Where Does Your Help Come From?
When you are in trouble, when you are suffering, when things are going from bad to worse, where do you turn?
Where do you go for comfort and strength? How do you pursue happiness?
The writer of Psalm 121 asked this same question.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from? Psalm 121:1
As he looked up to the hillsides and mountaintops, the writer saw where many of his fellow Israelites were seeking help. Those hillsides and mountaintops, the “high places,” were filled with temples and places of idol worship. When life became difficult and they encountered problems and difficulties, they sought the help of these false gods.
It had not always been this way. God had chosen the people of Israel as His own. He had heard their cries as they suffered as slaves in Egypt, and He miraculously saved them and brought them out of Egypt into a land of their own, a land “flowing with milk and honey,” a land full of every good thing from the hand of God.
But it was not long before Israel began to fall away, to adopt the practices of the pagan nations that surrounded them. The hillsides and mountaintops of the Promised Land soon became places of idol worship, places where the Israelites would seek the help of false gods rather than the God who had saved them out of Egypt.
Why would they do this? Why did the people turn away from the God who had saved them, and begin to worship these false gods? Simply because they believed these gods could provide the things that would make them happy. They believed these gods could protect them from their enemies, increase their flocks and provide bountiful harvests. They believed these gods could give them what they wanted.
This leads to the question – what do you want? What is it that you value in life? What are you pursuing (worshiping?) because you think it will make you happy?
It is so important that we ask ourselves this question on a regular basis, because idol worship, the pursuit of happiness outside of God, is the battle we face every day.
The consequences are enormous. For the nation of Israel, their rejection of God in the pursuit of their own happiness resulted in famine and disease, in constant attacks from outside enemies, and ultimately in total defeat and a return to slavery. This is the natural (but always unexpected) result of seeking happiness outside of God.
So today, lift up your eyes. Look around you at your country, your community, your culture. Look at your home and your family. How are you pursuing happiness? Where does your help come from?
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