Summary: In which direction do you turn when life runs over you like a cement truck?
Psalm 121 - BACK TO CHURCH SUNDAY 26 September 2010
From where does your help come? In which direction do you turn when life runs over you like a cement truck? [phrase taken from Russell Brown on this site]
life can be tough - Sometimes, our problems feel like great mountains looming over us. “We lift up our eyes to the hills” - to the enormous impossible situation that we have no idea how we are going to cope with. It feels like we have just been run over and squashed - not by a mini, not by a skoda but by a giant cement truck.
I don’t know what problems you have faced in the past. I don’t know what problems are looming over you like mountains today. But I do know where to get help
“From where does my help come - my help comes from the Lord who has made heaven and earth.”
Isaac Bashevis Singer once confessed, “I only pray when I’m in trouble…but I’m in trouble all the time, and so I pray all the time.”
We face tough things - but the consistent witness of billions of Christians across the world is that God can make a very real difference.
This psalm - psalm 121 -was written something like three thousand years ago. We don’t know who composed it - but he or she clearly composed from the heart. Imagine the man sitting there writing it - he’s writing from the heart - he knows he’s safe because he has already experienced God never letting him down. Others hear him singing it - and the faith expressed so beautifully in the words resonates with them too - and they take up the song - When in danger, when in stress, when in turmoil, the Hebrews would sing these words and as they sang them feel reassured. Down countless generations since these words have remained a precious reassurance -I lift my eyes to the hills - where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth” However big the problem - Our God is bigger.
Anybody like doing pub quizes? Well here’s a piece of pub trivia for you. The posh name for bit of the church you are sitting in is “the nave” - and that means the “ship”. Why on earth does anybody call the bit of the church you are sitting in “the ship”? It doesn’t look like a ship does it? There’s no rigging. There’s no sails. There’s no oars. So why call it a “nave” a “ship”? It’s because the early Christians experienced God rescuing them from the storms of life - so they nicknamed the bit “The Ship” to celebrate how God had helped them like a lifeboat rescuing drowning people from the water.
“I lift my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come - my help comes from the Lord who has made heaven and earth.”
“He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.” vs4
“HE who keeps Israel will neither slumber or sleep”
Many times when a tragedy occurs involving a child, the parent says, “I only turned my head for a minute.” So much can happen if we turn our head away from our children.
But the good news God doesn’t turn his head. There is not a moment when we are out of God’s sight. Verse 3 tells us, “He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.” When we are tired, God isn’t.
[idea from a sermon by Wesley Bishop on this site]
Someone once asked the Greek conqueror Alexander the Great how he was able to sleep so soundly surrounded by constant danger. He replied that his faithful guard, Parmenio, was watching - how much more so us with God
vs 5-6 “The Lord is your keeper. The Lord is your shade at your right hand. The Sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.”
Think of one thing.Think of the opposite. God can help with both
“ the moon by night.” Many people in the anicent world were scared of the moon god of the Babylonians, to whom was attributed all sorts of evils- fever, leprosy, even being “moonstruck” -was no challenge to our God. Of course the moon God isn’t real. But if you are frighted of something - it’s all to real to you. And God gives us the courage and strength to face our fears imagined or otherwise.
[from a sermon by Dr Jerry Morrissey on this site]
“The Sun shall not strike you by day,”
God helps with perceived problems - but he also helps with very real issues. The heat of the day, literally, causing sunstroke, sun burn dehydration. Very real problems.