Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Psalm 121:1 is often used in a fairly Romantic sense. People will use it to suggest that we find our help by retreating to the hills. We therefore might go out to find a mountaintop experience. We commune with nature. We find peace and comfort there. That seems like a nice idea. Unfortunately, I fear it is not the idea the Psalmist had in mind.
I’ve spent some time in mountainous regions in my life. There are certainly some people who go out into the hills to seek peace and reflection. At the risk of bringing down the wrath of a reader, though, I want to observe who else is in the hills. Mountain lions. Bears. Wolves. Coyotes. Birds of prey. Venomous snakes. Criminals who escaped from prison or the insane asylum. People prepping for survival through a cultural apocalypse. People who have been hurt or alienated. People who have a “shoot first, ask questions later if needed” policy. By the way, if you are able to take a squirrel out of a tree from your front porch, your attack on me will not result in my being able to answer any of those questions. You have a very good aim and I respect you.
The Psalmist does not look for help to come from the hills. The hills are the dangerous place. Where does he find help? He finds help in the Lord, who is greater than the hills. He finds help in the Lord who inhabits the hills and valleys. He finds strength, peace, comfort, and provision from the Lord. It’s the Lord who made all things, who is always on duty, that’s the one we can trust.
Where does my help come from? It comes from the Lord. Thanks be to God.
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