Psalms 121:1-2 I lift up my eyes to the hills-- where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
As my friend Bill would say, I am noodling about something. I have assumed that the Psalmist is saying that in times of trouble he looks to the hills of Mt Zion, Jerusalem, or someplace that metaphorically stands for God’s presence. But Dr Eugene Peterson reminds us that at this particular time in Palestine a Hebrew would look up to the hills and would see brokenness and idolatry. Jeremiah 2:20 and Ezekiel 6:13 affirm this thought. The hills were overrun with Pagan worship.“Sacred” prostitutes filled the shrines that were setup along the hillsides. The “worshiper” was offered pleasure, protection and promises of fertile land. What else can one ask for?
Is it any different now? We seek pleasure. We want protection from harm. We want our business to succeed. We need good crops. But the hills have nothing to offer but more brokenness and empty promises. The supply of sex slaves did and still does exist because the demand exists. Cut off the demand and you free the supply. What pleasures do we seek that keeps people enslaved? Is it illicit sex, pornography, illegal drugs, power, or is just cheap goods and services? We turn to these things because we think they will deliver us from our pain, loneliness and dissatisfaction. The hills lie. Surely the idolatrous commotion on the hills and mountains is a deception; surely in the LORD our God is the salvation of Israel. (Jeremiah 3:23)
The Psalmist looks to these hills and asks, “where does my help come from?” It certainly doesn’t come from these hills. These hills bring only death. The Psalmist moves his fixation away from the created and onto the creator and declares. “My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” God is our provider, protector and our source of pleasure. “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalms 16:11 )
In Isaiah 17:7-8 we are told, “In that day men will look to their Maker and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel. They will not look to the altars, the work of their hands, and they will have no regard for the Asherah poles and the incense altars their fingers have made.”
Where does your help come from?