Lent 4 (2012)–Gaze Beyond the Hills

A song of ascents. I lift up my eyes to the hills– where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip– he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you– the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm– he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore (Psalm 121:1-8).

Have you ever felt worried that God had abandoned you?  Or felt vulnerable in your faith?  When you’ve experienced difficulties, has it seemed like God is far away?  Maybe the pilgrim’s journey has been a long uphill climb and you’re tired?

For the disciple experiencing fatigue, rejection, disappointment, or suffering, there is no greater source of encouragement than knowing that God is watching over you and goes with you.  He’s watching over your safety and providing for you.

The psalmist writes in this second Song of Ascents, “I lift my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from?”  The pilgrims on their journey might see the Judean hill country in the distance, know that Jerusalem is surrounded by hills, and remember that the end point of their journey—beyond mere hills– is the presence of God in His holy city.  Discipleship Lesson 2 might be Gaze Beyond the Hills.

“I lift my eyes to the hills”—what a beautiful picture of looking not only to the hills, but above and beyond them to the Creator who made them.  The psalmist reminds us that our help comes from “the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.”  The hills and the heavens above them were set in place by a God such as this!  To have the help and watchful eye of “the Maker of heaven and earth” is a great place of security and rest.

Unlike pagan deities that were worshiped on the high places, the psalmist knows that the presence of the God of Israel is beyond the highest heaven.   The temple in Jerusalem could not contain God Almighty.  It is simply a gathering place of corporate worship and a place to fulfill the obedience expected of a disciple seeking God’s presence in a God-honoring way.

Facing any opposition, the pilgrim remembers what obedience looks like and the certain protection of our God who watches over the pilgrim’s travels.  The pilgrimage language speaks of coming and going.  In this psalm there is repeated acknowledgement of God’s activites of watching and protecting.  The psalmist’s peaceful expressions of trust permeate Psalm 121 as the disciple looks beyond the hills to see his helper is none other than the one true and holy God.

The disciple who completely trusts will not need human assurance of protection or provision beyond the daily bread for he doesn’t look to the hills or the earth for his help, but to God alone.

Questions for meditation:

  • How easy is it to trust in God alone on a daily basis?
  • What worries are crowding out that place of peaceful trust for you?
  • What does it take to worship God in a way that honors Him?

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on February 25, 2012

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