As the pilgrims ascended up to Jerusalem they would sing ‘I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth’. And as they approached Jerusalem they would lift up their eyes to the temple where the Shekinah glory dwelt. Perhaps they were thinking about how God came down on Mt Sinai, how the blessings and curses of the Covenant were spoken out by the Israelites on Mts. Ebal and Gerizim, or how Elijah overcame the priests of Baal on Mt Carmel.
But the psalmist proposes a question, “From where does my help come?” The answer is it’s not from the hills, where they were looking, but from the LORD Himself, who made heaven and earth.
This reminds me of the time Jesus took the three disciples Peter, John and James up the high mountain, when Jesus was transfigured before them, Moses and Elijah appeared, and Jesus spoke to them. ‘And Peter said to Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah." For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified’ (Mark 9:5-6).
Peter’s very human reaction to this miraculous event was to suggest putting up three shrines in remembrance of it. People would have come and worshipped Jesus, Moses and Elijah on such a high place. But what or who would people have been worshipping? These shrines would have encouraged religious ritual rather than personal relationship with God.
Objects of worship had been placed on the hilltops in the past and these had grabbed the attention of the Israelites and moved their focus off the LORD. These high places were places of pagan worship. Asherah poles and altars had been raised up to false gods.
Like Peter it could be so easy for us to move our focus from Jesus to other things that seem good at first, but eventually lead to false worship. God wants us to come into a personal relationship with Him rather than looking to objects and carrying our religious rituals and ceremonies.
Prayer: Dear Lord, may my eyes always look to You, my Lord and Saviour, where my help comes from, and not to the hills that can block me from seeing You clearly. Amen.
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