John Risbridger brings us today’s devotion.
Apparently Saturday was the busiest ever day on Mount Snowdon in North Wales, as crowds flocked to the hills to escape the virus-blues and enjoy the Spring sunshine, in the great outdoors. It probably wasn’t such a great idea – social distancing simply wasn’t a thing on the path to the summit – but I do get it because like many people I love the hills too, and I’ve often thought that was the kind of feeling that launched off one of my favourite Psalms that I’m going to take you through in these devotions for the next few days – Psalm 121.
“I lift my eyes to the mountains,” it begins – and immediately I’m off in my imagination to the Swiss Alps or the fells of the Lake District.
But a sentimental love of the hills doesn’t really seem to be what this amazing Psalm is about; instead looking to the Mountains leave us asking where our help comes from – because many dangers came from the mountains – invading armies; gangs of armed bandits; wild animals.
“I lift my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from?” – that’s the question. And it’s a question we’re forced to ask right now, as the Corona Virus tightens its grip on our nation.
And as I’ve been thinking about this Psalm it’s struck me that most of us have lived most of the time as if we had an answer to that question – my help comes from the government when I need physical protection; my help comes from my money when I need financial security; my help comes from my friends when I need some fun; my help comes from celebrity culture when I need the hope of a better life – and in many ways they are good things that we can thank God for.
But right now they feel pretty shakey and uncertain – the financial crash of 2008; the sex scandals of the celebrity world; the succession of crises in democratic governments – and now Covid 19, which ultimately is beyond the ability of any of us to control. So where does our help come from now? Where can we find security, peace, hope?
Thankfully there is an answer… “My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
Six times this Psalm describes God as the one who ‘watches over’ or ‘keeps’ us.
It is in relationship with him that we can find true help, security and peace – and the courage not to turn in on ourselves but to turn out to serve and reach others in this time of crisis.
So I want to begin this day not with my eyes on the mountains, but with my eyes on the LORD, my Creator, who knows and loves me intimately. And when we do it changes everything – as someone said to me yesterday, “We’re the ones who can be different in this crisis, because we have hope from knowing God.”
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Daily Devotion // Monday 23rd March // John Risbridger
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