In a long period of trials, uncertainty, fear, and upheaval, we may begin to ask this question. Even as committed and mature Christians, we may ask – Where Does My Help Come From?
We ask that question because we have prayed, held up our faith, prayed more, and done all that we know to do and things have not changed. For some, they have gotten worse. In addition to our own questions, we’re hearing the questions of others and the comments of those who do not believe as we do.
It’s not a sin or failure to ask the question. It doesn’t mean you are weak or backslidden. It just means you’re seeking God for understanding.
Long before you or I lived, David asked the question in Psalm 121. David knew where to go to find help and hope. The Psalms document the trials, temptations, and failures of King David – the man after God’s own heart. God did not berate him for asking. Instead, God answered David’s questions then, just as He does now for us.
Throughout life, everyone goes through times of questioning – asking why and how, wondering what could we could have done better, and asking, where does my help come from?. In Psalm 121, David asks the question and answers it. He also tells us what God is doing for us. He gives us keys to help us get through these times in peace, with hope, and with victory.
We will look at the 8 verses that make up this short but powerful Psalm. As always, we will see the honesty of David combined with his overcoming faith and trust in God, no matter what.
David didn’t live a trouble-free life. Members of his own family tried to kill him. He had to hide in caves running for his life from King Saul. He spent years in the wilderness, He sinned and found forgiveness and his family was a mess. Yet, David was loved by God even as he asked this question – Where does my help come from?
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” Psalm 121:1-2 NIV (entire Psalm)
I Lift Up My Eyes to The Hills
David is looking to the hills – looking up. As a boy, he spent his time alone in the hills protecting and tending his father’s sheep, and the lessons of nature fill his writing demonstrating his relationship with his God.
This first verse gives us the most important key to David’s faith as well as ours. He’s looking outside himself to find help, hope, and faith. When troubles surround us, they also try to draw our physical and spiritual eyes or attention. They may appear to be overwhelming as they attempt to block the light and blind us.
David endured great trials but, here he is, lifting his eyes. Hills or mountains carry great symbolism in the Bible and are mentioned over 500 times. They signify a place of worship, power, higher spirituality, a place where God resides, and more. Asking the question, where does my help come from? – as we look above the world into the kingdom of God.
When Moses went up the mountain, God’s presence was there appearing as fire. Jesus took the disciples to a mountaintop for them to witness His transfiguration. Mountains represent a place where we find God. So David looks upward, and asks – where does my help come from?
My Help Comes From the Lord
As David turns his eyes toward the mountains, he states that his help comes from the Lord, not the mountains. We must do the same – turn our focus toward God for all that we need. The Hebrew word used for ‘eyes’ in this passage also signifies “mental and spiritual faculties” according to BibleHub/Strong’s concordance.
It is turning our entire being toward God and away from the world and its troubles. The word ‘help’ means help or helper. The mountains might be where God resided or what represented His presence, but the helper was God, the creator of the mountains.
“He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep..” Psalm 121:3-4 NIV
God Holds Us Securely
God holds us securely as long as we stand in Him. It is when we move into our own strength that we may stumble or fall. But, because we can’t see Him, we forget or think that perhaps He has forgotten or gone to sleep! Yet, we know what the Word says – He never slumbers (gets drowsy) or sleeps. When it comes to His children, He is always aware, watching, and ready to protect just as we are with our own children. That means that even when we ask, where does my help come from? – He answers!
He will not your foot slip. It may look or feel as if you are ready to fall, but, if you keep your eyes turned to Him, He will keep your feet secure. There will be no “a shaking, wavering, pole, bar of yoke 1a) a shaking, tottering.” He doesn’t fall asleep when the storm seems to undermine your footing. In fact, He never stops watching over you.
“The Lord watches over you—he Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night..” Psalm 121:5-6 NIV
Other translations say the Lord will ‘keep’ and is your ‘keeper,’ The definition of ‘keeper’ is long but describes multiple aspect of what it means to be a ‘keeper’ of another person.
“to keep, guard, observe, give heed 1a) (Qal) 1a1) to keep, have charge of 1a2) to keep, guard, keep watch and ward, protect, save life 1a2a) watch, watchman (participle) 1a3) to watch for, wait for 1a4) to watch, observe 1a5) to keep, retain, treasure up (in memory) 1a6) to keep (within bounds), restrain 1a7) to observe, celebrate, keep (sabbath or covenant or commands), perform (vow) 1a8) to keep, preserve, protect 1a9) to keep, reserve 1b) (Niphal) 1b1) to be on one’s guard, take heed, take care, beware 1b2) to keep oneself, refrain, abstain 1b3) to be kept, be guarded 1c) (Piel) to keep, pay heed 1d) (Hithpael) to keep oneself from.” Strong’s Concordance
- Give heed
- Have charge of
- Save life
- Watch, watchman, watch for
- Wait for to watch, observe
- To be one’s guard
- Take care
- To keep oneself, restrain, abstain
God is The Watchman
God does all of those things for us. He is constantly ready to be our watchman. He makes sure that even the sun and moon are under His control and bring destruction or harm to us. Where does my help come from? From the God who controls the cosmos.
“The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” Psalm 121:7-8
God is the One protecting us from all harm or evil. Evil seeks to harm and surrounds us every day and it may sometimes seem that Christianity will be consumed or obliterated by it, Yet, it will not. Why? Because, God will protect what is His.
Trials and Tribulations
As you read this Psalm, you may think, “I’ve had terrible things happen, destructive things. If this Psalm is true, why didn’t God protect me or my loved ones?” It’s a legitimate question. Nowhere in this Psalm does it say that believers will not have trials, tribulations, or hardships.
From the beginning to the end of the Bible, we find examples of men and women who endured all of those things. We are not spared. God allows the rain to fall on the righteous and the unrighteous. And, the best and deepest lessons we learn generally come via the avenue of pain.
I’m aware that there are Christians who don’t agree with this. I believe that the Biblical example is that we will endure pain and hardship. Even Jesus said that in this world, we would have trouble. He said He had overcome the world (John 16:33).
What did Jesus mean by ‘world?’ The Greek word implies the world order, the system, the entire cosmos. Every power and authority is under His feet. Yet, He said we would have, “Persecution, affliction, distress, tribulation. From thlibo; pressure” Strong’s Concordance.
He’s not saying we won’t have those things, He is saying that He will be the keeper or guardian of our soul. – our very life – “seat of the appetites 1f) seat of emotions and passions 1g) activity of mind 1g1) dubious 1h) activity of the will 1h1) dubious 1i) activity of the character.” He will help protect our appetites, emotions, passions, thoughts, will, and character. We, of course, must participate in this by keeping our hearts set on Him.
God is With Us
What does all of this mean in the midst of the storm? It means that, while the wind may rage, God will be there with you. Even in the midst of destruction, your position in Him will not change unless you forsake your faith.
I know this isn’t the answer we want. Yet, in my own life, the worst situations have led to a profound deepening and strengthening of my relationship to God and my faith in a way I can’t explain. The instant death of my husband of 49 years, followed eleven months later by cancer, were definitely storms and tribulations I would prefer to have been spared. The changes in me, my faith, my love for God are things I would never want to lose. I had the answer to the question – where does my help come from? I knew where it came from and turned to it in my time of deepest need,
Who Will Be Your Keeper?
I was not spared. I had a choice to make. Did I maintain those things in my life that I knew would get me through, or would I allow my pain, fear, loneliness, and temporary hopelessness to become my keeper? It was my choice. We all have the ability to choose what rules over us in life.
So, here is the question I will leave you with. In the midst of tribulation, where will your eyes turn and who will be your keeper?
God is willing and able to keep us in His hands through it all but, we can choose to place ourselves into other hands – the hands of circumstance, emotions, the world, or ourselves. Where does my help come from? True help comes only from the Lord.
- God’s help is given from a pure heart and lacks all selfish motivation.
- God’s produces good in our lives.
- God’s help protects us from evil.
- God’s help is eternal.
I urge you to remember where your help comes from and to know that God alone knows the end from the beginning, sees what we cannot see, knows what we cannot know, and loves in a way so far above what we have here on earth that it is almost unfathomable. God’s will for us is good and pure always.
- “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
- “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:1-4 NIV
- “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV
- “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality;” 1 Thessalonians 4:3 NIV
- “Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21 NIV
- “For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.” 1 Peter 2:15 NIV
- “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:15-20 NIV
- “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” Hebrews 10:36 NIV
Stay steady in God’s will. Persevere, be patient, and hold fast to the marvelous love of God!
**WM uses verses from different Bible translations. To see more information about the copyright for each one, please visit this page – Scripture Citations.
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