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Psalms 116, 121: God preserves those in need?

How does God care for us even in times of severe trouble in our lives?

Thank you for your question.

The Hebrew word for Preserve 08104 rmv shamar occurs some 468 times in the Old Testament. It is translated in the AV as follows -keep 283 times, observe 46 times, heed 35 times, keeper 28 times, preserve 21 times, beware 9 times, mark 8 times, watchman 8 times, wait 7 times, watch 7 times, regard 5 times, save 2 times, misc 9 times;

Psalm 116:1 I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications.

2 Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.

3 The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.

4 Then called I upon the name of the LORD; O LORD, I beseech thee, deliver my soul.

5 Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.

6 The LORD preserveth <shamar> the simple (naive): I was brought low, and he helped me.

7 Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee.

8 For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.

9 I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living.

10 I believed, therefore have I spoken: I was greatly afflicted:

11 I said in my haste, All men are liars.

12 What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?

13 I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.

14 I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people.

15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.

16 O LORD, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds.

17 I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.

18 I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people,

19 In the courts of the LORD’S house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem. Praise ye the LORD.

Psa 121:1 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 <shamar> thee will not slumber.

4 Behold, he that keepeth <shamar> Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The LORD is thy keeper <shamar>: 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 <shamar> thee from all evil: he shall preserve <shamar> thy soul.

8 The LORD shall preserve <shamar> thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

Both psalms are to do with comfort. The teaching is that God watches over those who believe and put their trust in him. That no matter what they suffer in this life God will ensure that it works to bring about their eternal salvation.

It is not to be understood to mean that we will not experience suffering in this life or that God’s favour or displeasure can be seen in the prosperity or adversity we have to endure. To demonstrate the truth of this God has caused to be written the experiences of men like Job, Jacob, Joseph, David, prophets and Apostles.

More especially we see what Christ had to endure in this life followed by an agonising death. After he had suffered in this life God raised him from the dead to eternal life. If Christ suffered such things can we expect to avoid suffering? If we put on Christ we will have similar experiences to men of God throughout the ages.

God will try our faith.

Hebrews 11:36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:

37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;

38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:

40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.

5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:

6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?

10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.

11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
James says
James 5:11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

Jesus assures us of God’s care for us

Matthew 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.

30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

Many Psalms are written so that when we have troubles in this life even when we are approaching death we can still trust in God to bring us through all our troubles and out of the grave to eternal life.

Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Paul speaks of God being the God of all comfort.

2Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;

4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.

7 And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.

This life is a vain shadow that soon passes away.The life which is of value is eternal life which God offers through His son.

Paul was a chosen vessel of God and he suffered more than we ever shall.

2 Corinthians 11:24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.

25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;

26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;

27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.

29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?

30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.

And yet he says

Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Paul says of Christ.

Hebrews 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;

8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

Christ’s supplication to be saved from death was not to be saved from dying in this life, but that he might be raised from the dead to life eternal.

In conclusion God’s preservation of those in need is not referring to their preservation in this life but their preservation to eternal life by resurrection from the dead.

The above is not meant to deny that God can preserve us through difficulties in this life where He sees fit, (He will not test us above that we are able to bear) but rather to show that preservation in this life can only be temporary and the preservation that we need is that which is eternal.

I hope you have found this helpful.

God bless!
Glenn Smith
thisisyourbible.com
 
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