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Bible Search
"My Help Comes from the Lord" - Psalm 121
Rightly Dividing the Word
“My Help Comes from the Lord”
Psalm 121
 
 
Up until now, all of our “Rightly Dividing the Word” studies have come from the New Testament.  Hopefully we have a better understanding of what the Bible means when it says, “don’t judge”, and the instruction to “ask, seek and knock”. 
 
We’ve discovered “where two or three are gathered” has to do with church discipline and the church taking action, “that eye has not seen nor ear heard neither has entered into the heart of man” has nothing to do with heaven, but is a reference to those who are not spiritual and their lack of understanding of spiritual things”, and that “repent and be baptized” is not saying that baptism is essential for salvation. 
 
Tonight I want to move over to the Old Testament and look at
 
Psalm 121. 
 
We don't know who wrote these words, but whoever it was - was definitely an optimist.  I heard about an optimist that was talking to a pessimist and he said, ''Isn't this a beautiful sunny day?'' The pessimist said, ''Well, it may be, but if this heat spell doesn't stop very soon, all the grass is going to burn up.''
 
Two days later the optimist said to the pessimist, ''Isn't this rain wonderful?'' The pessimist said, ''Well, if it doesn't stop raining soon, my garden is going to wash away.''
The next day the optimist invited the pessimist to go duck hunting. The optimist had just bought this new registered hunting dog and he said, ''I want you to keep your eye on this dog. He can do things no other dog can do.'' The pessimist looked at the dog and said, ''Well, he looks just like a stupid dog to me.''
 
At that moment a flock of ducks flew over. The optimist shot one of the ducks and it fell into the very middle of the lake. He snapped his fingers and his new dog ran after the duck. Amazingly, the dog ran out on top of the water, picked up the duck and ran back on top of the water. The optimist took the duck from the dog's mouth and turned to the pessimist and said, ''What do you think of my dog now?'' The pessimist said, ''I told you he was a stupid dog. He can't even swim.''
 
Now what we have in Psalm 121 is a very optimistic response to life.  It is one of those psalms of ascent.  You will remember we learned recently these were psalms that would be sung by the Israelites as they ascended up to the Holy City of God for Hly Days and Festivals. 
 
In this particular psalm, we are given three stanzas that carry a message and a response for any possible situation in which you find yourself.  In that regard, this psalm could be sung any day of your life.   
 
If you are feeling helpless and need help or you are feeling hopeless and need hope, we find in this psalm three pillars upon which we can build the foundation of our life that will stand against any storm.
 
The first thing the psalm says is
 
1. When I am in Need, the Lord is My Provider
 
Verses 1-2
 
Now immediately, in verse 1 we find that misquoted part.  If you are using the old KJV, you will notice it says, “I will lift up my eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.” Period. But the period doesn’t belong there.  If anywhere, the period belongs after “hills” as the psalmist declares the error of his ways.  He looked to the hills, but didn’t find any help there. 
Then he asks this question: “From whence comes my help?” Obviously, it comes from the Lord.
 
It seems to me the psalmist had done what all of us tend to do when we are in trouble; he looked every place but the right place. He had tried everything but the right thing. He had asked every person but the right person. He had found every avenue a dead-end street.
 
And he had been unable to locate any sufficient help.  I like the way Peterson handles this verse in The Message.  Verses 1 and 2 read like this:
 
 “I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from GOD, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.” (Psalms 121:1-2; MSG)
 
One thing that is common to every person and every institution on earth is that we have problems. The home faces problems. The church has problems. Our government has problems. Our nation has deep problems. And I am convinced too often that we are looking to all the wrong places for the solutions to the problems. 
Listen: when you’ve got problems, you don’t need to look to the hills.  You need to look to the Lord.   
 
But think about how we always tend to look any and everywhere EXCEPT the Lord. We think if we have a great economy it will solve all of our problems, but it won't. If we can put a conservative President and a conservative Congress in office we will solve all of our problems, but it won't. Too often the reason why people never solve their problems is because they look to the wrong place for solutions.
 
Listen again to verse 2
 
Can you imagine anyone you had rather have as your helper than the God who created this universe? Think about a God that is higher than the hills, mightier than the mountains, above all the armies and greater than all the generals.
 
So why is it that the psalmist refers to the God who created everything? I think it is because the God who created everything controls everything and the God who controls everything can help you no matter what your need might be.
 
I love what the Prophet Jeremiah said about God in
 
Jeremiah 32:17.
 
Never forget that the God who created this world and controls this world can do anything in this world, through this world, for this world or with this world that He chooses to do.  ''But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.'' (Psalm 115:3, NASB)
 
Whether it is a time of trouble or tragedy God is your hope. If we would only realize how powerful our mighty God is we would understand that when God is the only help we have He is the only help we need.
 
The next time you are in need would you just think about just one single bolt of lightning? You say, ''Why would you think about that?'' The lightning flash you see bolting across the horizon is caused by that lightening heating the air molecules in its path to 30,000 degrees Celsius; five times the temperature of the sun's surface. That bolt is only 2 inches wide. You can only see it for 300 millionths of a second, but there can be up to 40 strokes in that same channel of lightning.
 
Think about the power of that one lightning bolt. It may have up to one billion volts and a thousand kilowatts of power. Normal house current is either 110 or 220 volts and the amount of power used by one household is about 1000 kilowatts per month.
 
In other words, if we could harness the power of a lightning bolt, we could supply power to one billion homes for one month. When you add to that the fact that approximately 2000 thunderstorms are happening around the world at any one time and a typical storm has one to three lightning flashes every minute, you are talking about some kind of power! The God that I am talking about, that can help you, controls all of that power.
 
That is why the psalmist has such confidence, as we see in
 
verse 3a
 
That is - God will not allow you to fall flat on your face. God will meet every need that you have. One of the greatest promises in the Bible is
 
Proverbs 3:25-26.
 
When you stand for God, you can stand against anything.  If you really believe that, it ought to bring peace into your heart.
 
Listen to what we read in verses 3b and 4.
 
Think about that. There is not a parent on earth that can watch their children twenty-four hours a day and even parents have to sleep, but God never does.
 
Do you know what that means? God is on watch 24/7, fifty-two weeks a year, one hundred years every century, ten centuries every millennium. Do you know the reason why you should be able to go to sleep at night no matter how deep your need may be? God doesn't sleep.
 
Back in the days of World War II, when the Germans were bombing London all night every night, there was a particularly devastating bombing on a certain city and the citizens began to search among the ruins for the dead, the dying and the missing. There was a godly old grandmother they couldn't find and they looked everywhere for her and someone finally found her soundly asleep in her little bedroom.
 
They came in and said, “Mrs. Smith, how on earth could you sleep with all that bombing going on?'' She said, ''Well, it says in the Bible that, 'He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.'
 
So I figured there was no need for both of us to stay up all night so I went to bed.”
 
That is the kind of spirit we ought to have knowing that the Lord is our provider.
 
2. When I am in Trouble, the Lord is my Protector
 
Verse 5a
 
By the way, the word “keep” is used six different times in this psalm. It literally means “to protect” or “to guard.” Listen to how God guards us.
 
Psalm 121:5b
 
We are told specifically that the Lord is “our shade on our right hand.” So why the right hand?
 
In ancient days, a solider had two primary weapons: a shield and a sword. His most valued weapon was the shield, because that was his only defense and the shield was always held in the left hand which means the most vulnerable part of a soldier was his right side.
 
That is exactly where God always stands in our lives; at our most vulnerable point. The Lord always puts His strength at our greatest point of weakness. He takes up a position so He can defend us no matter where an attack may come from. You may not see it, but God is a shield to us every time we walk outside of our door.
 
Psalm 18:30 says,
''He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.'' (Psalm 18:30 NASB)
 
There is another reason why God is called “the shade in our right hand” and this time the emphasis is on the “shade”.  
 
verse 6
 
The reason why He refers to the sun is because the sun gives off heat. Sometimes we have to face heat in our life. It sometimes gets hot in the kitchen of life. And yet, God never allows you to get to a point in the kitchen of life where you can't take the heat, because God is our shade. He protects us from the burning heat and the blinding light of every fiery trial that comes our way.
 
The reason why He mentions both the sun and the moon is simply that both at daytime and dark, God protects us. In the bright light of the sun and the night light of the moon, the Lord is our shade and our shield that protects us from heat and hurt. God takes care of His children.
 
Paul Harvey tells one of the most remarkably fascinating true stories I've ever heard in my life. It goes back again to World War II. There was a B-29 that took off from the Island of Guam for Kokura, Japan on a bombing mission. When it got to its primary target, it circled above a gigantic cloud that covered that target for half an hour, then three-fourths of an hour and then fifty-five minutes until the gas supply began to dwindle to a dangerous point.
 
They didn't want to pass up the primary target, but they felt they had no choice, so with one more look back, they decided to look for their secondary target where they unleashed their terrible bomb.
Weeks later an officer received information from military intelligence that sent chill bumps down his spine. Thousands of Allied Prisoners of War, the biggest concentration of American's in enemy hands had been moved to Kokura a week before the suspended bombing.
 
That city which they were to bomb was the prison camp and had they bombed it, thousands of Americans would have died except for that single solitary cloud that shaded both the sun and the plane from its target.
 
What is even more fascinating is this - the secondary target that day was Nagasaki and the bomb was the world's second atomic bomb.
 
You understand and I understand that Satan and this world seek to drop their fiery bombs of doubt, discouragement, depression, despair and disappointment on you and me every day, but God is our shade and our shield and we are promised His protection.
 
3. When I am in Temptation, the Lord is My Preserver
 
Let's face it, we all face temptation of some sort. We are all tempted to not do what we ought to do and to do what we ought not to do.
 
That is why we read in verses 7 and 8,
 
The word preserve” is the same word that is translated “keep” in other parts of this psalm.  It can also mean “protect.”  The Lord “preserves us”. Verse 7 tells us that, “He preserves us from all evil.”
The word “evil” here in the Hebrew Language does not refer to evil that is done to us, it refers to evil that is “done by us”. God promises that if we will follow Him, love Him, serve Him and obey Him, He not only will not lead us into temptation, but He will deliver us from evil.
 
That is exactly what Jesus told us to pray for in the Lord's Prayer. You remember what He said, “Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil.” I've got wonderful news for you. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, there is not a sin on this planet that can defeat you, if you are determined not to let it in the power of God.
 
God not only preserves us from evil; He preserves us for eternity as we see again in
 
verse 8
 
Listen:  to believe you can lose your salvation is to deny this verse of Scripture.  It couldn’t be more plain! “From your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever” God will guard you. Going out and coming in, God guards you, at every place and from this time forth and forever guards you for all time.
 
May I give you some of the best news you will ever hear in your life? Even when you are not faithful to God, God is always faithful to you. I heard about a college student that was talking to the star of the football team and he said, ''How are you and your girlfriend doing?'' The guy said, ''We are doing terrible. She told me last night she was going to be faithful to the end.'' He said, ''What's wrong with that?'' He said, ''I'm the quarterback!''
I want to tell you that our God will not only be faithful to the end; He will be faithful beyond the end. When you feel like you are at the end of your rope and you've come to a dead-end in the journey of life and you feel like your enemy is going to win whether your enemy is disease, disappointment or discouragement you just remember who your God is and what your God can do.
 
There was a Christian in Africa by the name of Frederick Nolan. He was being pursued by some people of another religion because of his stand on the Gospel. He was fleeing from his enemies and they pursued him over hill and valley. He could find no place to hide and soon fell exhausted into a cave expecting his enemies to find him at any moment.
 
 While he was lying there waiting for his certain death he saw a spider weaving a web. Within minutes, that little spider had woven a beautiful web around the mouth of that cave. The pursuers arrived and wondered if Nolan was hiding there, but when they saw the unbroken and un-mangled spider's web they thought it was impossible for him to have entered that cave without dismantling the web, so they kept going.
 
Realizing he had escaped certain death, Nolan wrote down these words: “Where God is, a spider's web is like a wall; Where God is not a wall is like a spider's web.”
 
Let me tell you something. When “friends” abandon you just remember that God is your provider. When enemies begin to attack you just remember that God is your protector. When the devil is trying to take you down just remember that God is your preserver and you don’t need to look anywhere else for help.
 
Let’s pray.
 
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