Dr. Jim Mann
“I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1–2)
Life can be a bit scary, can’t it? Think about all the unknowns … about how many things are out of our control. Think of all the might happens (or as we say in Texas, might could happen).
This psalm is a song of ascent. Most of Israel is at sea level, but Jerusalem was in the mountains. When pilgrims traveled to Jerusalem for feasts and ceremonies, they would sing these traveling songs as they ascended to the Holy City.
You can almost hear them sing of the mountains as they approached them. Beautiful. Rugged. Dangerous. What might they encounter? Would they run into wild animals or bandits? They would certainly have to contend with dangerous paths.
The psalmist reminds us in these first two verses of Psalm 121 of two important facts. 1) There will come a time when we all need help. 2) God is big enough to help.
The hills and mountains of Israel were a favorite place for idol worshipers to serve their false gods. They would set up altars to Baal, Asherah poles, and idols in these hills (that’s why they are often called “high places” in the Old Testament). So, when trouble came in these idolaters’ lives, they literally looked to the hills for help.
Where do we look for help? The psalmist knows we don’t always turn to God first. Lots of times we’ll turn to other things and then, when they don’t work, we’ll turn to God as a last resort.
As you read the psalm, God is referred to by his proper name, Yahweh, three times. But six times he is called our protector—the one who guards us. But it isn’t an impersonal executive order issued from heaven—the psalmist describes God protecting us by traveling with us.
He doesn’t let our foot stumble because he is right there with us to catch us. That is encouraging to me today.
As I write this, we’re in coronavirus lockdown. I’m asking the same question as the psalmist. Where are we looking for help? To scientists? Doctors and nurses? The government? The President? We must continue to pray for these men and women, but we can’t put our hope in them. Our hope should be placed in the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
I hope, by the time you’re reading this, life is back to normal. But even if it isn’t, rest assured, “The LORD will protect you from all harm; he will protect your life. The LORD will protect your coming and going both now and forever.” (Psalm 121:7–8)
Jim Mann, Ph.D., pastors New Life Church at Robson Ranch. This interdenominational church meets at the Robson Clubhouse on Sunday mornings at 8:30 a.m. Visit www.newlifedenton.org for more information or www.drjimmann.com.