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According to Us

One Husband, One Wife, Five Children and Everything in Between

Have you ever been about your business, and all the sudden, unexpectedly thoughts come together in a surprising way that nearly knock you to the floor? Well, this happened to me today.

I was out, picking up the baby from school, nothing out of the ordinary. I was listening to the radio, and they were playing “Praise You in the Storm” by Casting Crowns. (an old favorite of mine) The bridge towards the end of the song quotes the first couple of verses from Psalm 121:

I will lift my eyes up to the (hills)

Where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord

Who made the heavens and the earth.

Those are great verses. I’ve meditated on them on countless occasions. Today it was different. Today my eyes were peeled back, and I was able to see them in a way I have not seen before.

If you know anything about the Old Testament, then you know all the trouble that the young Israel nation had with idolatry. Even before they made it to the promised land they had to be reprimanded. God meant business when it came to worship.  He was the only one to be worshiped, and He made it VERY clear. Fast forward a few years; the people who are in the land have forgotten the deal they made and are quickly blending in Baal and Asherah worship. In fact many times the Bible refers to the “high places”. These were alters set up in the hills for their worship of these nature beings. The worship of God was only to be done in the temple (or tabernacle- depending on the year). Still the people mixed the two.

This Psalm (121) is noted to be a Psalm of Accent. What does that mean? It is a Psalm that a person would sing as they made the journey up to the temple. As the person “ascended” up they would stop and meditate on the journey. The reason I point out the history of the high places is because I think this is what the writer was thinking of when he wrote it. He is asking himself: “When I look up to the hilltops and see the alters to other gods- just who is it that is going to help me? Is it this idol, the god of weather (Baal)? No- my help comes from the LORD- the very one who made the earth and all its weather patterns.”

Of course- thinking about the idol worship at the mountain tops also reminded me of Alan’s recent trip to Turkey this spring. On one of the days, he traveled to Pergamum. The modern city is down below the mountain, but on top of the mountain you find the old theater. In ancient Roman life, however the theater was closely link to the religious life. Not only do you find amphitheaters in every town, but you also find temples. The one pictured here are the remains of the temple to the Emperor Trajan. It helps to imagine what those hilltops meant in the mind.

As I was thinking about all this in relation to that song it really sank into my heart.

Life is so hard.

It can seem like a storm that rips you to the very core of yourself. When that happens, what will be left. Will you be like these temple mounts:

empty and worthless.

Or are you like the Psalmist. Do you know that the LORD is your keeper, protector, shelter, the one who never sleeps, and a guard for everywhere you go.

Where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord

Maker of heaven and earth!

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