A Song of Ascents. I will lift up my eyes to the hills–From whence comes my help? 2 My help [comes] from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. 3 He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. 4 Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The LORD [is] your keeper; The LORD [is] your shade at your right hand. 6 The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night. 7 The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. 8 The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in From this time forth, and even forevermore.PSALM 121:1-8
A TRAVELER’S SONG
David Livingstone, the famous missionary to the African Continent, chose to read Psalm 121 along with Psalm 135 with his father and sister before embarking on his missionary journey. His mother-in-law, Mrs. Moffat also wrote to him and said that Psalm 121 was always on her mind when she prayed for him.
In Psalm 121 the pilgrims were leaving behind pagan lands to come and to worship in the temple of God in Jerusalem. We took note that they were distinct from the people around them because they worshiped the LORD. There was a prayer that they wouldn’t believe all the lies around them. That they wouldn’t buy into the false god’s and pagan deities. We can pray that for us as well to pray with confidence that this place is not our home and to ask God for grace in the midst of everything.
Where does our help come from? Why were the travelers here looking at the hills? The hills and high places were places of false worship. There were a variety of false god’s that would be worshiped in a variety of wicked ways on the hills. Worshipers of these false god’s would offer children as a sacrifice to Moloch, Baal was a harvest god but was also in charge of the weather, Ashtoroth was fertility her altars were giant phallic symbols and she had a cult of prostitutes that would meet you up at the high places. There were also smaller regional deities. Demons that liked to cause mischief like a stone under your foot to twist your ankle, etc… unless they were appeased by some sort of offering. When these folks traveled they would see all of these places of worship to these false God’s on the hills. Even in Israel these places were set up at different times by kings. Solomon had erected a temple on the mount of olives that overlooked the temple mount! People going in to worship the one true God would see their king and his wives going to worship a false god!!!
Listen to some of these verses about worshiping on the hills, also called high places, and under green tree’s.
[Deu 12:1-5 NKJV] 1 “These [are] the statutes and judgments which you shall be careful to observe in the land which the LORD God of your fathers is giving you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth. 2 “You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. 3 “And you shall destroy their altars, break their [sacred] pillars, and burn their wooden images with fire; you shall cut down the carved images of their gods and destroy their names from that place. 4 “You shall not worship the LORD your God [with] such [things]. 5 “But you shall seek the place where the LORD your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go.
[1Ki 3:3 NKJV] 3 And Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of his father David, except that he sacrificed and burned incense at the high places.
[Psa 78:58 NKJV] 58 For they provoked Him to anger with their high places, And moved Him to jealousy with their carved images.
[Isa 65:7 NKJV] 7 Your iniquities and the iniquities of your fathers together,” Says the LORD, “Who have burned incense on the mountains And blasphemed Me on the hills; Therefore I will measure their former work into their bosom.”
[Jer 3:22-23 NKJV] 22 “Return, you backsliding children, [And] I will heal your backslidings.” “Indeed we do come to You, For You are the LORD our God. 23 Truly, in vain [is salvation hoped for] from the hills, [And from] the multitude of mountains; Truly, in the LORD our God [Is] the salvation of Israel.
[Jer 7:31 NKJV] 31 “And they have built the high places of Tophet, which [is] in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, nor did it come into My heart.
As we travel through this life we will face hazards. The question that the Psalmist raises is where will you look for your help to come from? Will you look to God the maker of heaven and earth? Or will you look somewhere else (the hills high places) for your solution?
The Psalmist declares he doesn’t trust in high places when his world falls apart or he is anxious about traveling. His hope is in the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.
Father, You are the maker of heaven and earth! I will look to you for my help and salvation. I will not seek false gods and idols that do not satisfy. It’s you who guards my steps and it’s you in whom I trust. Watch over my steps today. Lead me in the way everlasting. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.