Preserve My Soul

“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.”
–Psalm 121

In my previous post today, I started with this psalm and told my readers I had writer’s block. My writer’s block is over. For some reason, I was drawn to this psalm. Now, later in the day, as I was reading the news, I saw the devastation in Joplin, Missouri (click here to read story). If you are unaware, a tornado ripped through the heart of that town, and the death toll is 89 and counting. They had about 20 minutes warning before the storm destroyed their town.

So you may be asking, how does this Psalm have anything to do with that? I mean, it talks about God keeping you safe from harm? 89 people have died, so how does that match? Well, it’s interesting that the original version I posted was using the New International Version of the Bible. Later in the day I took a second look, and realized that the King James version has some significant differences. There is one word specifically that made all the difference in the world. In the International version, the line in question reads:

“The LORD will keep you from all harm: he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”

However, the King James Version uses the word soul instead of life. It is no small difference. Life, in the International version is therefore not referring to simply our earthly life, it is referring to eternal life. When the psalm talks about God preserving our soul, it supersedes our physical bodies, and our earthly life. The psalm is by no means trying to tell us that God will protect us from any casualties in our current life. God is trying to tell us that no matter what happens in this life, He will preserve, protect, and guard our very essence. The essence – our soul – is eternal. Through His grace, and by our faith, we will overcome this world, no matter what happens to us here.

Jesus of course told us the same thing.

“What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father Which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”
–Matthew 10:27-32

My thoughts and prayers go out to every one affected by this tornado. My hope for those that have passed is that they are sitting in heaven, watching over us, no longer in pain, freed from their earthly bodies, their souls forever preserved by our Savior Jesus Christ. My hope for those that were left behind, is that they use this event to draw closer to God, leaning on each other during this time of healing, and looking up to God for guidance. No one knows for sure why these disasters happen. We do know that whatever the reason, God has a plan for our lives, and will preserve our souls for all eternity. All He asks is that we surrender to His will, and we put our trust in Him.

“He shall preserve thy soul…”