From Where Does My Help Come?
Thursday - August 13th Scripture to Read for Today's Devotional: Psalm 121:1-8
Today's Selection from our Sermon on the Mount Reading Plan: Matthew 7:1-12
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
As a kid growing up in the Greater South Bend Indiana area, all I knew in terms of topographical land was merely flat. Our family rarely took a vacation or trip outside the flatlands of the Midwest. On one occasion, we traveled to Aurora, Ohio, to visit SeaWorld (yes, there used to be one in Ohio). I am not sure where it was, but somewhere as we entered Ohio from Indiana, Troy and I saw some ridgeline ahead on the toll road and declared it a mountain. I've traveled that stretch of road hundreds of times since then, and I have no idea what we saw. That part of Ohio is as flat as, if not flatter than, our hometown of Mishawaka.
After I graduated High School, I headed off to West Virginia for college that fall. Now, the landscape of my life would be radically different. West Virginia has so many mountains and hills there are few flat areas to step back and observe them at a distance. You are always on some form of a mountain. Whether or not it is true, I have heard more than one person in West Virginia say that if you flattened the state, it would be larger than Texas. Not sure how true that is.
With my time in college, years I spent as an instructor on the staff of my alma mater there after grad school, and my time pastoring in the state capital, I have spent an equal number of years living in Indiana and West Virginia. Like the flatlands of my childhood seemed so comfortable and beautiful to me (and they still do), the mountains of West Virginia gave me a sense of security the more I lived there. In Indiana, tornadoes were common, and the land's topography did little to thwart their devastation. The mountains of West Virginia seemed to limit the extent tornadoes, and other stormy weather patterns could have on the state.
Once when Lesli and I were on vacation with a family that had grown up in West Virginia, some violent storms stirred up. We were not in a particularly hilly or mountainous location. The father of the family mentioned to me that when storms come, and he is away from home, he feels a lake of safety and security. For him, the hills and mountains provided a place to hide from danger. It made sense. After living in West Virginia for several years, I completely understood what he was saying. It made sense. I, too, had come to the point of feeling less than safe outside the mountain state.
When the Psalmist penned Psalm 121, he knew that same safety provided by the mountains and hills. Israel has both beautiful plains and incredible hills and mountains. Throughout its history, the nation of Israel has found refuge from danger by running to the mountains. As you read the history of God's people in the Old Testament, you get the clear picture that when invaders or trouble came their way, they headed for the safety of the mountains. So, Psalm 121 switches our focus from the hills that provide security to the God "Who made heaven and earth."
Whether or not you have found security and safety in the mountains, you can discover refuge and help in God. As you walk with Him as His child, He wants you to trust Him - to put your care now and your eternal destiny in His hands forever. Read Psalm 121 two or three times today. Let the hope of God's loving care and mighty power be the strong mountains to which you run! Let the idea of our help and our hope coming from God and God alone saturate every part of who you are.
When you get overwhelmed, lift up your eyes and focus on the God from Whom your help comes!