Where do I go for help?
This is a question we will ask from the cradle to the grave. Life teaches us that we do not have all the answers to the questions that confront us. This is the question the people of Israel were asking.
Our text is Psalm 121. I have read this psalm hundreds of times to the people of my congregation when they were looking for answers to crushing problems. I only wish that I had some thoughts that came to us as we prayed and listened to what God was saying to us. Let’s walk through some glorious thoughts in this part of God’s Word.
“My help comes from the Lord.” Israel, in its weaker moments, lived as an independent spirit. Yet they were to be pitied, for they believed they didn’t need any help. However, when they were honest, Israel sang that their help came from the Lord, and He was the maker of heaven and earth.
Does this not also describe us? How often we feel self-sufficient. We believe we have the answers and the strength to deal with our problems. But then come those hours when we do not know where to turn. This is where I as their pastor helped them search the scriptures for answers.
One such time was when a child had gone astray. It was easy to get angry with him for bringing disgrace to the family. And then God spoke in his Word: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6). His parents had brought him to church and Sunday school where he was taught the Word of God. Now he was like the prodigal son described in Luke 19. Was it too much to believe that their son would return to the Savior?
The father then reasoned, “I never shared verbally with my son what Christ means to me, because I have no personal relationship with Him. I know about Him, but I do not know Him personally.”
It was a marvelous opportunity to help this dad with his own relationship to the Lord, for he was now experiencing how helpless he was to aid his son. I could share with this man, whose heart was now open to how he needed a personal relationship with Christ. It was also a thrill to tell him that once his own life was in order, he could share this relationship with his son. Although he should have done this years ago, according to God’s calendar, it is never too late.
This is just one example of how, as Christians, we need to adjust our focus from self to the Lord, who watches over us. He neither slumbers nor sleeps. Our cares and concerns are often more than we can carry. Why not take them to Him in prayer and then follow his Word?
Another verse from this Psalm is, “He will keep you from all evil.”
The temptations of life are great. We send our children out into a world that cares little about the Lord. Don’t you wonder some nights, as you lie in bed, where they are and how Satan has tempted them in this day? How easy it was to tuck them in bed as children and know where they were. We could provide them with a protective environment. That is no longer possible, nor should it be, for we are in this world, but not of this world. And we wonder how they can remain faithful to the Lord and enjoy the abundant life that God offers his children.
Well, God has given us a will that permits us to walk away from him. Yet he has also said that if we will let him, he will keep us from all evil. If we are focusing on our own strength, the day can be very frightening. However, we find great security in knowing that we do not have to walk alone.
We are aware that temptations come, not only to our children, but also to us for whom the end of this life draws near. God has not promised to spare us from all pain and suffering. We see that as our loved ones lie in hospitals and hospices awaiting death. However, they do not wait alone, for God has promised us grace to endure until the end of our earthly journey, and then a home in heaven. All this can be ours, because Christ has died for our sins and given us a promise that, if we trust him, all is well. We are in our Father’s hands. The doctors can do no more. They have prolonged our lives and made it possible for us to be free from pain. However, the time will come when we hear the words telling us that no more can be done. It is then that our Savior tells us, “I will keep you.” Then we need to adjust our focus from the human to the divine.
All this is ours in Jesus Christ.
Israel sang this psalm in their places of worship. Consequently we who live on this side of the cross can focus our eyes on Jesus and sing, “I come, I come.”