Todays readings .. Leviticus 21, Psalms 120-124, Luke 4
“MY HELP COMES FROM THE LORD”
Psalm 121 today begins with a question – and sometimes this is not recognised. The Psalmist is lifting up his eyes to the hills and asking, “from where does my help come?”
The pagan people around and all too often the Jewish people also, looked to high places where they felt they would be nearer to where their God’s dwelt. When travelling in India you frequently see hill tops crowned with Hindu temples.
The 2nd verse answers the question, stating, “My help comes from the LORD who made heaven and earth.” That is just as true today, but so few realise this. But what sort of help can seekers expect? Well this Psalm is the second of 5 short Psalms to be read today and they are all called ‘A SONG OF ASCENTS’
Among the Jews these and the ten Psalms which follow are generally understood to be the songs that were sung as they went up to Jerusalem to worship in the Temple. In some cases they would be coming from distant lands – remember the man from Ethiopia that Philip was sent by the Spirit to meet? “he had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning” [Acts 8 v.27].
We recall Isaiah’s vision! “It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains … and many people shall come and say, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD” [Isaiah 2 v.2,3]
So what did the pilgrims going up to Jerusalem sing about? Do these Psalms foreshadow at all the future going up to Jerusalem?
The first one (120) is, “In my distress I cried to the LORD and he answered me. Deliver me O LORD, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue” [v.1,2] This illustrates the kind of help that was sought – and given – to genuine worshippers of God like David. It also shows the frame of mind of those who do not know God that those going up to Jerusalem leave behind!
Psalm 121 ends, “The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and for evermore.”
The Lord will watch over all the ways in which we travel, if we firmly believe our help comes from the Lord. This verse will find its complete fulfilment in our lives when Jesus returns and the kingdom is established and we are blessed to be there..