Psalm 121

Read: Psalm 121; Obadiah 21; Deuteronomy 28:13; Isaiah 52:7; Zechariah 4:7

Psalm 121 is the second of the Psalms of Ascent. It would probably be sung by pilgrims as they came into sight of the mountains of Jerusalem. One Jewish interpretation of the psalm  suggests it alludes to Israel’s deliverance by the Messiah.  The “mountains” of verse 1 can be understood symbolically as sources of help for Israel, such as military alliances or foreign monarchs.  The lesson of the psalm is that the only trustworthy “mountain” is the Messiah.

Think About It: Read 2 Chronicles 16:7 – 9 and Isaiah 36:6. What was God’s opinion of reliance upon foreign alliances? Were those alliances ever really very helpful? What temptations do I face that are comparable to the ancient temptation of seeking help from foreign alliances and monarchs? Who is my only reliable source of strength and help?

Prayer: Lord, I don’t know what to do, but my eyes are on You.

 

Read: Psalm 121; Genesis 22:2- 8; 2 Chronicles 3:1, 7:14; 1 Kings 8:43

As a pilgrim of ancient times sang Psalm 121, he looked in his mind’s eye past the mountains of Jerusalem to the Temple Mount, because there God, who dwells in heaven,  made His presence known on earth. Scripture has many “mountains” to which we may lift up our eyes and be reminded of God who hears and answers prayer. One such mountain is Mount Moriah, on which Solomon built the Temple, and which is also named in Scripture as the place where God provided the sacrifice in place of Isaac.

Think About It: What important theological truth was revealed in the disturbing incident with Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 22? Why was the Temple worship, with its bloody sacrifices, necessary (Hebrews 9:22)?

Prayer: Thank God for providing the sacrifice for sin.

 

Read: Exodus 19:1 – 3, 11;  Galatians 3:10- 25

Another mountain to which we may “lift up our eyes” and be reminded of God is Mount Sinai, where God met with Moses and gave the Law, which established God’s standard of righteousness. Closely related to Mount Sinai are two other mountains: Ebal and Gerizim, between which Israel stood and heard the Law read, being reminded of the blessing of obedience and the curse of disobedience (Joshua 8:33). Mount Eremos, believed to be the place where Christ delivered the Sermon on the Mount, thereby revealing  the “righteousness of the Kingdom, is a mountain that strongly underscores our need for spiritual rebirth and grace.

Think About It: According to Galatians 3:10 – 25, what important truth do we learn when we look to the Law (represented by Mount Sinai)? What is the function of the Law in my life as a Christian?

Prayer: Praise God for deliverance from the curse of the law.

 

Read: 1 Kings 18:20 – 40

Mount Carmel is another mountain to which we may “lift up our eyes” and learn that God is our helper.  On Mount Carmel Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal and demonstrated that the Lord’s power is real and that He alone is God.

Think About It: What did the people learn on Mount Carmel? Am I fully committed to God, or do I waver in my opinions and faith?

Prayer: For integrity in my faith and commitment to God.

 

Read: Matthew 27:33; Luke 23:33; 2 Corinthians 5:21; John 1:29

The ultimate mountain “from whence cometh our help” is Mount Calvary, or Golgotha. This is the mountain where Jesus was crucified; where the sinless One was made sin for us in order that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

Think About It: How does the truth revealed on Mount Calvary relate to what is revealed on the other mountains of Scripture?

Prayer: Praise God that “for me the Lamb was slain.”

 

Read: Acts 1:9 – 12; Zechariah 14:4

When we “lift up our eyes” to the Mount of Olives, we see the place from which Jesus ascended to heaven. This affirms the truth of His resurrection, and efficacy of His sacrificial death. The Mount of Olives is also the place to which He shall return, reminding us a day of reckoning is coming; it emphasizes the urgency of looking to Calvary for our help.

Think About It: Do I really believe Jesus is coming back? Am I ready?

Prayer: Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

 

Read: Psalm 121

The primary theme of Psalm 121 is that God is my keeper. The Hebrew word for “keep” or “guard” — shamar— is used six times in the psalm.

Think About It: According to v. 2, why is God able to help? According to vv. 3- 4, why can I count on His help? According to vv. 5 – 7, from what will God keep me? According to v. 8, where and for how long will He keep me?

Prayer: Praise God for His total, eternal guardianship and care.