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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder


Psalm 121:1-2 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.

This particular psalm is included in a group of fifteen psalms referred to as Songs of Degrees. They are often called Songs of Travelers, Pilgrim Songs or Songs of Assent. There were several occasions when the Jewish nation either went, or were taken, into foreign lands and later returned to the Promised Land and to their holy city, Jerusalem. Even individuals, families, and tribes often journeyed away from their homeland and returned. It seems that their return to the Promised Land, and especially, their return to Jerusalem was looked forward to with great longing, desire, and anticipation.

Judea is a mountainous area in Israel in which Jerusalem is located. Because of its highly elevated location, Jerusalem was often referred to as Mount Zion.Approaching the city from any direction, one must go up to enter its gates. Visualizing its physical location, one can understand why they must look up to Jerusalem as they were traveling toward it. Jerusalem was the spiritual capitol of all Jewish people. It was here that they communed with God through their priesthood. It was here that all Jewish people looked for both physical and spiritual guidance and sustenance. It was here that the people of Israel placed their trust. They looked unto the hills of Jerusalem and unto God from whence cometh my help.

By placing their complete trust in God, they understood the firm foundation on which they stood. Verse three says this of God: He will not suffer thy foot to be moved. They knew that if they placed their complete trust in the goodness, the power, and the watch care of God, they were on a foundation from which they could not be moved. Verse four tells us that the God's blessings and protection is available day and night, because He shall neither slumber nor sleep. God not only preserves the physical body, but also He protects the soul by keeping men and women from being overtaken by evil (Vs. 7). Verse 8 adds that God will preserve thy going out and thy coming in both now and forever more.

If only Israel had believed the words of this Psalm throughout their history and placed their trust in God without wavering. The bible is filled with stories of how Israel strayed from God and placed their trust in kings of other nations and in man-made idols. During the years of their history, Israel was apart from God more than it was with God. It was the times when Israel repented of their erring ways and returned to Him, that are referred to in the lesson text. These were the times when they looked unto the hills, to Jerusalem, and to God from whence cometh their help. It was the times when they realized that they needed to place their trust in God, and God alone. It was Psalms like this that served as encouragement for Israel in their pilgrimage as they return to God after sojourning away from Him in strange lands.

This short psalm of only eight verses is full of lessons for each of us today. It teaches us Trust. In whom or in what do you place your trust? Might and power seems to be a good place for your trust, until you read the story of David and Goliath. The Philistine relied on his strength and gigantic stature, on a sword and spear, and on a shield. David relied on God, a sling, and a few small stones. From this story found in 1 Samuel 17, we know the result that came from the wisdom of David for trusting God for deliverance.

Maybe if we just had wealth and riches, we could have anything in the world that we desired. If this is what we believe, read Psalm 49:6-10. Here we find that riches cannot save us from death, neither can we redeem our brother for a ransom, and neither can we take our wealth with us when we die. Jesus told His disciples, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God (Mark 10:24). Some place their trust in, and worship, idols fashioned by artisans from gold, silver, and stone, who profit only those that made them. Some trust in military and governmental leaders. We are warned in Psalm 146:3-4 that this trust is vain.

Where should you look for help in time of need? Wisdom says we should emulate Israel in their times of repentance. We should lift up our eyes unto the hills from whence cometh our help. Look to God, our Creator and our Sustainer, both in this life and for the life to come.