Thursday, May 13, 2010

My High Places

I recently heard a sermon on Psalm 121 and was amazed at the verse which I have ready many many times over the years, taken on new life and meaning for me.
Psalms 121 starts with a walk along the road to Jerusalem; the walker lifts their eyes from the view of the road and looks up. Looking up they see the hills surrounding Jerusalem. Hills at one time held the high places, the shrines of many different gods. The people would select the shrine which they felt would best suit their need and then go there to make a petition. Eventually, God pointed out – rather strongly – that the high places were where the view of the people was taken off of Him and onto something else.
I love hills, the softness of them from a distance, the way they shelter and embrace you from close up. And at the top, you can see so far. Sometimes though, the hills seem really far and really high – very high and very hard to climb. The roads are rutted, difficult to walk up. Each step becomes one of concentration and effort. Each time a foot is placed, it is checked for solidness before fully trusting. Looking up, I see the top of the hill and declare my effort and exertion worth it.
Looking up on the way to Jerusalem, the walkers would have been greeted with the sight of the high places. Could those really help them? No, of course not. Even the next verse goes on to say, “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” There are high places in my life though, and if you are honest I would imagine that there are some in yours as well. What kind of high places? Well, security for one. I want to feel secure, and sometimes that means that I don’t really want to lean on God, because maybe it doesn’t feel secure. Another one might be trust as I have moved from place to place, why am I here God? Why not over there? Why move again? Time, priorities, matters of value, matters of conscience and integrity, decisions in a fast paced life.
When my eyes gather the view above, on the hills, I need to refocus. The refocus on God lets me cut past the places I put in place of God and realize where my help really comes from. “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”