by Holly Swafford
“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.”
The verse I have chosen for today is one that is very common to us all. We’ve heard preachers quote it. It’s been a strength to many in hard times. We’ve probably seen it written on a sign in Hobby Lobby. So it is nothing new. But I would like to take a moment to take a closer look at this verse than maybe you have in a while.
The first phrase of this verse is “I will.”
○ It implies a personal determination and decision.
○ It is not by accident that the psalmist finds himself looking for the One who is his help.
Then, “lift up mine eyes.”
○ The eyes are raised to find a new focus.
○ It is a lifting of the eyes that surrenders one’s own strength and accepts a need for help from Someone higher.
And finally, “unto the hills from whence cometh my help.”
○ The eyes are lifted above the troubles of the valley to the hills above.
○ The psalmist puts his trust in the God who alone can move on his behalf.
The topic I would like to present today is focus. In a world with so many things to distract us, it is easy to lose sight of what is truly important. We can become so disillusioned by the distractions of the world that we do not see God’s light clearly. One of our human tendencies is to try to fix every problem that comes our way. We get so focused on the problem that we forget to focus on the One who can solve all problems. But we must fix our eyes on Him alone and let all else that would claim our attention fade away.
I’m not saying that we can overcome trials by mere positive thinking and mind over matter. But instead, if we look to the Lord and Master of all life’s circumstances, He will take care of us. We really don’t have to worry about anything. Now as a human, and especially as a woman, not worrying about anything seems outside the realm of reality. But truthfully, God’s Word instructs us that we don’t need to be concerned about our struggles, for we have a God who will supply all we need.
There is a great lesson in 2 Chronicles 20. King Jehoshaphat and the armies of Judah were up against a powerful foe that would have hopelessly overcame them but for one thing. Jehoshaphat kept his eyes where they should be. When fear could have been his focus, he allowed faith to take over the fight. He realized that he was utterly incapable of winning in his own power. Jehoshaphat’s prayer was one we must all come to say in the hard spots of our Christian walk: “neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.”
Jehoshophat found that he didn’t even have to fight. As the people began to sing praises and lift their eyes to the Lord, God did the fighting for them. Praise is often the key to readjusting our focus on God. As we begin to exalt Him, everything that would take His place is debased. And, in Him, the victory is won.
There is a precious truth in this old hymn:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face.
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.
Worry and fear are not the only distractions that will try to steal our focus though. There are a thousand other distractions that continuously present themselves to us. The devil will use anything he can to cause us to take our eyes off of our Lord. He uses temptations, discouragement, and even people. We must constantly strive to keep our eyes on the Help of the hills. We can look past the rough road beneath our feet, across the dark valley, and lift our eyes to the Help of the hills. Whatever else would steal our focus must be lost in our looking to Him.