Psalm 121 Authorized (KJV)
A Song of degrees.
1 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.
The Word of God for the Children of God. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.
A journey of a thousand miles will always begins when we take that first step.
However, who is it who has ever told you how big that first step had to be or by what sophistry of reason we should even contemplate why we want to journey the thousand miles in the first place. Is it not less risky just to stay in one place? I mean who is it who has ever been seriously injured by remaining a homebody? I mean too, who is it who will give that iron clad guarantee of “it will be okay?” We all need blessed assurance our journey of a thousand miles will be ‘worth it.’
What is the risk to our souls if we risk nothing to go anywhere else in the world? What is the risk to our hearts and our physical beings if we just decide to be that “stay at home” person? The risk is probably minimal to us because we do not in any fashion challenge our physical or spiritual selves – time will still march on. What hope is there beyond the hope which already exists, never changes in day to day drudgery? Is our hope only sourced from the day to day bubble we live in?
Risk nothing! Accomplish nothing! Place all of our hopes in allowing our status quo remain just that – OUR STATUS QUO! All of our hopes for the present time, our hopes for the future are defined and delineated quite nicely by Status Quo! By all means if you are content and happy with your status quo – “march on!” You have every right in the world to let your status quo define your whole life. I pray fervently that your status quo will provide you all the necessary comforts. The journey of a thousand miles remains that other guys hopeless adventure!
Why not try to just sort this thousand mile journey of hope or hopelessness out. Let us dare to contemplate taking that first step towards hope or hopelessness. It cannot hurt us that much to move one of our two feet forward even one inch. One foot in front of the other is a natural thing for us to do to move from point ‘A’ out to point ‘B.’ In our “static” status quo we do it all day, everyday anyway.
So, you are now reading these words and without moving an inch, you have now taken that very first step and have just started that journey of a thousand miles. Your status quo has just been interrupted for perhaps your first time in forever! Ask yourself now, since that miraculous moment when your journey began, did you stumble at all? Did you remain safely and securely upright on your two feet? Are you wheelchair bound? Need another assistive device to help you get around your home or elsewhere, it’s the same. You just risked moving yourself forward.
Well now, imagine that! Without even thinking twice about it, You took that 1st step toward you know not what and you did not stumble or fall flat on your face. Hope has just been conceived within you. One Hope is now being given a chance to grow and mature within you – as an embryo grows within its mothers womb! How about that, new life, a new status quo has begun to take shape within you! And you personally expended little to no energy in the effort – maybe 1 calorie?
What is this new life? What is this new and emerging “status quo” growing in your inward parts (Psalm 139:13-18) and who put it there without your input?
What exactly is this new life, this new and emerging status quo called? HOPE! And I personally hope and pray this devotion will increase your understanding of a genuinely great principle of the Christian faith: “God IS our only hope!”
The first thing we have to do is to answer the question, “WHAT IS HOPE?”
One answer to this question is “hope” is our desire for a future significantly or even marginally or minimally better than our own present one. Its object, just like faith, is our moving ourselves forward, towards something yet unseen. It is different than expectation, because an expectation lacks that element of desire.
Try to frame HOPE as a progression of events which begins with our first vision, an observation of the ground we are walking on. Our very first “untrained” look at the ground we might observe a tiny ant hill with the ants moving in and out to find and then return carrying food to nourish their Queen. (Proverbs 6:6-9) What little you see of the ant hill on the surface, is significant under the ground. In other words there’s infinitely more to HOPE than what we see on the surface.
Now as the Psalmist did in Psalm 121:1 “1 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.” Lift up your eyes from the tiny, barely visible anthill, upward towards the hills somewhere off in the distance but getting Oh so much closer with every step you take. Fixate both of your eyes upon those far distant hills observing how much bigger they get the more steps forward taken, how much taller they seem to become the closer your steps move to get to them. Then you arrive at the base of the hills to look up feeling gratified “I made it!”
Now look to the further distant mountains echelons beyond the hills. You have made it from the ant hill, to the hills, and now the mountains beyond beckon to you: “Come unto me! You made it this far! You have conquered the worst of it!” An invitation to further cast away our old stale and all too worldly “status quo,” invitation to discover the truth of our Christian faith: “God IS our only hope!”
Isaiah 2:1-5 AKJV
2 And it shall come to pass in the last days,
that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established
in the top of the mountains,
and shall be exalted above the hills;
and all nations shall flow unto it.
3 And many people shall go and say,
Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob;
and he will teach us of his ways,
and we will walk in his paths:
for out of Zion shall go forth the law,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
4 And he shall judge among the nations,
and shall rebuke many people:
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruninghooks:
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.
5 O house of Jacob, come ye,
and let us walk in the light of the Lord.
I have never been to the mountains and hills of Israel. I know not what they physically look like so I cannot fully conceptualize climbing them like these Israelites did and continue to do everyday of their lives. It helps me to frame these first steps taken in my grinding and winding personal thousand mile journey towards God’s HOPE: a “once in a lifetime” Mountain Top Experience.
Every continent on earth has mountains. Some are cold, rugged, and too, very difficult to climb. Others are favorite vacation spots. Still others are sources of water, timber, and other natural resources. Those of us who live within view of a mountain range are reminded daily of God’s greatness and our smallness.
Psalm 121 asks us to consider that same contrast.
Setting out for their long trips to Jerusalem for a festival, pilgrims often sang this song to remind each other of the dangers of the journey ahead and of the assurances of God’s protection. God is greater than any so-called god of the hills or mountains—the Lord God is earth’s Creator. God is more powerful than any force of the sun or moon—the Lord created them too. The false gods of other nations might have had to take “cat naps” during their days, vacations to refresh themselves, but not Lord God Almighty, who never slumbers or sleeps.
Whenever we set off on a journey—whether it is a trip of hundreds of miles or only a few steps—we can remind ourselves, as those pilgrims did, that we travel with God. We need not fear the dangers of the road or threats from others; every step of our way towards God’s Mountain is seen by God, who watches over us.
Our God, the Creator of earth’s highest mountains and deepest valleys—and everything in between—is also the protector of ALL the HOPE of our small lives.
In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Let us take the 1st step;
Thank you Lord, that you are my hope and my future. Thank you for the truth of this Bible verse, that my help and my hope comes only from you. Thank you Father, that you are always there. I lift my eyes up to you. I thank you that I can turn to you at any moment. Today Lord, I bring you all of my situations. Where does my help come from? It comes from you – the maker of heaven and earth!
Please guide me as I take each step of faith towards you, as I work with the people whom you have brought across my path today. Help me to respond in a way that reflects my hope and trust in you. In all my difficult stuff today, Lord, please help me. Give me wisdom and understanding for each situation. I trust you Lord, to be with me through each and every moment of my day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.