Wednesday, May 7, 2014

I Shall Lift Up My Eyes

     Life is filled with good times and times of trouble.  Quite often, when something was getting me down, my mother took time to talk with me while she was cooking, and she patiently listened as I bemoaned some problem during my high school years.  One of her remedies for difficulties in life was the Psalms.  She encouraged me through the years to read the Psalms to find comfort and assurance there.  As a result, I often went into my room to read and pray the Psalms.  This never failed to bring me peace of mind.
     One of my favorite Psalms is 121.  It is short but a very powerful assurance of God's abiding love and presence:  "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."
     The Psalm is comprised of eight short verses of powerful truth about our God.  Looking at verse 1, it becomes clear to us that God is our help.  After all, He is the Creator of heaven and earth.  Can anything be too difficult for Him?  Why is it that we try everything else under the sun before we turn to God in prayer?  I think it goes back to our old flesh that tells us we have to be in control.  However, God should always be the first One we run to when our lives are in turmoil or even at times of great joy!
     God will also not allow our foot to be moved.  In other words, He gives us the ability to stand in the face of trials.  We don't have to worry about a slippery relationship with God.  He is our Rock and a mighty fortress for us. In fact, God never slumbers.  Unlike real life body guards who can fall asleep on the job, God is watching over us 24/7.  This should give our hearts security.  Knowing He is awake, allows us to sleep well at night and to know that He is with us always guarding His own.
     Another comfort comes in verse 5 where it is stated that God is our keeper.  Just as our shadow is always with us everywhere we go, so our Lord is always with us.  This is verified by the writer of Deuteronomy 6  who tells us that God will never leave us nor forsake us.  This allows us to be strong and bold in Christ on a day to day basis.  Why should I fear when I know that nothing will happen to me today that has not already passed through the hands of my heavenly Father who loves me?
     Verses 7 and 8 conclude this Psalm with a promise of deliverance from evil.  Our lives are held in God's Hands.  He knows our beginning and end for all our days are appointed by Him (Psalm 139:16).  He keeps us in all our goings and comings.  Do we not find comfort in knowing that?
     Now, someone could read this Psalm and say that this appears to promise complete protection from all the bad things that can cross our paths in life.  However, this Psalm does not exempt us from death, sickness, tribulation any more than it keeps us from joy, blessings and peace.  This Psalm, instead, expresses the confidence we have in knowing that God is there walking with us every step
through both the happy moments as well as the sad ones.  He has created us for His glory and desires for us to enjoy Him forever.  Therefore, we can face anything as we walk through this world knowing He is sovereign over all things.  We do not need to worry, fear or tremble for we serve a risen Savior who will come again to rule and reign.  As His children, let us lift up our eyes today for our God can be trusted to do all He says He will do.  Selah!

Photograph courtesy of Aaron Thayer taken at the Naples, FL Botanical Gardens

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