"I lift my eyes up to the mountains – 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, NIV)
Several years ago when I was at a time in life filled with confusion, loneliness, and deep sadness, a dear friend of mine told me to read this Psalm. Even though this particular Psalm only has eight verses, those eight verses had a powerful meaning behind them then and still do today. These verses help illustrate a picture of God’s constant presence wherever we are in life. It is a reminder that we are never alone when we are in the presence of God.
Psalm 121, among the rest of Psalms 120-134, is named “A Song of Ascent.” It is noted that these songs were sung by pilgrims as they made their journey to Jerusalem. Their journeys weren’t always easy; with dangerous paths and remote regions, it was easy to lose sight of what was ahead, trying to find help in themselves than bringing it up to God. By singing this song, it was a declaration of God’s sovereignty of all things. These were also sung to prepare themselves as they arrived at the Temple; they were preparing to be in the presence of God. We need this right attitude of meditation when we come into the presence of God as well.
The first two verses say it straight and clear: Our help comes from God. The same God who created everything in the beginning until now is the same God who can give us answers if we are willing to stand in the posture of obedience. How often do we seek help from Him? In our lives, we encounter obstacles, challenges, and dead ends that challenge our faith, and it is often during those times that we believe that our own strength and willpower will enable us to conquer these trials. But here's the thing: We can't do this alone, and we can't do this without God. How often we find try to find our answers in people or in worldly things without consulting the one who created us from the very beginning? When we lift our eyes up, up beyond anything tangible here in this world, we acknowledge who God is and believe that He will help us.
The remaining verses show us ways where God makes His presence known in our lives. They can be best summarized by the following statements:
- God will keep our spiritual character in check.
- When we are asleep, God is awake – we don't have to worry about anything.
- God's protection is 24/7 – doesn't cease at night or day.
- God will shield us from evil – "Do not be afraid those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the one can destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10:28)
- Because God loves and cares for us so much, we are able to face daily issues with confidence knowing that God is watching us.
Doesn't that sound amazing? GOD IS WITH US ALL THE TIME. So why do we worry so much about the stresses of life?
We live in a society where we are fixated on finding answers from worldly things, not realizing that they are distracting us from fostering an intimate relationship with God. We engorge ourselves with materialistic finds, because we believe it will cure us from our sadness; we seek advice from psychics or horoscopes, because we want to see what lies ahead in our future; and we seek approval from people, because we need to feel good about ourselves. As a community of believers, we are not made to live this way. God's presence is always with us – He's always available and working all the time. But that doesn't mean He will answer us right away, or in terms that we expect Him to. When God doesn't respond to us or "show up," we tend to grow weary, frustrated, and angry. But it's during those delays in life that God is waiting patiently for our hearts, minds, and souls to mold into the right posture and with the right mindset to faithfully Him in our journeys; we need to trust God.
So I challenge you to ask yourself this question: Where does your help come from?