keepers were the watchmen on the walls of cities in early days of Israel. Watchmen had the job of looking for possible attacks of the enemy and setting off an alarm if there were any signs of trouble. Since we have “attacks from the enemy” from time to time, we are so glad that the Lord is our watchman (keeper)! Jesus talked about an enemy attack in His Parable of the Tares (Matthew 13:24-30). There was a man who seeded a wheat field, but an enemy came later and spread weeds (tares) that looked like wheat at first but were injurious later. The man had to have his workers (reapers) separate the tares from the wheat at the harvest, causing extra time and expense.  Jesus explained the parable to the disciples and said, “The enemy who sowed them (the tares) is the devil…and the reapers are angels!”

A Story of One Good Keeper

After reading the background of the word keeper, perhaps you have memories of someone who was your earthly keeper. Maybe there have been more than one keeper—which is my experience. One of my early ones was my Grandfather, who sometimes helped by taking me away from abusive fighting in my family (see one of my earlier Blogs, “Fathers Fight Feat” for details). But the one keeper that fits Psalm 121 best was the farmer/neighbor who taught me how to work. Although we lived in a subdivision, there was a large farm behind the houses across the street from our house. I wandered over there one day and realized that this was more than a grove of cherry trees. It was a fully operating farm. They had cherry trees, lots of chickens for egg production, and fields of green beans at a second location. So, when I was in high school, I got up the courage to ask if they had any summer jobs.  They did—at one dollar an hour—the going rate in the 1950’s!

The farmer, Bob, was a hard-working, no-nonsense guy who became a friend as time went on. I learned that I could survive the summer heat, rain while working, and hours of weeding and watering. One summer, another boy worked with me and Bob had us compete to see who could undo the most posts in a long row, pulling them out of the ground one by one and throwing them on a moving truck he drove slowly down the row.  This was WORK!

Bob also showed me that there was great satisfaction in working hard with your hands. And he showed me that, working together, a team of people can conquer the most challenging tasks. If I had experienced a bad day with my own father yelling at my mother, the next workday with Bob letting me drive the tractor and sharing lunch, I felt blessed from God.

Let’s bless and celebrate every good keeper in our lives and our history!  They are God’s angels sent to guard and protect us and to show us that life can be safe and good with the right people around us.

“I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God…God’s your guardian, right at your side to protect you—Shielding you from sunstroke, shielding you from moon stroke. God guards you from every evil, He guards your very life. He guards you when you leave and when you return. He guards you now, He guards you always!” (Psalm 121, The Message Bible).

Pastor G. Harold Roid

[1] Examples of the use of numbers in prophecy were in the blogs and prayers by Dutch Sheets (www.GiveHim15.com), the comments by Mario Murillo (www.mariomurillo.org), and YouTube videos of Pastors Hank Kunneman, Johnny Enlow, and Lance Wallnau. 

[2] The New King James Version (NKJV) uses the word “kept” in First Peter 1:5 but otherwise recognizes that the word “keeper” is rarely used in modern times. The Greek word used in 1 Peter is “phroureo” (froo-reh-oh) that is a military word for the duties of the sentry standing guard for protection.