Why Determination Isn’t Enough

God’s Guidance Is Sure

Psalms 120–134 are called Songs of Ascent, which means they were likely sung as God’s people went up to Jerusalem to participate in sacred festivals and special times of worship. Psalm 121 was composed to encourage trust in the Lord.

The travelers need sleep, but God does not, and he will protect them during the dark nights.

The journey to Jerusalem could be long and frequently dangerous, and the psalmist, pondering the path ahead, recognizes his need for divine aid. Perhaps the hills he sees in the distance were those marking his destination, Jerusalem; or they might have been the hills on which people worshiped idols. In either case, he knows he cannot get where he is going under his own strength. The God who created the path must guard his people as they travel on it (vv. 1–2).

They are set on reaching the place of God’s special presence, and the psalmist is confident that they will get there because of God’s watchful care. The travelers need sleep, but God does not, and he will protect them during the dark nights (vv. 3–4). The heat of the desert day won’t harm them either, because God provides every necessity for completing the journey (vv. 5–6). God’s provision isn’t merely physical; he also guards them from every evil snare that could derail their course (v. 7). God is with them not only as they journey but also when they get there. His care is constant (v. 8).

Determined commitment propels our path, but reaching the destination is possible only because God gets us there. Left to ourselves, we would wander off course or be taken away. Determination simply isn’t enough; Christ is our surety, and in him we are secure till the end.

“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen” (Jude 24–25).


Consider how Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:14–21 enables you to apply Psalm 121 to your own life.

This article is adapted from Sing a New Song: A Woman's Guide to the Psalms by Lydia Brownback.

Related Articles

Related Resources

The Psalms
The Psalms, ESV
The Wisdom of God

Crossway is a not-for-profit Christian ministry that exists solely for the purpose of proclaiming the gospel through publishing gospel-centered, Bible-centered content. Learn more or donate today at crossway.org/about.