Unto The Hills

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Psalms 121:1-8 (KJV) A Song of degrees. I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. [2] My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. [3] He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. [4] Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. [5] The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. [6] The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. [7] The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. [8] The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

I have noticed an epidemic of unexplained young deaths in the obituaries of our town Columbia over the last few years. I saw a few young babies pass away, and that is always sad. But I have seen a number of people in the 20-40 year range pass away “at home”. Some may have been cancer, but I suspect something else is at work.

My suspicions were rewarded when I came across an article from the Colson Center, a Christian ministry that produces the radio show “Breakpoint”. The article was called “The So Called ‘Deaths Of Despair’”. John Stonestreet reported that for the 3rd year in a row the Centers for Disease Control said that American life expectancy has dropped. What caused this? The last time our life expectancy dropped was back in the early 1900’s during World War 1 and the outbreak of the “Spanish Flu” pandemic. What caused the drop in life expectancy this time? Was it Cancer or some other disease for which we have no cure? No. It was ..

Drug Overdoses and Suicides

Breakpoint reported “In 2017, more than 70,000 Americans died from drug overdoses, and approximately 45,000 people intentionally took their own lives.” Researcher Anne Case stated “Your family life has fallen apart, you don’t know your kids anymore, all the things you expected when you started out your life just haven’t happened at all.” These deaths have been labeled “Deaths of Despair”. Why are people despairing? I believe it is because they are putting their faith in the wrong thing. They need the LORD.

Look To The Right Lighthouse

Psalms 121:1 … I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

I have heard “despair” defined as a type of sin.
Despair comes about because
we focus our faith on the wrong thing.

You can liken despair to the Captain navigating his ship by night. In the distance he sees what he thinks is the shine of the lighthouse and, believing what he sees is the light, he adjusts the ship’s course accordingly. When he hits rock and the ship begins to sink it is then that he realizes he was seeing a reflection of the moon on the water. What he thought was safe was not safe. He was focused on the wrong thing, and navigating lives based on error. Now the Captain and his crew are shipwrecked. Shipwreck is despair.

We all suffer.
The saved suffer and the unsaved suffer.
The moral and the immoral suffer.
The Christian and the atheist both suffer.

This world is a fallen place, a broken toy. Yet the Christian is called not to despair but to hope. We have a God Who loves us and a God Who has promised us exceedingly great promises.

Hebrews 6:17-19 (KJV)  Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:  [18]  That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:  [19]  Which HOPE WE HAVE AS AN ANCHOR OF THE SOUL, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;

The hope of the believer in Christ is sure and steadfast. It is this anchor that keeps us from becoming shipwrecked on the shores of life. Let me be plain – it is possible to be a Christian and fall into despair. But despair is counter-productive. When the Apostles were attacked for trying to share the Good News of the Gospel they did not despair. Paul said:

2 Corinthians 4:5-10 (KJV)  For WE PREACH NOT OURSELVES, BUT CHRIST JESUS THE LORD; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.  [6]  For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  [7]  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.  [8]  We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, BUT NOT IN DESPAIR;  [9]  Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;  [10]  Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

The Apostle did not despair for he believed that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Paul saw the harsh treatment that life gave him to be something under the hand of an All Mighty God. He saw the trials as things that were ultimately for the good of himself, and for the promotion of the Gospel. God is in control, and God has promised good to us. Paul said:

2 Corinthians 1:20 (KJV)  For all the promises of God in {Christ} are yea, and in {Christ} Amen, unto the glory of God by us.

The Apostle focused on Christ, on Him and not on the trials that came their way. Each trial, each bullying, each imprisonment or beating was for the glory of God and the good of the believer.

When Paul and Silas were called of God to go into Macedonia they immediately went. In . As they spread the Gospel the Bible tells us that the devil attacked, sending a demon possessed woman to hinder their ministry. The Scripture says:

Acts 16:18 (KJV) … Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.

What happened to Paul and Silas? “The magistrates laid many stripes upon them and cast them into prison” (Acts 16:23). Can you imagine these men, beaten with whips, locked away into a dark underground prison filled with rats and excrement? Listen to them. Do you hear them moan? Do you hear them driven to despair? No.

Psalms 121:1-2 … I WILL lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. [2] My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.

When you are in a bad spot focus your will on God. Say “I will” to God.

I will” occurs 1533 times in the Scripture

The very first “I will” in Scripture is found in the Garden of Eden:

Genesis 2:18 (KJV)  And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I WILL make him a help meet for him.

At the very beginning of Scripture God was lovingly concerned for those whom He made. What is the very last of the “I will’s” found in the Bible? We read:

Revelation 21:6 (KJV)  And {Jesus} said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I WILL give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

God made Heaven and Earth, and all that is in it.
But God’s loving concern is directed to US!
God loves us! Honestly He Does!
If God called the Apostles by an Angel to go to Macedonia,
Then it was His Love that sent them there.

Paul and Silas’ eyes and hearts are focused not on where they are, but on Christ and on our faithful God. They are in the inner prison, fastened by the feet to stocks (Acts 16:24), the place where only the greatest sinners are interred. The Apostle saw this not as a moment of despair, but as an opportunity to witness the glory of God in Christ.

Acts 16:25-31 (KJV)  And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.  [26]  And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.  [27]  And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.  [28]  But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. [29]  Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,  [30]  And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?  [31]  And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

Why did God allow Paul and Silas to be beaten and imprisoned? Because He wanted that Jailer to hear the Gospel. God wanted those hardened prisoners to hear the Gospel. Had the Apostles despaired they would have done nothing for God or His glory. Our God is faithful! Our God is in control! Our God has a plan, and bids us to all look unto Him.

When Darkness Comes Make Yourself Look Up

Psalms 121:1-3 (KJV) I will LIFT UP mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. [2] My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. [3] He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.

When you are in a deep valley and the darkness seems to be all about LOOK UP. Grab the Scripture, find His promises, and preach to yourself. Remind yourselves what God has said. That’s what David did. Listen to David as He preaches to himself:

Psalms 43:5 (KJV) … Why art thou cast down, O MY SOUL? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

David speaks to his soul. He has a conversation with himself, reminding himself that God is ever faithful. Bring to remembrance all the times that God was faithful, blessing your life. Look up! David did this quite a bit. Listen to his conversations with himself:

Psalms 16:1-2 (KJV) … Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.  [2]  O MY SOUL, thou hast said unto the LORD, Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee;

Psalms 25:1-2 (KJV) … Unto thee, O LORD, DO I LIFT UP MY SOUL.  [2]  O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me.

Psalms 42:5 (KJV)  Why art thou cast down, O MY SOUL? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.

Psalms 62:5 (KJV)  MY SOUL, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.

Psalms 103:1-4 (KJV) …. Bless the LORD, O MY SOUL: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.  [2]  Bless the LORD, O MY SOUL, and forget not all his benefits:  [3]  Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;  [4]  Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;

Psalms 104:1 (KJV)  Bless the LORD, O MY SOUL. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honor and majesty.

I could go on and on. Preach to yourself. Encourage yourself to look up to God, to remember all the good He has done in your life. If there is a valley, God knows all about it. Trust Him, and lean not on thy own understanding. Know that God loves you, dear Christian. Trust His love.

Psalms 121:2 My help cometh from the LORD…

The One Who loves you and wishes to bless you is the LORD – all capitals in the King James. The One Who helps His Children is the Great YAHWEH, the Great I AM. He is able to turn whatever circumstance we are in to be for our good.

Psalms 121:3-5 (KJV) … He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. [4] Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. [5] The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.

Our God is never far away from us. Has He not promised:

Hebrews 13:5 (KJV) … I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

And hasn’t Jesus promised:

Matthew 28:20 (KJV) … lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Our God does not get distracted. He watches over His Children. He never leaves us nor forsakes us. The Psalmist says that “He that keepeth Israel (His people) shall NEITHER slumber nor sleep”. The word “slumber” means “to daydream, to doze off”. The Lord never takes His eye off of His Child. He watches, and cares. When trials come God oversees that trial insuring that the Child grows through the test. We are told that We are His workmanship” (Ephesians 2:10). God is not a sloppy Carpenter. He watches over you! You belong to Him!

God Will Preserve His Children

Our God keeps us. He puts a hedge about us. He encircles us. God preserves His Children, those who have received Christ as Lord and Savior.

Psalms 121:7-8 (KJV) … The LORD shall PRESERVE thee from all evil: he shall PRESERVE thy soul. [8] The LORD shall PRESERVE thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

The word “Preserve” is the Hebrew שָׁמַר shamar, and it is used three times in our current focal text. Shamar means “to keep or stand guard over something treasured”. You are treasured, dear Christian – so love the Lord. The Lord promises His Children that He will stand guard over me …

1. Keeping me from all evil.

2. Keeping my soul, and

3. Keeping my body as I go about His business.

When I am in a valley I “Lift up my eyes unto the hills”. I remember that hill called Calvary. God paid the ultimate price for me on Calvary when His Son was crucified. Having paid that much for you and I, God will not abandon us now. We are His Treasure, and He is our Treasure. Blessed be the Name of the Lord!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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