Psalm 121 begins with a question. Lifting up his eyes to the hills the psalmist asks, “from where does my help come?” Does it come from the hills, the high places? Pagan people did this. They looked to high places where they felt they would be nearer to their Gods.
Verse 2 answers the question; “My help comes from the LORD who made heaven and earth”. This is true today, but what sort of help can seekers expect? Well, this Psalm is the second of some short Psalms entitled ‘A SONG OF ASCENTS’. Among the Jews these Psalms are understood to be the songs that were sung as they went up to Jerusalem to worship in the Temple. In some cases they would be coming from distant lands (remember the Ethiopian who Philip met? “he had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning” Acts 8:27). Remember Isaiah’s vision. “It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains … and many people shall come and say, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD” (Isaiah 2:2,3).
So, what did the pilgrims going to Jerusalem sing about? Do these Psalms foreshadow our going up to Jerusalem in the future? The first one is, “In my distress I cried to the LORD and he answered me. Deliver me O LORD, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue” (120:1,2). This illustrates the kind of help that was sought – and given – to genuine worshippers of God like David. It also shows the frame of mind of those who do not know God and are left behind!
Psalm 121 ends, “The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and for evermore”. The Lord watches over all the ways in which we travel, if we believe our help comes from Him. The verse will find its complete fulfilment when Jesus returns and the kingdom is established – and what a wonderful atmosphere then as we “go up to the mountain of the LORD”.