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.
He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is your keeper;
the LORD is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The LORD will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore. (Psalm 121)
Psalm 121 is what’s called a “Song Of Ascents”—a psalm for pilgrim-worshipers to sing as they traveled to the temple in Jerusalem for worship.
The mountains along the road that led to the city featured many pagan temples and idols, which were often advertised as being able to offer protection from bandits who preyed on unwitting travelers, as well as from the scorching heat of the mid-day sun.
The constant threat of such dangers tempted weary, panicked pilgrims to settle for worshiping in the mountains rather than in Jerusalem. To make matters worse, pagan priests and cult prostitutes stood alongside the road, trying to coax less resolute travelers into the hills.
Lifting their eyes, the pilgrims faced a choice. Would they settle for false worship in the hills with its promise of immediate relief? Or would they remain on the road and devote themselves to worshiping in God’s house? That’s what the psalmist is asking in verse 1.
Then in verse 2 comes their decision: “My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth!”
Today we, like the Israelites, ought to see ourselves as pilgrim-worshipers walking in the Spirit toward an everlasting City “whose designer and builder is God” (Heb. 11:10). Along the way, we too are being coaxed by the unbelieving world. Their siren songs bellow from the side of the road, advertising false promises:
Want to be immovable? You need more money in the bank.
Want to preserve your life? You need more organics in your diet and a new exercise regimen.
Want to keep yourself from evil? Become more religious. It’ll make you a better, more upright person.
On and on they go, tempting us to believe there’s a better life awaiting us in the hills. All we need to do is worship their gods, they claim, and we’ll have everything we’ve ever wanted—protection, security, pleasure, satisfaction.
But listen to their siren songs closely enough, and you’ll soon realize that something is askew. If you’re starting to get the feeling that their whole sales pitch is a ruse, you’re absolutely right. Psalm 121 blows their cover:
Want to be immovable? God will not let you be moved.
Want to preserve your life? He is your keeper.
Want to keep yourself from evil? He will keep you from all evil.
God counters the world’s phony promises with the unbreakable promises of His Word. This means we have a decision to make. Will we run to those old idol-ridden hills? Or will we stay on the pilgrim way, devoting ourselves to worshiping the God whose power far surpasses anything our idols can offer?
As we look to the Lord’s Day, God is calling each of us to say yes to Him and no to every form of idolatry. As theologian John Witvliet says, “When we sing ‘Praise God from Whom all blessings flow,’ we are also saying, ‘Down with the gods from whom no blessings flow.’”
Gathered worship is God’s invitation to look around and see that the world cannot offer us what He offers. So let’s refuse to run to those old hills. Instead, let’s lift our eyes toward them and defiantly declare with one voice, “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!”
Set List for Sunday, September 03, 2017:
The Lion And The Lamb by Bethel Music (B. Brown, B. Johnson, L. Mooring)
Beneath The Waters (I Will Rise) by Hillsong Worship (B. Ligertwood, S. Ligertwood)
How Great Is Your Love by Passion (K. Stanfill, P. Wickham, B. Younker)
Devotion by Worship Central (L. Hellebronthe, T. Hughes, D. Ussher)
O Praise The Name by Hillsong Worship (B. Hastings, M. Sampson, D. Ussher)
You can also listen to a playlist of LifePoint’s current song rotation on Spotify.