Stronghold 4: Psalm 121 (Where Does My Help Come From?).
1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains –
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip –
He who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, He who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord watches over you –
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all harm –
He will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
My fourth Stronghold Verse is Psalm 121. It’s short and sweet, just eight verses in total, but full of wonderful assurance and comfort. It is a stronghold to take refuge in if you are afraid or anxious. It assures us of God’s help, of His care and His concern for us. It tells us repeatedly that God watches over us (four times in eight verses). Just as the Lord watches over us, so this psalm should be our watch-word if ever we feel alone or exposed. He is with us and looking after us. Always. I’ve never been afraid of the moon or sun harming me (beyond a little sunburn), but verse 6 is just a poetic way of saying that God watches over us around the clock. 24/7. There isn’t a moment that goes by when God isn’t watching over you. Twice we’re told, for emphasis, that He doesn’t sleep. He never takes His eyes off you. Not eyes of judgement or condemnation, but eyes of loving care. The eyes of a father who keeps His children safe.
I love this psalm because I love mountains. I always feel close to God in the mountains, and always seek His presence when I go hiking in the uplands. For the Israelites mountains too were places where they expected to find God, be it Mt. Sinai/Mt. Horeb, where the Ten Commandments were given in Exodus 19-20 and where Elijah met with God (1 Kings 19), or the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Although God is everywhere, these were places where He dwelt with special intensity and purpose. The Bible is always talking about ‘the mountain of the Lord’. I particularly like Genesis 22:14, where Abraham’s experience on Mt. Moriah was made into a proverb: ‘On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.’ That same mountain where a ram took Isaac’s place as the sacrifice was also where Jesus later took our place on the cross. And that’s the link for us.
Not only is looking up to the mountains symbolic of raising our eyes to heaven, it also conveys this foundational truth that everything we need stems from Jesus’ work on Golgotha. The help we need for salvation, for life and godliness, all comes from Jesus by His Holy Spirit. It’s no good trying to help ourselves or rely on others. God is the only one who can truly help us. Worldly support networks are important, but they cannot take the place of God. It’s Him we need to look to. It’s Him we need to keep our eyes fixed on (Hebrews 12:2). It’s from Him that our help comes (v. 1). He is the Maker of heaven and earth – possessing all the power to help us (v. 2). He will keep our feet strong and on the right path (v. 3). He will watch over us ceaselessly, neither getting bored nor weary (v. 4). He will shade us (v. 5), His coverage is round-the-clock (v. 6) and He will keep us from harm (v. 7). Whether we’re going out or coming back, the Lord is watching over us (v. 8). There’s no time limit or expiry date on His watching – it’s ‘both now and forevermore’ (v.8).
You are never outside of the Lord’s care. Whatever you need, He will provide it. Look to Him for strength, look to Him for comfort. Rely on Him when you’re weary or when you’ve slipped up. Don’t hold back from anything out of fear of going it alone, because He will be with you. In this stronghold you’ll find boldness, comfort and confidence. Speak this verse over yourself as often as you need to, as often as you need help. No matter how times you ask ‘where does my help come from?’, the answer is always the same: ‘My help comes from the Lord’.