Looking Up
Psalm 121:1, 2
I will lift up my eyes to the hills, from where comes my help.…

Shall I lift up mine eyes unto the hills? Whence should my help come? The precise associations of the psalm cannot be fixed with any certainty. Perhaps it is best regarded as a psalm of the Exile. It might have been written by a Daniel, as he sat at his open window, and looked away over the broad, fiat plains of Babylon toward the distant mountain-land of Israel. The writer is oppressed with the burdens and sorrows of exile; he remembers Zion, and he sings his soul to quietness and peace by looking away from present cares to the high hills of God, and cheers his drooping spirit by remembering how, amid all the earth-changes, the everlasting hills abide. What a holy power upon us the mountains have! The grand, calm, strong, high things - they seem to be so near God; they seem to be so full of God; they bring us so near him, and fill us so full of him. One thing about them is suggested by our text - they make us look up. And is not that just what we need? Oh, to lose the downward look which has so grown upon us by the pressure of life-cares! The voice calls continually, "Lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh!"

I. WORLD-DRAWN, WE LOOK DOWN, AND SO ARE WEAK. We are in the world - in a thousand subtle ways we are kin with the world, subject to its influences, caught by its whirl of excitement, absorbed by its pressing claims, and easily we become of the world as well as in it. But everything the world presents to us is below us, beneath us; and it so keeps us looking down that the habit of down-looking grows upon us, and we are almost unable to look up. How powerfully we are all drawn by world-interests! Business man is world-absorbed. Domestic woman is world-absorbed. The influence of the world begets a downward look, a sort of set of the eyes and heart downwards. The world-thoughts abide with us, and even when the sabbath day brings God and heaven near, we find it very hard to get our eyes lifted up. Even in the sanctuary they drop on bills and stock and trade. To succeed in earthly things we must engage the whole heart and powers in them. It seems to be the one universal power that this sin-smitten world possesses over its creatures - it bends their shoulders, it bows their heads, it gives, it keeps, the downward look. And what do we see when we look down? Much of self, of man, and of things. The hurry and bustle of thousands who are hasting to be rich. And the shadow of God's curse on sin resting everywhere. It is this down-looking that makes us so weak.

II. GOD-DRAWN, WE LOOK UP, AND SO GROW STRONG. For to men in this world God's voice is ever calling. It sounds from the bright bands of the morning, from the high silver-tinted clouds of noonday, from the splendor and glory of the far-off sunset, from the lofty trees and the hill-tops, and the soaring birds of song, and the winds that roam free, and the "jewel-powdered skies" of night. Would we but stop and hush awhile, we might hear it always near us, saying, "Look up! Look up!" God has often refreshed his fainting servants with the sight of his everlasting hills. Moses was sent to feel the inspirations of Sinai. Elijah was calmed, and made himself again, by the soothing influences of Horeb, the mount of God. Our Lord sought seclusion among the hills of Eastern Galilee, and entered into the Divine glory on a spur of Hermon. And the mountains still soothe and calm God's people. They teach us to look up.

1. Looking up, you find nothing of man's - it is all of God up above.

2. Looking up, you feel how pure God's snow is, and think how much is in the promise, "They shall walk with me in white."

3. Looking up, you see how earth-clouds are glorified.

4. Looking up, listen; you may hear the voices of the hills saying, "Be still! Hush the life-fever! Wait! In silence God doth speak."

5. Look up and listen, and again the voices of the hills will say, "The mists and the storms are all outside us; they are not us." Look up, and grow strong. Look up; you will feel the heaven-breath upon your face. Look up; your brow will soon lose those wreathings of anxiety and care. Look up, and you shall prove how God "wipes away all tears from our eyes." - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: {A Song of degrees.} I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

WEB: I will lift up my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from?

Looking Up
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