FROM WHERE DOES MY HELP COME?
Psalm 121 today begins with a question – and sometimes this is not recognised. The Psalmist is lifting up his eyes to the hills and asking, “from where does my help come?” Does it come from the hills, the high places?
The pagan people around and all too often the Jewish people were attracted to do the same, they looked to high places where they felt they would be nearer where their God’s dwelt. When travelling in India one frequently sees hill tops crowned with Hindu temples.
The 2nd verse answers the question, stating, “My help comes from the LORD who made heaven and earth.” That is just as true today! But what sort of help can seekers expect? Well this Psalm is the second of 5 short Psalms to be read today which are called ‘A SONG OF ASCENTS’
Among the Jews these, and the ten Psalms which follow, are generally understood to be the songs that were sung as they went up to Jerusalem to worship in the Temple. In some cases they would be coming from distant lands – remember the man from Ethiopia that Philip was sent by the Spirit to meet? “he had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning” [Acts 8 v.27]. Recall Isaiah’s vision! “It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains … and many people shall come and say,let us go up to the mountain of the LORD” [Isaiah 2 v.2,3]
So what did the pilgrims going up to Jerusalem sing about? Do these Psalms foreshadow our going up to Jerusalem in the future? The first one (120) is, “In my distress I cried to the LORD and he answered me. Deliver me O LORD, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue” [v.1,2] This illustrates the kind of help that was sought – and given - to genuine worshippers of God like David. It also shows the frame of mind of those who do not know God that those going up to Jerusalem leave behind!
Psalm 121 ends, “The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and for evermore.” The Lord watches over all the ways in which we travel, if we firmly believe our help comes from the Lord. The verse will find its complete fulfilment when Jesus returns and the kingdom is established – and what a wonderful atmosphere then as we “go up to the mountain of the LORD.”.