“I look up to the mountains –
does my help come from there?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth!”
Psalms 121:1-2 NLT
Psalm 121 was my father’s favourite. As a Scotsman, he was used to the Scottish hills and munroes, though more from a visual perspective than anything strenuous. But he lived for most of his life in the South of England, in the balmier and flatter county of Hampshire. He often wistfully expressed a desire for hills, “to lean on” as he put it.
The Bible is full of references to mountains and hills. Jerusalem is built on one and we read in Psalm 2 that Jesus will rule from there one day, from His holy mountain. Often people in Biblical days fled to the hills, where they expected to find safety. There is something comforting about hills. But the Psalmist contrasts help coming from mountains with help coming from the Lord. We read in the preamble to this Psalm that it was sung by pilgrims climbing the roads and paths towards Jerusalem, so perhaps the Psalmist was thinking about where the true source of safety and security was, and he wrote down his thoughts. Thoughts full of references to how God looks after us. He brings out thoughts that God continually watches over us, day and night. He is our Protection, keeping us from harm. The Psalm ends with the verse, “The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.” This has to be one of the most reassuring passages of Scripture that the Bible contains.
But what about us today, living a long time after the Bible was written. Do we look to the physical world around us, to our government, to our finances and possessions, or to God for our security and protection? Would we still be trusting God if all but He was removed from us? We hope that we will never have to find this out, but many people in the world today have nothing else but their trust in God. For example, Christians in the Middle East are being persecuted to the extent of having to flee from their homes to find refuge where they can; all because of their faith. But they know God is watching over them and that sustains them through times of almost unbearable difficulty. In our own lives there is plenty that we could be fearful of. Particularly in these Covid times there are many who are almost paralysed with fear of illness. Add into the fear-inducing mix energy prices, inflation, illness, family problems and so on, and we have a cocktail of challenges to make even those most robust of people want to “head for the hills”. But there is no remedy there. The only answer to our future is our trust in God. Only He can sustain us, support us, and keep us safe.
We don’t know what the future holds but we do know the One who holds the future. That’s enough for me.