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I Lift My Eyes

January 30, 2012

“I lift my eyes to the hills.

Where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.”

Psalm 121:1-2 (NIV)

Charles Spurgeon commented on Psalm 121:1-2 in his Treasury of David (available online here)

Verse 1. I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. It is wise to look to the strong for strength. Dwellers in valleys are subject to many disorders for which there is no cure but a sojourn in the uplands, and it is well when they shake off their lethargy and resolve upon a climb. Down below they are the prey of marauders, and to escape from them the surest method is to fly to the strongholds upon the mountains.

Often before the actual ascent the sick and plundered people looked towards the hills and longed to be upon their summits. The holy man who here sings a choice sonnet [the Psalmist] looked away from the slanderers by whom he was tormented to the Lord who saw all from his high places, and was ready to pour down succour for his injured servant. Help comes to saints only from above, they look elsewhere in vain: let us lift up our eyes with hope, expectance, desire, and confidence.

Satan will endeavour to keep our eyes upon our sorrows that we may be disquieted and discouraged; be it ours firmly to resolve that we will look out and look up, for there is good cheer for the eyes, and they that lift up their eyes to the eternal hills shall soon have their hearts lifted up also.

The purposes of God; the divine attributes; the immutable promises; the covenant, ordered in all things and sure; the providence, predestination, and proved faithfulness of the Lord—these are the hills to which we must lift up our eyes, for from these our help must come. It is our resolve that we will not be bandaged and blindfolded, but will lift up our eyes….

Verse 2. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. What we need is help,—help powerful, efficient, constant: we need a very present help in trouble. What a mercy that we have it in our God. Our hope is in Jehovah, for our help comes from him. Help is on the road, and will not fail to reach us in due time, for he who sends it to us was never known to be too late….

*****

I am preaching to my own heart today. By God’s grace, quadriplegia has no power to intimidate me. Not so with FASD. Even before Barb’s post this morning, I knew her daughter was having a rough week and I thought of her as I sat with and sat out a little rage before church yesterday morning, which I admit I provoked by saying no to chocolate chips as breakfast –on purpose because I could see a storm was building  and I hoped to clear the atmosphere early rather than endanger our ability to go to church later. My brain made a leap from the little rage in from of me to what the neurologist said about the importance of stopping petit mal seizures (if Joy is having them): the little ones forge neural pathways for bigger ones in the future.

*****

It is said that when the first non-Native people approached the Rocky Mountains from the east, they expected to surmount the summit in front of them and see their goal, the Pacific Ocean, glimmering in the distance on the other side. Instead these easterners saw only saw range upon range of mountains stretching to the horizon.

Some days, the effects of prenatal exposure to alcohol  seem the same: the little rages of early childhood  only the first range of foothills of bigger, less surmountable mountains of neurological dysfunction stretching into our future.

But the rest of Psalm 121 is a promise beginning with verse 3, “He [God] will not let your foot slip. He who keeps you does not slumber.” It is not a slip, not a cosmic mistake, that we find ourselves on these hills. God does not sleep.

As Spurgeon’s commentary on Psalm 121:2 concludes:

Jehovah who created all things is equal to every emergency; heaven and earth are at the disposal of him who made them, therefore let us be very joyful in our infinite helper. He will sooner destroy heaven and earth than permit his people to be destroyed, and the perpetual hills themselves shall bow rather than he shall fail whose ways are everlasting.

We are bound to look beyond heaven and earth to him who made them both: it is vain to trust the creatures: it is wise to trust the Creator.

Selah.

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