Psalm 121:1 asks, “I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from?” It comes from the Lord. This text combines two great themes: God and mountains. Psalm 125 says that those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion – unshakable and eternal. Even prosperity comes from the mountains, Psalm 72:3.
Mountains and their rivers have long been places of refuge for me. I relish the pristine waters, the green woods, and the crisp, cool air. God is never closer than when I’m in a mountain stream, floating a fly, and hoping for a fish. There’s a boulder in my favorite river that I’ve dubbed my meditation rock. It’s large enough to get on and sit down. And, it’s perfect for praying, meditating, and refilling my soul. From Psalm 98:8, “Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy.” Amen!
It is in the quietness that I can hear God speaking to me. Remember when Elijah ran and hid from Jezebel after he killed all her priests? He wanted God to do something mighty to show His presence yet where was God when Elijah needed his protection? So Elijah ran. After his complaint to the Lord, God caused a powerful wind that tore apart the mountain and shattered the rock – but no sight of God. Then an earthquake came – but no God. Then a fire came – but no God. Then Elijah heard a gentle whisper and that’s when he knew God was near (1 Kings 19:11-13).
Can you hear God whispering through the busyness of your life? Do you need to go out to your private rock and listen for God? Your help comes from the Lord. Can you hear Him?
It’s sometimes said that the one thing everyone in the desert is looking for is the oasis. The oasis is life: water, food, shade, and salvation. When David was running from Saul, he sought refuge in the caves of En Gedi, a desert oasis in a craggy canyon rising up into the blue Israeli sky. At the head of the canyon is the waterfall shown in the picture. If you were in the desert and running for your life, En Gedi was as good as it got.
Jesus offered living water. Living water came from a moving source, like rainwater or a natural spring. He used living water as a metaphor symbolizing salvation and the Holy Spirit. To people living in a desert climate, the metaphor was powerful. It’s still powerful. The Living Water of the Messiah is the Spirit welling up inside of us unto eternal life. David found physical salvation in this waterfall. You and I find spiritual salvation in living water of the Spirit. Praise God.
One of Jesus’ disciples commented on the massive stones used in the Temple. He likely referred to the southwestern corner of the Temple Mount. As the picture shows, the stones were indeed massive. That cornerstone is 39 feet long, 7 feet wide, and 43 inches high, and weighs eighty tons! “Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on one another; every one will be thrown down” (Mark 13:1-2).
Jesus wasn’t impressed with stones or with Herod’s platform. He saw something different, and he wanted that difference to reside in the lives of his followers. For Jesus is our cornerstone, (Ephesians 3:20, 1 Peter 2:6). And each of us is a living stone (1 Peter 2:5). Together we rise up to be a holy temple in the Lord. In God’s house, the stones will never fall, the building will not collapse. Take heart friends. We are living stones in a temple that is eternal. So stand strong!
This photo gives perspective on how big the stones actually are. These were torn down from the huge archway entering the temple grounds.