When my youngest daughter was two, she received a cut on her cheek and needed stitches. As the doctor started to administer the medical care she needed, she looked at her mother and me with a pleading look. She wanted us to get her out of this rather strange and uncomfortable situation. When we are scared or in distress, we naturally look for someone who can help us.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from?Psalm 121:1
In Psalm 120, the poet is in a difficult situation. He is being attacked by “lying lips” and “deceitful tongues” (v. 2). Words are powerful. They can create hope and express joy. They can also cut and wound, creating strife and conflict. That is the scene here. While the Psalmist desires peace, his enemies lie to provoke war (v. 7). Lies and deception are difficult to combat. It is easy to feel helpless when we face opposition. What can be done?
Psalm 121 serves as a kind of response to the plight described in Psalm 120. The Psalmist declares, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth” (vv. 1–2). Psalms 120 and 121 are part of the “Psalms of Ascent” (120–134). This group of psalms was written for pilgrims making their way to one of the annual festivals at the Temple in Jerusalem. So, when the Psalmist says that he lifts his eyes to the mountains, he is thinking of Jerusalem. He is looking to the Lord. The psalm ends with a promise of protection. God cares deeply for His people, and He will protect them (vv. 5–8).
When we are in a tough situation, the Psalmist’s advice is powerful: “Lift up your eyes!” Look to God who created the universe and is able to meet our needs. There may be times when it is difficult for us to see how God is caring for us. But we can look to Him for help.
“My eyes fail, looking for your promise; I say, ‘When will you comfort me?’ Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke, I do not forget your decrees. How long must your servant wait?” (Ps. 119:82–84). Help us, as we wait, to trust in You.