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. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil; He will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.
Asking the Question
Several scholars point out that the original language (Hebrew) of Psalm 121:1 suggests a question more than a statement.
- Modern translations (Psalm 121:1-2): “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.”
- A better translation (Psalm 121:1-2): “Shall I lift my eyes to the hills? From where does my help come?”
These scholars argue this point because, in the ancient Canaanite culture (that lived amongst the Israelites), the Canaanites would often build their pagan high places and altars to Baal upon the tops of hills. This makes sense—if a poor traveler wandered about in the valley, he could merely look upon the hill and find a place of “worship.”
So the Psalmist declares, “Shall I lift my eyes to these hills—these hills that declare and worship pagan gods?” “No!” he shouts in verse two, “My help ONLY comes from the Lord, the True God, who made heaven and earth.”
Where Does Your Help Come From?
Where does your help come from? Where do you turn to in your time of distress? So many today lift their eyes to finances, the economy, politics, health, comfort, safety, friends, family, etc.
But lifting your eyes to anything but Jesus removes your focus from the only One who is your help.
I came across a funny story this past week in the book George Müller of Bristol. As Mr. Müller was on his missionary travels, he came across a boy in America with a heavy burden who asked a drayman, who was driving an empty cart, for a ride. Being permitted, he mounted the cart with his basket, but thinking he might so relieve the horse a little, while still himself riding, lifted his load and carried it.
We laugh at the simplicity of the idiotic lad, and yet how often we are guilty of similar folly!
We profess to cast ourselves and our cares upon the Lord, and then persist to bear our own burdens as if we felt God is unable to sustain and carry us.
How often do we, like this poor foolish boy, give our lives and burdens to Jesus only to find ourselves lifting them up and attempting to carry them on our own?
What we must remember is that Jesus does not merely “carry” us through life.
In recent years I have grown to dislike the “Footprints” poem—the poem where an individual sees one set of prints in the sand during the hard times of life and when he asks Jesus about it receives the reply that he was carried during those hard times. While appealing and cute, this is not Christianity.
Though God is everywhere and He does go before and behind us, the reality of the New Testament is that He now lives INSIDE of us via the indwelling Holy Spirit. As Paul declared, “Christ IN you, the hope of glory!”
Jesus does not want you to merely give Him your load, He wants you to give Him your life! He wants to live in and through you, demonstrating and revealing Himself to the world. He wants to march into the midst of your distress, your problem, your circumstances and produce Godliness and righteousness through you … and not merely “carry you through.”
Would you be willing to lay both your burden AND your life in His hands and at His disposal. Will you quit lifting your eyes to the hills in search of some other solution and instead focus entirely on Jesus? It is He who does not sleep and will keep your foot from being moved. He will be your keeper, your shade, and your life!
From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.