Posted February 10, 2015
I lift up my eyes to the hills.From where does my help come?My help comes from the LORD,who made heaven and earth.
So we begin our four week journey memorizing all of Psalm 121! This psalm is the second song in a collection of psalms known as the “Psalms of Ascent” (Psalms 120-134). These were the songs sung by Israelites as they “ascended” to Jerusalem three times a year for the different festivals. These diverse songs were intended to be companions on their pilgrimage, leading the people of God from the difficulties of life to the worship of God as the source of life and hope.
The Psalms of Ascent start with a lament in Psalm 120 as the psalmist’s eyes look around in anguish; he is surrounded by those making war against him and seeking his destruction. Psalm 121 picks up right where that song left off. When difficulty comes in life, you will turn your eyes somewhere; your eyes will look to something or Someone. Where will you look for ultimate help and salvation? Will you look to yourself? To a friend or relationship? Our self-help culture says to look within for strength; it tells us that money can provide ultimate security and power allows us to control our own destiny. This psalmist knows that there is only one place he can look to for true help, and that’s not within but rather outside of himself. His help is found in God alone.
If we’re turning our eyes somewhere for help, it leads us to the question: can what I’m running to truly help me? Does the object or person in view bear the power to assist me in my need? The psalmist was turning to God for help, and what sort of credentials does God have? The psalmist reminds himself and us of two reasons why God is the only trustworthy one to turn to: First, He is the LORD. When you see the word Lord in all caps, it tells us that this was the Hebrew word for YHWH, or Yahweh. He is the God who, unlike us, has never known a beginning, but simply has been for all eternity. He is not a vague ambiguous god, but rather the personal God who revealed graciously revealed Himself to us! Second, not only has He always existed, but He is all powerful; He made heaven and earth. When the psalmist looks around for help, he doesn’t stop at the hills, but rather looks to the One who formed the hills simply by speaking a word! This mighty One is the ultimate source of our help and the One whom can actually back His words and come to our rescue.
In this psalm’s usage of God’s name LORD, may we hear echoes of Jesus’ voice, who said, “Before Abraham was, I AM (John 8:58).” John Piper commented that in using this name for Himself, Jesus “took up all the majestic truth of the name of God, wrapped it in the humility of servanthood, offered himself to atone for all our rebellion, and made a way for us to see the glory of God without fear. In Jesus Christ we who are born of God have the unspeakable privilege of knowing Yahweh as our Father—I AM WHO I AM—the God who exists, whose personality and power is owing solely to himself, who never changes, from whom all power and energy in the universe flows, and to whom all creation should conform its life.”
Lift up your eyes to hill of Calvary, and see on it the only hope for frail humanity: Jesus Christ crucified for our sins. He is our truest and surest help!
Song by Aaron Strumpel. He just released a new album called “Bright Star” last week that you need to check out on iTunes! Also, watch his video here: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/rtv/music-videos/coming-after-you
Artwork by Emily Carlton.