Monday, May 25, 2009

Where does my help come from?

"I will lift up my eyes to the hills - from whence comes my help?"  Psalm 121:1 

This Psalm is noted to be "A song of ascents." These songs were sung by groups of pilgrims, as they came up (ascended the hills at Jerusalem from the surrounding lowlands) to observe the various annual feasts.

I will lift up my eyes - To lift the gaze from the ground to a higher plain. Have you ever climbed a mountain? As you start the climb, you look up at the mountain and think of the challenges you will face on the way up. You contemplate the view from the summit. There's something solid and timeless about a mountain - it beckons the climber to stand on the summit!

It seems fitting, then, as the pilgrim travelers would sing this psalm, that they would lift their eyes to the hills of Jerusalem, looking forward to reaching the top of the range, knowing that the blessing of God's presence awaited them at the feast to which they were journeying.

Psalm 123 gives further reference to the lifting up of the eyes: "Unto You I lift up my eyes, O You who dwell in the heavens. Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, until He has mercy on us." Ps 123:1 & 2.

to the hills - Does the writer look to the hills, themselves a symbol of strength and longevity, to see God in this way, symbolically? I believe he does. And yet, there is more to it - the hills were places of sacrifice to God, as we notice in the story of Abraham, who journeyed to Mount Moriah to sacrifice his son Isaac, in obedience to God's command; and the prophet Elijah on Mount Carmel.

From whence comes my help? - This is a question, rather than a statement that the writer looks to the hills from whence his help comes. The question is asked, and the answer is given in verse 2: "My help comes from the LORD". There is no other source of help.

Be certain, friend, your help comes God, from the One who made heaven and Earth. Today, as you realize your need, go to Him - there's where your help is found!

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