Trips provoke anxiety, not only because of the preparations that must be made, but also because of security. For the ancients, travel was much more risky. Robbery, for example, was common.
May he not allow your foot to slip!
May your protector not sleep!
Look! Israel’s protector
does not sleep or slumber!
Psalm 121.3-4 NET
When the people of Israel traveled to Jerusalem to celebrate their feasts in the temple, they sang about their awaited experience and about their God. The group of Psalms 120-134 is, apparently, a collection of such songs.
Some believe that Psalm 121 is a ritual of dismissal, a blessing given by the priests when the faithful began their return trip home. Others believe that it’s an internal conversation, an affirmation of the Jews of God’s care for them, to calm their anxieties.
Whether it be for coming or returning, the truth is clear in this psalm, by the repetition of the terms protect and protection.
The body of Christ has the same certainty of God’s care, when saints go out into the world to proclaim the Good News of salvation. Any anxiety is soon calmed because they know their God does not sleep and does not abandon his post.
If God cares for his people, he also cares for each individual which makes up a part of that people. So there is an emphasis also in the psalm on the person (your foot).
In the New Testament, the promise of Christ corresponds to this psalm: “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” Matthew 28.20.
Protect us in our comings and goings, Lord, because we are your people fulfilling your will.
Hold this thought: God does not sleep, he will protect, / No foot will slip of his elect.