Daily Devotional – Preserved From Evil

7 The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.

8 The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore. Psalm 121:7-8

Psalm 121:7-8 (KJV and RVR 1960) 


This is another of those verses often taken greatly out of context. As I have an EARLY morning appointment, I will offer a few trusted commentaries today instead of my normal exposition. 

Suffice it to say that on the surface the phase above, taken on it own, seems to imply any true believer will be exempt from all evil befalling them. NOTHING could be further from the truth.


John Gill’s Exposition of the Whole Bible

Thee Lord shall preserve them from all evil,…. The Word of the Lord, as the Targum. Not from the evil of affliction, though from that as a penal evil; or as a real one, it being made to work for good: but from the evil of sin; not from the being or commission of it; but from its dominion and damning power, or from a final and total falling away by it: and from the evil of the world; not from tribulation in it, nor from the reproach or persecution of it; but from the wickedness and lusts that are in it, and from the wicked men of it, their power, rage, and fury: and from the evil one, Satan; not from his temptations, but from sinking under them, and perishing by them; see John 17:12;

he shall preserve thy soul: he preserves the bodies of his people, oftentimes from diseases and disasters, and from death, till the appointed time comes; and then he preserves their dust in the grave, and raises it up at the last day; but more especially their souls, the redemption and salvation of which he undertook, and has effected; and which are preserved by him safe to his coming, kingdom, and glory.


It is of importance to mark the reason why the prophet repeats so often what he had so briefly and in one word expressed with sufficient plainness. Such repetition seems at first sight superfluous; but when we consider how difficult it is to correct our distrust, it will be easily perceived that he does not improperly dwell upon the commendation of the divine providence. How few are to be found who yield to God the honour of being a “keeper,” in order to their being thence assured of their safety, and led to call upon him in the midst of their perils! On the contrary, even when we seem to have largely experienced what this protection of God implies, we yet instantly tremble at the noise of a leaf falling from a tree, as if God had quite forgotten us. Being then entangled in so many unholy misgivings, and so much inclined to distrust, we are taught from the passage that if a sentence couched in a few words does not suffice us, we should gather together whatever may be found throughout the whole Scriptures concerning the providence of God, until this doctrine – “That God always keeps watch for us” – is deeply rooted In our hearts; so that, depending upon his guardianship alone, we may bid adieu to all the vain confidences of the world. 


Verse 7. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil, or keep thee from all evil. It is a great pity that our admirable translation did not keep to the word keep all through the psalm, for all along it is one. God not only keeps his own in all evil times but from all evil influences and operations, yea, from evils themselves. This is a far reaching word of covering: it includes everything and excludes nothing: the wings of Jehovah amply guard Iris own from evils great and small, temporary and eternal. There is a most delightful double personality in tiffs verse: Jehovah keeps the believer, not by agents, but by himself; and the person protected is definitely pointed out by the word thee, — it is not our estate or name which is shielded, but the proper personal man. To make this even more intensely real and personal another sentence is added, “The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil:” he shall preserve thy soul, — or Jehovah will keep thy soul. Soul keeping is the soul of keeping. If the soul be kept all is kept. The preservation of the greater includes that of the less so far as it is essential to the main design: the kernel shall be preserved, and in order thereto the shell shall be preserved also. God is the sole keeper of the soul. Our soul is kept from the dominion of sin, the infection of error, the crush of despondency, the puffing up of pride; kept from the world, the flesh, and the devil; kept for holier and greater things; kept in the love of God; kept unto the eternal kingdom and glory. What can harm a soul that is kept of the Lord?

Verse 8. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore. When we go out in the morning to labour, and come home at eventide to rest, Jehovah shall keep us. When we go out in youth to begin life, and come in at the end to die, we shall experience the same keeping. Our exits and our entrances are under one protection. Three times have we the phrase, “Jehovah shall keep”, as if the sacred Trinity thus sealed the word to make it sure: ought not all our fears to be slain by such a threefold flight of arrows? What anxiety can survive this triple promise? This keeping is eternal; continuing from this time forth, even for evermore. The whole church is thus assured of everlasting security: the final perseverance of the saints is thus ensured, and the glorious immortality of believers is guaranteed. Under the aegis of such a promise we may go on pilgrimage without trembling, and venture into battle without dread. None are so safe as those whom God keeps; none so much in danger as the self secure. To goings out and comings in belong peculiar dangers since every change of position turns a fresh quarter to the foe, and it is for these weak points that an especial security is provided: Jehovah will keep the door when it opens and closes, and this he will perseveringly continue to do so long as there is left a single man that trusteth in him, as long as a danger survives, and, in fact, as long as time endures. Glory be unto the Keeper of Israel, who is endeared to us under that title, since our growing sense of weakness makes us feel more deeply than ever our need of being kept. Over the reader we would breathe a benediction, couched in the verse of Keble.

“God keep thee safe from harm and sin,
Thy Spirit keep; the Lord watch o’er
Thy going out, thy coming in,
From this time, evermore.”

Perseverance of the Saints


Perseverance of the Saints

Perseverance of the Saints


The following article is taken from the chapter on Perseverance in Jim
Scott Orrick’s upcoming book, Mere Calvinism. Used by permission.

The Danger of Doctrinal Reduction

The doctrine of perseverance is like a golden crown that adorns the glorious body of God’s sovereign grace. There are more than a few who would say that they believe only one of the Five Points of Calvinism, and the one they believe is this point, the perseverance or preservation of the saints. They want to hold to the crown while rejecting the body of sovereign grace that supports the crown. Such a position leaves the crown mysteriously floating in mid-air. I readily admit that these “one-point-Calvinists” have a substantial reason for holding so tenaciously to this one point: they see that it is taught in the Bible! They rightly take Jesus at His word when He says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one” (John 10:27–30). The “one-pointers” at least know the meaning of eternal.

There is, however, a dangerous tendency that is inherent in holding to the crown of perseverance while rejecting the other four points. That dangerous tendency is hinted at in the name the “one-pointers” often call this doctrine. Instead of referring to the doctrine as the Perseverance of the Saints, or the Eternal Security of the Believer, they call it, Once Saved Always Saved. Properly understood, there is nothing wrong with calling it that. It is catchy, memorable, and it is true. The real trouble is not what they call it, but the way they sometimes explain it. Regrettably, some of the one-pointers—not all, but some—who say that they believe in Once Saved Always Saved have woefully deficient ideas of what it means for a person to be saved. For them, a person may “get saved” when he or she merely repeats “The Sinner’s Prayer” (a prayer, by the way, that is not in the Bible). Or a person may “get saved” when he “walks down the aisle” (not in the Bible) or “asks Jesus into her heart” (also not in the Bible) or when she gets baptized. In brief, the person who “gets saved” has not necessarily repented. Perhaps the person has been told that all she need do is to admit that she is a sinner, but merely admitting one’s sin is not repentance.1 Repentance that leads to eternal life is a saving grace, and when a person repents, he has a true sense of his sin, and he has begun to see the mercy of God offered in Christ. He is grieved over sin, he hates sin, and he turns away from sin. At the same time, he turns to God fully intending to and trying to obey God.2 Repentance is much more than admitting that I am a sinner! A superficial understanding of repentance leads to a superficial understanding of salvation.

Similarly, many of those who hold to Once Saved Always Saved have a superficial understanding of saving faith. For them, faith in Jesus Christ may be no more than believing facts about Jesus, or believing that Jesus died for sinners, or even believing that “Jesus died for me.” Nowhere does the Bible say that if you just believe that Jesus died for your sins you will be saved. You must receive the Christ who died for sinners and rose again from the dead. The fact that our church rolls are sometimes swollen with the names of persons who give no evidence of spiritual life is a strong indication that we have often dealt with precious souls in a hurried, slipshod way. I am a Baptist, and we Baptists have historically stood for believer’s baptism, but based on the disparity between the large number of inactive members on our church rolls and the members who faithfully attend our worship services, the evidence is that we have settled for consenter’s baptism. We will baptize anyone who consents to it. Consent to be baptized is not saving faith.

What, then, is saving faith? Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace whereby we receive and rest upon him alone for salvation as he is offered to us in the gospel.3 We are saved when we receive Christ—a person—and we are not saved until we receive and rest upon Him alone for salvation…