Less than a year ago, like many others, I was eagerly awaiting the change in the political climate. Anxious, rather excited about the possibility of the upcoming presidential election, a reserved optimism characterized hopeful conservatives. We were hoping and praying for a change for the better.
While discouraged and disappointed, we were reluctant to recognize the huge cultural, political and social changes occurring over the past year. Although we probably should not have been blindsided, we were still shocked at the speed of these changes. Having witnessed the erosion of so-called “traditional values,” (actually biblical values) such as, marriage between a man and a woman as the norm, we are confronted by an aggressive agenda attacking anyone who does not support or endorse homosexuality.
Television networks, news channels and sports shows, like ESPN, are cooperating in pushing tolerance as they promote this agenda of acceptance. It seems that there is no relief from the pervasive pressure to capitulate to culturally acceptable yet godless values and conduct. Those who object are either ridiculed or marginalized.
On the political front, things are also bleak. The front runners in the race for our country’s highest office practice and promote so-called tolerance and acceptance of what a generation ago was regarded as deviant behavior. Even today, one of the most conservative candidates caved in and endorsed a former opponent with whom he had supposedly strongly disagreed. Now that his “hatchet is buried” one wonders about his commitment to principles.
So, reserved optimism has quickly degenerated into pessimism. What’s next, we wonder. Everything seems out of control. People wonder where they can turn for help.
Many years ago (think almost 3000), the people of God made pilgrimages to Jerusalem. As they traveled, they sang songs for encouragement and endurance. These “Psalms of Ascent” are identified in the titles of Psalm 120 – 134. So these pilgrim Psalms were sung by those going “up to” Jerusalem and ascending to the Temple to worship the LORD.
Psalm 121 will also be of great assistance to us as we journey through life. As the tired traveler presses on he recognizes that Jerusalem is in the hill country. Not only is the Temple on a hill, but it is surrounded by hills upon which false worship was conducted. These idols or “false gods” are contrasted with the living and true God, “who made the heavens and the earth.”
Psalm 121 (ESV)
A Song of Ascents.
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
8 The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.
This Psalm is one of many Scripture passages which reinforce the direct involvement of God in our lives and circumstances. I am encouraged to remember that when I am bewildered and confused, help comes from the LORD, the one with sufficient power and wisdom to create the universe. Our song tells us several things about him and his personal commitment to his people.
Our Creator is our helper. His name, the LORD, reminds me of his personal pledge and commitment to me. Further, he is powerful – he doesn’t need rest and is always alert, watching out for me. The Lord is a protector. He not only keeps me from physical harm, but also from evil. His commitment to me never ends but goes from now and forever.
So, when I am bewildered and discouraged by circumstances, this is one of many Scriptures which encourage me. It puts matters into perspective. The Lord has not forgotten his people. He keeps them day and night, protecting us from harm and evil.