Where Are Your Eyes Looking?

1 I will lift up my eyes to the hills—from whence comes my help? 2 My help comes from the Lord , who made heaven and earth.

 —Psalm 121:1-2

We’ve been reading about the pilgrims approaching Jerusalem, and no matter which direction they may have been coming from, they’d have been able to see the hills of Jerusalem in the distance. Our psalmist reminds them to keep their eyes lifted to the hills. This is the same exhortation that we’ve seen over and over on our journey through the psalms: Keep our eyes on the end of the road and lift them above life’s circumstances. This isn’t to say that we go into a mindless state of oblivion, nor are we being told to just “believe” and “have faith” and we won’t get hurt or discouraged ever again.

The mention of lifting one’s eyes implies that sometimes we encounter seasons and events on the road where we need God to help us, because our eyes, our focus, and our attention are set on things lower than what He wants us to see. “It came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, ‘Are You for us or for our adversaries?’ So he said, ‘No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.’ And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, ‘What does my Lord say to His servant?’ Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, ‘Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.’ And Joshua did so” (Josh 5:13-15).

There’s a lesson in that for us. We, too, need to stop at times, lift our eyes from the moment and circumstance, and remember the holiness of the Lord. The fact that He is the Captain of our salvation means that He is in command and control of our lives. The psalmist lifts his eyes to the hills of Jerusalem, the city in which the Lord said His name will be perpetually (2 Chr 7:16), and remembers that his help comes from the Lord. Then he elevates his thoughts to contemplation of God’s omnipotence and adds that He is the Maker of heaven and earth.

Likewise, we, as people of faith in the true and living God, are pilgrims and strangers, heading for a city prepared for us by God himself. Like those in Hebrews 11, we will encounter hardship, trauma, and trial in our lives, so we need to heed the exhortation to lift our eyes to the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth, who is our help! We were all born defective, you know. We all came into this world with a sin nature, which is what separated us from God and destined us for a life of sin, leading to hell. Powerless to revert to what we had lost in the Garden of Eden, we, in our flesh, could never live a life that would grant us access to heaven, because the standard, sinless perfection, was too high. But God handled that obstacle through His Son on the Cross.

The Bible never says the Christian life is easy. It does say that it’s the difficult way. It’s goes against our culture, it brings tribulation and even persecution for righteousness’ sake, but look at Galatians 1: “Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (vv. 3-5).

Remember that God’s specialty is handling difficulty, and the fact that He has already handled your biggest problem tells us that all the others are miniscule by comparison. Sometimes it seems like He’s moving too slowly or doing things differently from what we think He should, but He’s better than we are, so, stop, lift your eyes, and remember: even though we may not be in the city whose Maker is God yet, we will be soon.

Excerpt from “Beside Still Waters” now available on Amazon.

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BARRY STAGNER

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