By Judy Moyer
I really loved Pastor Rossow’s visual aide as he laid on the floor to help explain the geography of Jerusalem and the surrounding area. Although it was hard, at first, for me to pretend the north of Jerusalem was at the east part of the Sanctuary. Once I got past that it was a really good help to know how this psalm was a psalm of ascent. My vision had been a whole lot narrower. I thought it was just the ascent of the steps to the Temple but, now, I understand it to be a whole lot more. Isn’t that the way it is when studying the Bible, anyway? There is a whole lot more to it than just black ink on a white page.
On our pilgrimages, we too go through valleys of the shadow of death, through hills of disappointments, heart aches, trials and temptations, through the mountains of addictions, debts, entanglements, bad decisions… We have a pretty heavy pack of sin and guilt, sadness and worry, weighing heavy and getting heavier on our backs. It is so easy for us to keep our eyes focused down. It is so easy for us to focus on what we can do to move us forward through those hard times. It is so easy for us not to look up.
In my life when I had passed through the shadow of death to my marriage because of my partners addiction to alcohol, up the hill of disappointment in the failing of my marriage and my total lack of being able to bring it back by my own efforts, it was in the mountain of heartache that I looked up toward The Only One Who could help, that I finally received the help I needed. And when I followed the suggestions found in His Word our marriage was rescued from the ash heap and we now have a lasting testimony to God’s resurrecting power.
Psalm 121 offers us something better to put our eyes and minds upon, for The One who made everything is able to keep us, preserve us, deliver us, take off our back pack, to relieve us. When the going gets tough, God’s people look up. They look to the hills to see their Savior. They look to the mountain to see their future breaking into their present. The focus is turned upward instead of downward. The focus is turned to God instead of on us and what we can do. God has come to be a part of our everyday life and eventually to wipe away our every tear. That is what we look up to see.
Just when we’re about ready to give up on the journey, look up, see the Lord our Keeper is here to preserve us.