Where does your help come from?
I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD is your keeper;
the LORD is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
8 The LORD will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore. Psalm 121
Over the last few months when all the routines and structures that gave us confidence have been removed. When the tectonic plates of life that gave us stability have given way beneath our feet where have you turned for ultimate help? Where does your help come from? It’s a good question isn’t it? Maybe you were very confident about your answer? Perhaps you could recite the answer to the first question of the Heidelberg Catechism:
Q1. What is your only comfort in life and death?
That I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—
to my faithful Saviour, Jesus Christ.
He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,
and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.
He also watches over me in such a way
that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven;
in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.
Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life
and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.
You could confidently recite these beautiful truths when things were OK but when things began to fall apart it sounded a bit hollow. The Lord by his grace shook the sandy foundations of areas of your life and some of the walls came tumbling down. As one of my lecturers used to say, “You don’t believe what you think you believe, you believe what you think.” You saw that your help was often in your bank account or job security. Perhaps it was your health or your looks (Now no one can see how good looking you are with a face mask on. Sorry all you beautiful people!)
Maybe family was your idol. You had a certain view of your spouse but under lockdown, under the pressure cooker of 24/7 interaction, the perfect portrait you had of your husband or wife started to look a little faded, or a lot. Irritability with the children crept in, anger at the government, impatience with conspiracy theorists or those who reject your theory (Personally, I think Zoom invented Covid 19! Just kidding).
You see, what you view as your ultimate Helper is what you worship.The author David Foster Wallace said the following:
Everybody worships…If you worship money or things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough…Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you…Worship power and you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need even more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is…they’re unconscious. They are default settings.
Sound sadly familiar? Maybe your confidence was in the church community. Did you know that you could make an idol out of church? We are commanded to be in community if we are able but church isn’t our ultimate help. The Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8 didn’t go home to a nice New Testament church. A Christian kidnapped by Al Shabab isn’t free to gather on Sunday with the Lord’s people. A missionary to an unreached people group doesn’t have a local church family. Does that mean they have no help? Of course not. What does the psalmist say, my help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
Notice that the author focuses on God as creator, a good thing to do, in fact in Revelation 4:11 the elders sing these words:
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honour and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.”
It is good and right to meditate on God’s creative power but there is something even better. In the next chapter of Revelation we are told that they sing a new song with the following lyrics:
“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.” – Rev 5:9-10
Since Christ accomplished His work of redemption the music in Glory has changed. The focus is not so much on God as Creator but on Christ as Redeemer. So where does your help come from? I hope you can say, after everything else is stripped away:
My help comes from the LORD,
Who ransomed me for Himself.