When your dreams fade and your journey becomes rough, where do you turn for help? What do you do when your confidence is shaken as you face the harsh realities of your life? By the end of this devotional, I hope you will have better answers to these questions.
The Book of Psalms is a much loved part of the Bible for many believers both children and adults. It is one of the 5 poetic books in the Old Testament along with Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon. Many of the Psalms resonate with the struggles, triumphs and failures of the common person. The series of 15 Psalms from chapters 120 to 134 are called the “Songs of Ascent”. They were sung by Hebrew pilgrims on their way up to Jerusalem or possibly while ascending Mount Zion or the steps of the Temple. They are also called Pilgrim Songs.
There was a textile mill and inside it there was this sign seen saying, "When your thread becomes tangled, call the foreman." A young woman was new on the job. Her thread became tangled and she thought, "I'll just straighten this out myself." She tried, but the situation only worsened. Finally she called the foreman. "I did the best I could," she said. "No you didn't. To do the best, you should have called me."
Benjamin Franklin once remarked “God helps those who help themselves” but what happens when our circumstances or problems go beyond our control? When our attempts to fix the mess by ourselves just worsens the problem like this woman working in the textile mill.
David when he wrote this Psalm was facing a difficult situation in his life. He had probably hit rock bottom and was in despair. He looks up and gazes at those mighty mountains ubiquitous in the countryside of Israel and wonders if his help will come from there.
Palestine is a hilly country. Mountains are mentioned frequently where the stories of the Bible take place. They have a logical religious symbolism for Jewish culture since they are “closer to God” who dwells in the heavens (as in the sky). The mountains of Sinai and Zion are most significant in Israel’s history.
But David doesn’t just look up at the mountains, he looks beyond the mountains to the Almighty God who created not only these mighty mountains but also the whole universe. We often get stuck in our religiosity. We just go through the motions. We read our Bible, do our prayers, attend Church on Sunday and maybe attend a Home group as routine rituals. But when trouble comes and we are shaken up, it is time to look beyond the mountains to the Creator God. We shouldn’t mistake the trees for the forest. All the other things we do so religiously are just means or disciplines to get closer to God. They were never meant to replace God. Pain and trouble is strangely good that way in the sense that it strips away the periphery and puts our life and faith in perspective. All that we used to depend upon earlier becomes utterly useless.
"Surely, the hills are a deception, A tumult on the mountains. Surely in the LORD our God Is the salvation of Israel.” - Jeremiah 3:23(NASB)
So let’s make it a point whenever we face a tough situation or problem, we lift our eyes beyond the peripheral things(they may be good things but they are not THE thing) to the one true God who is ready to help. Just like the Psalmist, we can boldly say “My help comes from the Lord”.