Sermons

Summary: We are hardwired to come home to God. Here’s why

Life has got enough trouble; we don’t have to go looking for it. Unfortunately most of us find enough on our own without looking real hard! A soldier jumped into a foxhole just ahead of bullets screaming over his head. He immediately tried to deepen the hole for more protection and was frantically scraping away the dirt with his hands. He unearthed something metal and brought up a silver crucifix, left by a former resident of the foxhole. A moment later another leaping figure landed beside him as the shells screamed overhead. When the soldier got a chance to look, he saw that his new companion was an army chaplain. Holding out the crucifix, the soldier gasped, “Am I glad to see you! How do you work this thing?”

One thing is for sure…when I find myself in a foxhole, I’m going to be looking to find help for my trouble in a hurry. This is the background for Psalm 121; “I’m in a mess…where do I go to find help?”

We are hardwired to go home in a crisis – home to God, that is! He is the Creator, and He knows us. We instinctively know that, so our “trouble response” is to lift up our eyes…look for God when things go sour.

This Psalm, a song of degrees, or ascents takes one from the mess he’s in to the higher place of rescue and safety. It is part of Israel’s exile literature, God’s word to a people in bondage. This morning, allow me to put you in exile, in the bondage of being a captive in a faraway land. (As long as I promise to keep the key handy, right?)

You’re a long way from here. Just imagine that the enemy came, destroyed everything you’ve known all your life, and took you in chains to their land. You are a servant, and they don’t even pay you minimum wage; you are lucky to get a few crumbs to keep alive.

Or maybe it is that you put yourself in bondage. You left home and loved ones. You’re the one called “Prodigal” and you’re in the far country. You can’t even recall how it got this crazy. One morning in the midst of life you awoke and found yourself sitting in the pigpen. You think, “I want to go home”. The thoughts of home cause you to look back towards the mountains where your home is, and you remember how far away you really are. “How will I ever get there? There are so many obstacles, so many dangers along the way? Should I even start? Is there no Triple-A for spiritual journeys?”

That’s the kind of question the Psalmist was asking “From whence cometh my help? – I want to go home; is there no help for me?

Have you ever asked yourself a question out loud? And found the answer before you finished asking the question?

The Psalmist posed the question, but the answer came right back. He knew that the help in life for all of his questions and fears was the LORD. He said MY help comes from God. There is a volitional tone in that choice. The Psalmist was saying for anyone who could hear, I put my trust in God to speak to life’s difficulties.

It is not just any God. He said it’s the One who created heaven and earth. God Our Preserver is a wonderful hymn that is not in our hymnal. It was penned by Isaac Watts more than 300 years ago. The first verse says:

Upward I lift mine eyes,

From God is all my aid;

The God that built the skies,

And earth and nature made [1]

In the early days of North Carolina the Native Americans around Mt Airy navigated by the sight of Pilot Mountain. That rock sticks up from the ground and you can see it for forty miles around. I rode from there across the Virginia Line and could see Pilot Mountain all the way from Meadows of Dan on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

When God created us He made certain we have the stamp of His image on our souls, our character and our minds. We know He is there. And so it is our choice…we can SAY MY help comes from the Lord, because He’s my God.

What Kind of Help?

God’s help is the care of a watchful Father. He watches me in several ways that the Psalmist unfolds for us:

He Watches my STEPS

3He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. 4He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. Psalms 121:3 - 4 (NRSVA)

The area around Jerusalem is mountainous; the terrain is treacherous for those who travel there on foot. It would not be uncommon to find a man in a ditch on the roads up to Jerusalem. Many travelers slipped on a loose stone. The picture is of a rough pathway.

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