“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2)
As we look to the Scriptures today, our world seems to be headed for disaster. Uncertainty abounds, fear, like a plague has swept over our nation, and any person with a measure of foresight can see the tragedy that looms upon the horizon.
As I look at our nation—its leaders, its citizens, the pathway down which it is heading, my heart grows heavy. But when I turn my eyes to the Bible, I find new hope and strength. What wonderful words are found in our text for this hour! Some say that these words were written by King Hezekiah in the days in which the armies of Assyria surrounded Jerusalem. It certainly must have seemed that all was lost, that this was the end; but Hezekiah determined to look beyond the hills of God, to look to the “God of the Hills,” for there was the source of help in needy times. And so today, let us look to the hills.
When we look to the hills, we learn How to Experience Life. We look to the hill of Calvary for Cleansing. As we seek the way to experience life we are told, “He that hath the Son, hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (I John 5:12). So, we must look to Him to experience life. The prophet Isaiah declared, “Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else” (Isaiah 45:22). Notice the Source of its Root, “Look unto me… I am God… there is none else.” There is no other place where life can be found. God alone is the Author of life.
See the Span of its Reach—“all the ends of the earth.” There is one common source of spiritual life—Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He Himself said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). No matter who you are, and no matter what you may have done, the only way to experience eternal life in through Jesus Christ.
Look at the Simplicity of its Requirement – “Look unto me.” There is no great work that needs to be done, for Christ completed the work on Calvary. Our is not to labor to do but to look in faith upon what has been done.
And finally, note the Surety of its Result – “and be ye saved.” It is a guarantee that if we will simply look in faith upon what He has done, that we can experience eternal life. “I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish” (John 10:28).
Jesus used the example of the brazen serpent in the wilderness to picture His death upon the cross. “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:14-15). If we were to read the story recorded in Numbers 21:5-9, we would see that the people were in danger because of their sin, but God had a remedy for the bite of the serpent—it was a brazen serpent lifted on a pole. Those who looked to it in their hour of need were healed, and they lived. Likewise, Christ was lifted on Calvary to bear the judgment for man’s sin, and those who will turn their eyes by faith upon Him can be forgiven and live.
When we look to the hills, we learn How to Elevate Life. We look to the hill of Sinai for Counsel. Life is more than just existing. We should seek to elevate our life. That is why Christ came. “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). How can we elevate our life? By looking to the guidelines for living given to mankind on Mount Sinai.
As we look at what we call the Ten Commandments, given by God on Mount Sinai, we see that they basically cover two areas of life. The first part concerns our Life with the Father (Exodus 20:1-12). Every one of the first five commandments embraces the phrase, “the Lord thy God.” This reminds us that an elevated life is one that is lived in harmony with the Heavenly Father.
Secondly, we see that the latter part concerns our Life with our Fellowman (Exodus 20:13-17). These commandments remind us that there is a responsibility to live life in a way that is a blessing to our fellowman. Is this not what Jesus said when He was asked about the Law of Moses? “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:37-39).
When we look to the hills, we learn How to Endure Life. We look to the hill of Carmel for Courage. As we consider the experiences of Elijah recorded in I Kings 18, we are given an illustration of how to face life in difficult days. When we look at Elijah’s day, we can see that it closely parallels the age in which we live. They were days of Sinful Leadership—the throne of Israel was occupied by wicked Ahab and Jezebel, sinful above all that had gone before them (I Kings 16:33; 21:25). They were days of a Suffering People—there had been no rain for over three years; famine and hunger stalked the land. But there was in Ahab’s day a Steadfast Remnant (I Kings 19:18). Not everyone had gone the way of sin. There was still a remnant who believed and followed God. But most importantly, there were days of a Sovereign God! God was not dead, He had not forgotten, and He was able to do mighty things. He answered prayer, He protected His servant, and He wrought justice on the wicked. God is still alive and well, and everything will be all right!
Finally, when we look to the hills, we learn How to Enjoy Life. We look to the hill of Olivet for Consolation. When we read of the Lord’s ascension into heaven, we find that it happened at the Mount of Olives, or Olivet (Acts 1:1-12). The disciples were gathered there as He was taken out of their sight up into heaven. I’m sure that the Mount of Olives became an even more special place to them. It was there they could reflect on the truth that they had a Risen Savior. They had seen Him, they had touched Him, they knew He was alive! In just a few days they would be filled with a Residing Spirit as the Holy Spirit was given unto them. Never again would they be left alone, for He would abide with them forever (John 14:16-17). It was there that they were given a Real Service in which to be engaged. They were to be witnesses of Him Who had died and been raised to life again (Acts 1:8). This would give real purpose to their lives. They were not merely existing, but they were preparing for a future day of accounting when they would receive rewards or suffer loss. There was also a Returning Surety. Jesus had departed, but He was coming again (Acts 1:11). What’s more, when He returns, it will be to the same place from which He departed—the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4); and we shall be with Him (Zechariah 14:5), and He shall establish His glorious kingdom. This gives us joy on the journey of life because we have a purpose for living and a prospect beyond this life.
Hezekiah knew of what he spake when he said, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2). Let’s look to the hills as we enter this new year and see what God will do.
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Bro. Burcham serves as the Chairman of the Bible Department at Golden State Baptist College. Prior to coming to GSBC, he served as a missionary with his family in Japan for a number of years and then pastored in Missouri. Bro. Burcham also teaches an adult Sunday school class at NVBC.