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Faithlife

Bryan Clements - Where Does My Help Come From?

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Where Does My Help Come From?

The moment that we become a Christian, when we say no to the world and yes to God, all our problems are solved.

All our questions are answered.    All our troubles are over.  Nothing can interfere with the enjoyable relationship that has been established by Jesus.  We are among the privileged people who don’t have accidents, who don’t have arguments with our spouses, whose children never disobey us.

That is what it is like being a Christian isn’t it?  We know better than that.

Some people have the impression that that is what it is like to be a Christian.  But they are wrong.  We don’t like to admit that we are wrong but Sometimes it is a relief to find out that we are wrong.

Lawnmower.  Left hand thread.    Glad to find out that he was wrong.  Never would have gotten it done his way, no matter how hard he tried.

Psalm 121 is a psalm that reminds us that, at times, we may be going about this whole Christian thing wrong.

Sometimes we wonder why things happen, or we think that they should not happen at all.  After all we are God’s children and it is not supposed to be this way.

Salvation is wonderful, I can’t think of anything better, but I think sometimes that we do people a disservice by not telling them that being a Christian is not easy.  Nobody told me that after becoming a Christian that I would become a prime target for Satan.

We dive into the river of Christianity, full of excitement, and we come up coughing and choking.  Satan comes after us, because now we are the enemy

He didn’t have a reason to worry with us before.

We get this picture that life will be a garden of Eden or New Jerusalem.  But we are rudely awakened to something very different and we look around for help scanning the horizon for assistance.  Psalm 121 is addressed to any of us who find ourselves looking all around for a fix to our troubles.

Psalms 120-134 are ascent psalms, sung on the way to the festival/feasts.

Read it with me:

Psalm 121 (NKJV)

1 A Song of Ascents. I will lift up my eyes to the hills— From whence comes my help?
2 My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul.
8 The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in From this time forth, and even forevermore.

Value in other translations. You have to know what you are using,

Message:

Psalm 121 (The Message)
1 I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains?
2 No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.
3 He won’t let you stumble, your Guardian God won’t fall asleep.
4 Not on your life! Israel’s Guardian will never doze or sleep.
5 God’s your Guardian, right at your side to protect you—
6 Shielding you from sunstroke, sheltering you from moonstroke.
7 God guards you from every evil, he guards your very life.
8 He guards you when you leave and when you return, he guards you now, he guards you always.

In this Psalm we see 3 things that hurt travelers on their way to Jerusalem.

1.    At any time you could stumble on a stone and fall.

2.    Long exposure to the sun.

3.    Moonstroke – lunacy – ancient writers wrote about fatigue and anxiety and emotional illness that they called moonstroke.

There are all kinds of dangers that could face the traveler on the way to Jerusalem and all kinds of dangers that face us.

But let’s focus on these three for now.

The psalm says that He will not let you stumble. God is our guardian.

So, are we to conclude that as Christians we will never have any of these problems?

          No, we know better than that.  So, how do we account for this passage?

Let’s look a little deeper at this psalm:

They were making their way to Jerusalem.  The ascent. The climb to Jerusalem was surrounded by mountains. What would a Hebrew see on the tops of these mountains?

When this psalm was written, the area was full of pagan worship.  Most of this religion was practiced on the hilltops, in the high places.

Shrines were set up , trees were planted, prostitutes male and female were provided.

People were lured to these shrines to do lewd things as worship that would invoke the gods of fertility and that would protect them from evil. 

Do you get the picture? 

          Sun a problem?  Go to the sun priest and protection from the sun god.

          Afraid of the moon? Go to the moon priestess and buy an amulet.

          Worried about falling? Go to the shrine and learn the magic formula or talisman that would keep evil away.

Where will my help come from? Baal   Asherah?  Sun priest?  Moon priestess?

The travelers would see this on the hills.

But the answer says No my help comes from God.  The God. The One who made heaven and earth and the very mountains that surround us.

Psalm 121 rejects everything that is not of the true God.

Help comes from the Creator not from the creation.

The Creator is always awake.  He never dozes or sleeps. 

          Remember Elijah and the prophets of Baal?  Maybe he is asleep. Yell louder!!  Elijah talking trash!

God made the sun, moon and rocks.  They have no spiritual power.  They can’t inflict evil on us. 

The Bible doesn’t promise us exemption from the difficulties in life.

What it does do though is promise us preservation from all the evil in the difficulties that we face.

The Bible acknowledges that there will be difficulties.

The Lord’s prayer says “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” 

That prayer gets answered every day in our lives.  Bad things are going to happen to us but God will deliver us.

None of the things that happen to us, none of the troubles that we encounter, have any power to get between us and God.

Romans 8:35-39 (NKJV)
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,
39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The only serious mistake that we can make when trouble comes is to look somewhere else for help. 

Every step that we walk, every breath that we take, we know that we are preserved by God, He is with us.  Knowing this we should remember that the Lord will guard us from every evil, he guards our very life.

How many times have we sung the words of Martin Luther’s song A Mighty Fortress:

And though this world, with devils filled,

      should threaten to undo us,

      we will not fear, for God hath willed

      his truth to triumph through us. 

      The Prince of Darkness grim,

      we tremble not for him;

      his rage we can endure,

      for lo, his doom is sure;

      one little word shall fell him.

Faith is not this chance escape from satanic assaults.

It is the solid, massive, secure experience of God, who keeps all evil from getting inside us.  He guards us always.  Coming, going, sitting, standing, awake or asleep.

Where does our help come from?  From the Lord.

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