Monday Encouragement

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth”–Psalm 121:1-2.
My Beloved Ones in Christ Jesus,
Psalm 121 is another one of the ‘Psalms of Ascent.’  As you know, this category of Psalms represents those songs (Psalms 120-134) that were sung by Old Testament saints as they journeyed to Jerusalem to worship.  Of course, from virtually any location in Israel one always went “up” to the holy city given its prominent location on a mountain (about 2800 feet above sea level).  Those coming from the east, from the region of the Dead Sea (1400 feet below sea level), would by far have the most arduous climb, some 4200 feet in all.  You can imagine that if you started out one day from that area of Israel headed to Jerusalem, you would literally “lift up” your “eyes” to the “hills” as you walked.  Your destination was far above you among the mountains. It would be a very long and difficult climb.  And as verse 1 suggests, the pilgrims would view the hills in front of them and ask a very practical question: “From where does my help come?”  That is, ‘How can I make the journey?’ ‘Who will assist me on this pathway that is so hard and demands so much?’
For centuries now, this Biblical image of going up to Jerusalem to worship our Holy God has served as a picture of the entire life of the believer, and the believing community of saints as a whole. Our pilgrimage on this earth is an uphill climb in every way. All of life is our service and worship of God, not just one day of the week.  And, therefore, all of life is going up, walking the sometimes vertical pathway of adoration, faithfulness, and obedience to the sovereign and gracious One who has redeemed us.  If you are feeling the strain, the exhaustion, the stress of being faithful to your Savior and Lord, and if you are asking ‘How can I make it?’ then everything is normal!
Now, admittedly, that news might not encourage you very much at all!  So let’s see what else is going on in this blessed Psalm.
Our encouragement on this new Monday comes from the second verse where the Israelite pilgrim makes a confession of faith, and answers his own question: “My help comes from the Lord”!  Now, this for sure is not wishful thinking. It is not simply the discipline of reflecting on something pleasant, or accentuating the positive. Rather, it is an appeal to the character of our God, as well as to His infinite power, love, wisdom, and grace, and to His unfailing Word that has promised us His ever-present help!  And take note again of the words that are sounded by the pilgrim: “My help comes.”  He does not say, ‘Perhaps the Lord will help me,’ or ‘I hope He assists me when I need help.’  To the contrary, the pilgrim declares what God Himself has said, and there is no uncertainty about it at all. For example,
Psalm 28:7–“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him.”
Psalm 54:4–“Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life.”
Psalm 118:7–“The Lord is on my side as my helper.”
The truth is that helping us is more than simply something God does. It is who He “is” all the time, in every moment and in season of life!
If you are looking “up” to those mountains in front of you (and who could not see them and become nervous or uncertain about the climb), then rest assured that this is the way forward as we serve and worship our Savior on this side of our entrance into the heavenly Jerusalem.  It is uphill.  The territory on which we have been commissioned as disciples of Jesus is not flat.  Even Jesus said it is a “narrow way” that we journey, beset with multitudinous hardships and adversities.  But nevertheless, it is the right way!   He is glorified as we climb, as we endure, and as we remain faithful when we are frequently stressed and challenged. He finds pleasure not only in shaping us and building our faith by means of this upward ascent, but He is especially pleased to be our “helper” and “upholder”!
So keep taking those steps, one at a time.  Confess what you know to be true of Him. He “is” after all “the Lord, who made heaven and earth”!  What’s a little hill to the Maker of the mountains!
I love you all with all my heart,
Mike PS: Next up, Psalm 130.