Summary: Psalm 121 is a Psalm of comfort to give us courage to stand through any trials that may come. It stands on it’s own, but maybe by God’s grace this sermon will help you in some way.
February 19, 2005 Psalm 121
A song of ascents. I lift up my eyes to the hills— 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.
As I sat down to finally write down this sermon, it was already Friday morning. I was simply amazed at HOW QUICKLY the week had gone by. They say that life goes quickly the older you get, but this is getting ridiculous. It’s kind of daunting to know that just as another work’s week has been accomplished, another week is right around the corner. I’m sure it’s probably the same for you. It’s kind of like walking through some mountains - just getting over one - only to find another one twice as big ahead of you.
The Psalmist in Psalm 121 said, “I lift up my eyes to the hills.” If he’s looking up to a mountain - it must mean he was still down in the valley. There is no history behind this Psalm - so we have no idea what kind of a valley he was in. What he being attacked by enemies? Was he sick? It doesn’t say. Whatever the case was, he needed help. So he asked the rhetorical question - from where does my help come from?
It’s a good question to ask yourself. Where does your help come from - when you are down in the valley? When you’ve got a hard week or chore ahead of you - what do you do? Where do you look for help? Human nature tends to look for the best path up the mountain, or even just lay down for a while and contemplate saying, “How am I going to get up this thing?” So what do you say to yourself? “I better get a good night’s sleep - I’ve got a long day ahead of me tomorrow.” That’s one way. Others make a list of duties - a game plan - making sure they know exactly what has to be done and when it has to be done - so they can check them off one at a time.
Yet this view of being down in the valley doesn’t just insinuate a long climb ahead. Battles were often fought in valleys. When Isaacs servants camped in the Valley of Gerar and dug a well, the herdsmen of the area immediately argued with them over it and took it from them. (Genesis 26) As we live in this shadow of death we are often being attacked on different fronts - even when we aren’t trying to bother anyone. People like to slander us at work. Others try to steal our identity off of the Internet. Satan is non-stop in his temptations to anger and strife within our own households. Where does your help come from in the valley? Does it come by being able to mix that drink or open that bottle at the end of the day? Does it come from sitting in front of the television and being able to escape into a fantasy world? Does it come from being able to read a book or exercise a little bit? Where does your help come from?
This kind of “help” is no real help when there’s a mountain in front of you. They might be temporary remedies to help you survive another day or get through another week - but they don’t take in mind the mountain ahead of you. Life is not that easy. Sooner or later you’re going to realize that all of your planning and relaxation and little entertainments don’t remove the mountain of responsibilities and death and eternity that you have to face. God’s Word calls you to be missionaries, fighters, proclaimers of the truth in a world that is darkened by sin. God expects you to be patient, kind, forgiving, and generous with people. That mountain of shoulds and expectations - it isn’t wiped away by watching a funny movie, and it isn’t accomplished even with the most detailed schedule or no matter how many Robert Schuller books you may read. If you seek your help from these things - you’re bound to stay in the valley and go even lower - down to hell.
The Psalmist had a different plan to get out of the valley. He knew he was going to get out. Why? Because no matter how steep the climb, no matter how difficult the journey -