Reading: Psalm 121
A song of ascents.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore (NIV).*
Psalm 121 is the second Song of Ascents, and as such it was a psalm, which was intended for use by pilgrims as they journeyed to Jerusalem. This particular psalm was most often sung or chanted as the pilgrims set out from Jericho. As they lifted up their eyes, the sharply rising hill country of Judah stretched off into the distance. Hill after hill rose up before them. Jesus often made this journey to Jerusalem from his youth (see Luke 2:41-52) until his final Passover pilgrimage (see Luke 19).
This final portion of the pilgrimage was truly an ascent. From the Dead Sea plain the road to Jerusalem climbs nearly five thousand feet—1600 meters. This is truly an ascent—an ascent from the Dead Sea plain, the lowest point on the earth’s surface, to the heights of Mount Zion.
For the bone-weary pilgrims, who had already walked more than one hundred kilometers (60 miles) from Galilee, the sight of those distant hills must have brought a measure of aching discouragement. Here was a looming challenge. Could they make this final ascent? The opening question of this psalm was not a matter of poetic whimsy. It was spoken in earnest. I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from?
The weary pilgrim may well be asking, “Having come this far, can I complete this journey? Do I have enough energy—enough stamina to climb those hills? Will I be able to reach Zion? I am exhausted now—before I even start the ascent. I can’t do this on my own. Where does my help come from?”
The psalmist’s answer resounds off those ancient hills. Even today, it echoes down through the ages and reverberates through the chambers of the heart. My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
Response: Father God, I am on a lifelong journey—a pilgrimage to the heavenly Jerusalem. When I become weary, give me strength. I need your help. I know my strength comes from you, LORD. Amen.
Your Turn: Do you need strength? Have you become weary at times in serving the Lord?