Golf and Missions in Psalm 121
In order to play a hole of golf, the athlete must remember three things, tee up the ball well, align your body position, and swing from the top. There is no reason to swing your club if there is no ball on the tee, no fairway, and no hole on the green. Teeing up the ball well is all about knowing your purpose and mission. Alignment is all about keeping your body in sync as you swing, turn, and follow through. Alignment keeps all the parts of your body working together to accomplish your goal of hitting the ball down the fairway. Lastly, the swing starts long before the club hits the ball. The weight of the club at the top of the swing is brought down through the swing to launch the ball down the fairway.
In Psalm 121, the psalmist raises the club in verses 1 and 2. The top of the swing in worship: the joyful knowledge that our God created the heavens and the earth. Psalm 121 is a song of ascent sung by the Israelites as their made their way up the mountain to worship at the Temple in Jerusalem. Worship is where life and missions begin. If God is small, then the purpose of your life will be limited. If God is large, then the purpose of your life will be expanded. If God created the heavens and the earth, then the purpose of your life will embrace the purposes of God for the same heavens and earth! How big is your God?
In verses 3 through 7, the psalmist declares that this God watches over the nation of Israel and over the individual worshipper, day and night, over all of life. This is an expression of the life of faith. Worship nurtures faith, worship infuses life with faith. No matter what the world looks like in general, or what my life looks like in particular, God is still the Creator of everything, the Maker of heaven and earth. Even more so, Jesus has gone to the grave and back in order to bring life to this world. There is nothing that I personally can do, or that this world can do, to change the resurrection of Jesus. He has won the victory. Remembering his victory in worship inspires my life of faith, wherever I might go at any time of the day or night. This life of faith is living in sync with God, aligning all that we do with the joyful knowledge that he is the Creator of everything.
In verse 8, life of faith inspired by worship meets the “ball on the tee”. The expression, “The Lord will watch over your coming and going, both now and forevermore,” sounds generic. It is not. The same expression is used by Moses in commissioning Joshua to lead the Israelites as they prepare to cross the Jordan River into the promised land (Deuteronomy 31:2; Numbers 27:17). Likewise, the same expression, “to go out and to come in”, is used to describe King David’s leadership in Israel (1 Samuel 29:6, 1 Kings 3:7). Furthermore, the same expression is used to describe Jesus’ own life and ministry in Acts 1:21. In short, to live a life going out and coming in, is to live a life on purpose or with a mission.
Worship celebrates the God who created the whole world. Worship fuels the life of faith day by day. Worship launches that life of faith out into the world to be lived on purpose and with a mission!
The weight of the club lifted above the golfer’s head, like worship, flows through the body of the golfer properly aligned (like a disciple’s life aligned with God), and sends the ball down the fairway with a purpose, a vision, a mission. How is God’s purpose directing your life today? Where is God calling you to go in this world that he has created, and further, has redeemed in Christ Jesus?