As a 90s youth group kid, I spent a lot of years singing songs that haven’t aged particularly well.
There is the line in “Knowing You” that tells God “you’re the BEST,” like he’s a super good mailman or something. There are the dorky motions to “Lord, I Lift Your Name on High.” There is the overwrought chorus to “All Who are Thirsty.” (All together now! “Commmmme, Lord Jesus, commmmme…” Aaaand repeat that 3,498,501 times…)
Don’t even get me started on “Shine, Jesus, Shine.”
One of my favorites was always “Psalm 121,” which was simply that ancient Psalm of ascents set to music. I remember sitting next to the boy I had a crazy crush on and trying out my sweetest soprano as I sang, “I lift my eyes up… to the mountains… where does my help come from?”
It’s a clear and beautiful image, raising one’s eyes to the mountains to search for help. It’s all about looking for God in nature, right?
Psalm 121 continues:
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.
Not that we can’t find God in nature, but in the days when this Psalm was being written, Israel was overrun with worship shrines to pagan gods. Where were these shrines built? You guessed it. On the mountaintops.
When an ancient Israelite looked up to the mountains he or she would see tributes to gods other than the one true God. A reminder of all those who looked for salvation from idols of wood and stone.
Changes the meaning of this Psalm, doesn’t it?
It’s like saying, “I lift my eyes to my 401k–where does my help come from?”
“I lift my eyes to my education–where does my help come from?”
“I lift my eyes to my own skills–where does my help come from?”
Other gods can’t save us. The idols we craft out of our own wisdom, money, and strength can’t save us. The mountains–beautiful as they are–can’t save us.
Where does my help come from?
Only the Lord.
Where do you look for help?