Summary: There's an old saying "You get what you look for." What does Psalm 121 say God's people looked for, and what difference can that make in our lives as Christians?
OPEN: They are called the “Songs of Ascent”. There’s 14 of them from Psalms 120 thru 134. At least 3 times each year, the Israelites would make their way to City of David… to worship God - the feast of Passover; the feast Pentecost; and the Feast of the Tabernacles. And as they made their way to Jerusalem it was pretty much an uphill trek. There’s not many places in Israel that have a higher elevation than Jerusalem. And for many of the worshippers they had to walk the whole way.
And as they walked they would sing these songs of Ascent
Psalm 121:1 starts out with this interesting phrase: “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?” What were they looking at? What did they see when they lifted their eyes to the hills?
They were looking at Jerusalem. It’s the highest place around. And WHAT they saw would literally have taken their breath away. One person described it this way: The city was a wonder to behold, and the “the gem in the crown was the Temple itself. The building’s white marble and gold glistened in the sun to such an extent that it was blinding in the daylight.”
That’s what they saw… when they lifted up their eyes. And they weren’t looking at a mere building. They were looking at the place where they BELIEVED God dwelt. When they lifted up their eyes to the hills they were looking to the Temple of God for help. “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?”
There’s an old phrase that says: “You get what you look for” If you know what you’re seeking… you’ll find it. But if you don’t know what you're looking for, you're going to wander around aimlessly.
ILLUS: Yogi Bera, the former catcher for the New York Yankees said: “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re likely to end up someplace else.”
So Psalm 121:1 is declaring… look to the hills. Look to the hills of Jerusalem. Look to the hills that hold the Temple of God. Look to the God who promises PEACE.
In Psalm 4:8 David wrote: “I will lie down and sleep in PEACE, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.”
And in Psalm 29:11 we read: “The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with PEACE.”
Isaiah 55:6 & 12 “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near… (and) you will go out in joy and be led forth in PEACE; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”
Look to the God who can give you peace.
So, how do I KNOW that God will give me peace? Well, one of my favorite parts of this Psalm is verses 3 & 4 “He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” Psalm 121:3-4
Now, why would that be so important? Because all the rest of the promises in this Psalm (and the promises in the rest of Scripture) hinge on that truth: GOD WILL NOT SLEEP! He’s always going to be there. He’s always going to be watching you.
How do I know He won’t let my foot slip? Because He won’t be sleeping. How do I know He will protect from the sun by day and from moon by night? Because He won’t be sleeping. How do I know He will keep me from evil and protect my life? Because HE WON’T BE SLEEPING!!!
You’re not going to catch God napping.
ILLUS: A young mother was putting her daughter to bed one night. Her husband was gone and they were there all alone, and while there was a full moon the wind howled menacingly in trees both the mom and her daughter were uneasy. Then the young girl asked her mother if the MOON was God’s night light. “Yes, dear,” the mother replied.
Then the girl asked “Does God turn out his light when he goes to sleep?” “No honey, GOD NEVER SLEEPS.” “Oh,” said the child quietly. “Well, if God’s going to stay up all night, there’s no sense both of us staying awake.” And then she just turned over in bed, pulled up her blanket up and fell asleep.” (childlike faith) That child found comfort in the fact that God didn’t sleep. God was going to be up all night anyway! She had faith that He would watch over her, and so she slept.
Too often, in this world, there are people who don’t think about God watching over them.
ILLUS: There’s a Dr. Don Colbert who wrote a book called “Stress Less” and in that book he focused on the problem of stress in our society. And he wrote this: "Did you know that 75 to 90 percent of all visits to a primary care physician’s office are related to stress disorders? That’s according to the American Institute of Stress. What is driving us to the shelves of pharmacy? Feelings of stress! Americans are consuming five billion tranquilizers, five billion barbiturates, three billion amphetamines, and sixteen tons of aspirin every year. Much of this 'medicine' is being taken to help alleviate stress or the resulting headaches and pain associated with stress!"