I lift up my eyes…
Some years ago my husband Terry and I arrived in the little town of Jasper in the Canadian Rockies. As we walked around this picturesque little town we came upon a delightful church. As we drew closer, we noticed something special was written on the noticeboard. It was a psalm – Psalm 121 – a psalm that was an obvious choice for a church in this setting. The psalm that begins: “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains”. How this psalm must have resonated with these people that lived in the valley beneath mighty Mount Kerkeslin.
This is one of the Songs of Ascent that the Hebrew pilgrims would sing as they went to worship in Jerusalem. As they travelled, they would look to the distant mountains of Jerusalem, the city of their great God.
- The psalmist lifts his eyes up to the mountains. What question does he ask? (v 1)
- What is so significant about the answer that is given?
Who do you turn to when you need help? The psalmist knows it is God himself – not his creation – that provides help for God’s people. God created everything: everything in the heavens and everything on earth.
- What sort of help does God give his people? Why can he do this? (v 3 and 4)
- What images help us to see that the Lord is our keeper and protector? (v 5 and 6)
Our God is infinitely powerful. “He will not let your foot be moved.” He will keep us secure. Jesus tells us: no one can snatch us out of his hand (John 10:28). So we can go peacefully about our lives, and work for him, knowing that God is always watching over us. He is never off duty. He guides us and keeps us. He walks beside us, watches over us, and protects us both day and night. Praise him!
On the 20 November 1840, a Scottish family were saying goodbye to their precious son who was going on a long journey. It was to be a dangerous journey into unknown territory. But the young man knew he was doing what God wanted him to do. So to comfort his parents before he left that morning, he took down the family Bible and read Psalm 121 to them. I wonder how each of them felt as he came to these words: Psalm 121:7-8
7 The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.
8 The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.
And so with those words of promise ringing in his ears, David Livingstone headed off to Africa. God did not promise David Livingstone – or any believer – an easy life; but he did promise to be with us forevermore.
Something to think and pray about
Read 1 Kings 18:25-29. On Mt Carmel, Elijah mocked the prophets of Baal, whose god did not respond to them or bring down fire to light their altar. “Shout louder, maybe your god is sleeping.” Baal was not watching over his people. Baal was lifeless. He had no power to help.
Re-read Psalm 121:3-4. By contrast, our God who created everything cares for those who are his. He never slumbers, he never sleeps. Let us lift up our eyes to see our all-powerful God who helps all those who call to him.