Summary: We need to recognize who sustained us through our past and be faithful to Him in the future.
Where’s Your Help Coming From?
December 28th, 2002.
I can picture the processional party of pilgrims passing through the pleasant countryside.
From all different walks of life, they come.
Some are common shepherds who had toiled all year round under the brisk, bleak blanket of the night air tending disobedient, and disobliging sheep.
Others were farmers, who had plowed and planted the hard, harsh ground that was stubborn to yield food.
Some were merchants who had traveled all over buying, bartering and bargaining to bring home bounty to put bread in their families bellies.
From different homes and different circumstances.
From different economic and social levels.
From different sizes of houses and types of cars.
From different educational and professional achievements.
From east, west, north and south. Tall, short, young and old they came for one common purpose, to worship at Jerusalem.
You see this morning church as we look at this Psalm in front of us, Psalm 124, the Bible labels this as a Song of degrees in some versions or a Song of Ascent. It is a part of a group from Psalm 120 to Psalm 134 that was sung by the Israelites as they journeyed to the special annual feasts.
My preacher’s imagination now, I see them packing up everything and beginning the long walk up to Jerusalem.
When the load was heavy and the road was stony someone would begin to sing Psalm 121 “Will I lift up mine eyes to the hills? Whence should my help come from? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.”
When the sun would be blazing and the ground burning, I could hear a voice sing, “The Lord is thy keeper, the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.”
When murmuring and complaining would start up and folks began to bicker, Psalm 133 would remind them, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.”
The Psalms would carry them on their way as they journeyed to Jerusalem.
But in the midst of the singing, I can hear someone open up and begin singing Psalm 124 (verses 1-5).
The question I have today is why in the midst of so much joy and gladness. Why when they were headed up to the temple to worship God, to lift up holy hands, to magnify His name?
Why is it when they got the chance to see family and friends who they had not seen for a long time?
Why is it that they remember all this bad stuff at such a time like this?
Why bring back up all those bad memories of trials and tribulations?
Why before such a joyous occasion would they sing about such hardships and heartaches?
Why even go there?
You must understand today church that the text does not say that men would not rise up against us.
It does not say that the waters would not try to overwhelm us and the raging water would not try to wash us away. They will.
There’s nothing pleasant about enemies attempting to swallow you alive. Nothing good about rushing waters trying to drown you.
Nothing nice about someone being surrounded by angry enemies on every side.
My question then is why would they even bother to remember those bitter experiences.
You see it is natural in life for us to memorialize the good things.
We keep photo albums of birthday parties and engagement parties and wedding ceremonies.
We have videos of baby dedications and high school graduations and Fourth of July celebrations.
But I have not seen anyone yet say:
“I need to get a picture of myself when that boyfriend broke my heart.”
Let me get the video camera, I must get a shot of how my family looks when they’re hungry.
Take the picture of how I look when I lose my job.
My wife and I must take a picture together when we are upset with each other.
It just doesn’t happen.
Why remember the times when doubt and depression came up against us like a flood and were ready to drown our souls?
Why should we remember when we were ostracized and criticized and chastised for no good reason?
Why would you want to sing about the times when the bills were too high and the money was so low?
Why remember those times when we felt hopeless, helpless and couldn’t care less?
Why think about the times when we were used, abused and confused?
Church today any recollection of our history that includes only the good things, is an incomplete history.
If you only remember the times when you had peace in the home and peace on the job and peace at school then you are missing something.