My Eyes to the Hills – Psalm 121
I love the mountains. They remind me that there is a bigger life than the one in front of my face. Looking up seems to put things into the context they belong.
This may be why Psalm 121 advises us to do that.
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.
I hesitated writing about this psalm, because it’s such a familiar one. (Kudos to Lisa and others who have tackled much tougher texts). Ultimately I couldn’t resist, since this is one of my favorite places to park in my Bible. And I actually have some history with the words of this psalm.
Years ago, I had the opportunity at Fuller Seminary to go on a three week study tour to Israel. On one of our excursions in Jerusalem, to the digs of David’s palace, our guide pointed out that the king’s place of residence was always the highest structure in the land. When people in Jerusalem looked up, they saw the palace. However when David looked up, he saw the hills.
With the heart that David had, they undoubtedly reminded him that there was Someone bigger than himself.
David did some naughty things on his roof (remember that bathing beauty?). But when he was in his right state of mind, I imagine this was the place where he “looked up.” Perhaps it is where he penned some of his Psalms. He’s not specifically listed as the author of this psalm, however there is a good possibility that these are David’s words. Whatever the case, this psalm gives us the gift of timeless truth; words that are as life giving now as they were when they were written.
Our buildings may be higher and more sophisticated, but the mountains still stand alone in their glory.
So what do the words of Psalm 121 tell us?
I thought I’d offer a loose paraphrase (keeping in mind I am a brevity queen):
Look up (not down)
Realize where your help comes from (and where it doesn’t)
Know that God is never asleep (even when He is silent)
Feel His eyes on you (when you think you’re alone)
Bask in His protection (even when it may feel like harm)
Rest in His eternal perspective (which is bigger than what you can see right now).
Now those are some words to live by.
May God grant that we move from the page into our day.
Laurie Short (formerly Polich) is a speaker, associate pastor, and author of fourteen books for students and youth workers. This year, she’s releasing her first non youth ministry book, called Finding Faith in the Dark (Zondervan, 2014.) The subtitle is “When the Story of your life takes a turn you didn’t plan,” which is a pretty good description of Laurie’s life. Single for 48 years, Laurie married and became a mom in 2009. (Her stepson was six when she married). Her experience with singleness, marriage and (now) motherhood allows her to speak to women on a variety of levels.
Laurie is passionate about God’s word, and hopes this site will help women uncover new insights from familiar (and not so familiar) passages of Scripture. She has a Masters from Fuller Seminary, works part time at Ocean Hills Covenant Church, and balances the rest of her time as an author, speaker, wife and mom. (Don’t all women have five jobs?) LauriePolich.com.