Biola Broadcaster - 1967-03

P S A L M 1 21

by Al Sanders

B ack at the B oston A irport , scientists from the Massachu­ setts Institute of Technology have devised a very interesting plan to assist airplanes to land during severe weather when fog has completely en­ veloped the runways. Small tubular pipes have been installed along the strips, from one end to the other. When the ceiling is zero and visi­ bility is nil, the man in the control tower can push a button and tiny jet streams or rivulets of chemicals are shot up into the air, causing the fog to condense and fall to the ground as rain. In all of our lives, from time to time, we are enveloped by a fog. It has a tendency to put us into a fit of depression as we grope in the dark, not understanding what the fu­ ture may be. We too cannot see life’s “runway” before us. The 121st Psalm is just such a portion given by God to help us see the future a little more clearly. I like to think of this Psalm, the 121st, as “the Psalm that lifts every fog.” In the 120th Psalm we find a com­ pletely different mood. This chapter tells us of the problems, the difficul­ ties, the frustrations which abound in everyone’s life. The spiritual fog was swirling around the writer. The 121st chapter, however, shows that the Psalmist learned the secret of rising above the circumstances. Notice, first of all, that this is “a song of degrees” or, in better trans­ lation, “a song of ascents.” Fourteen Psalms are in this group of pilgrim­ age melodies, the 120th through the 134th. The children of Israel sang these songs as they were on their journey to Jerusalem to worship the Lord. The Holy City is some 2500 feet above sea level, which meant traveling over many dangerous and

difficult foot paths to get there. There were rocky borders and high hills that had to be crossed. On their way up, however, the Israelites could be heard singing such songs of praise to the Lord. Each one of us, as believers, is on an earthly pilgrimage. Of course, we are heading for a City much higher than Jerusalem’s 2500 feet. Our eter­ nal destination is for that City whose Builder and Maker is God. Psalm 121:1 begins with the posi­ tive declaration, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills.” That’s a beauti­ ful poetic statement; however, the writer is not talking about the hills in general. Actually, there is no pro­ tective power in mountains or rocks, no matter how high they might be. As a matter of fact, many of the hills through which the children of Israel had to pass were filled with thieves and robbers, who presented many problems. The reference here has to do with one specific hill, name­ ly Mt. Zion, the place where God dwelt, the place to which the chil­ dren of Israel looked for their help in time of trouble. Generally we associate valleys with discouragements or problems. It is understood when a person says that he has had a “mountain-top experi­ ence,” that if has been a high, happy period. We know that down in the valleys are problems and frustra­ tions. David poignantly wrote, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” Yes, there are some diseases, contracted in the valley, which re­ quire the higher air for healing and restoration. We need to ascend into the hill of God too for restoration for our souls. Notice the little verb lift. This means that we must look from our- 3

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