James Merritt - Heaven Help Us
There's always somewhere you can turn, and there's always somebody that you can talk to. If you're in that situation right now, you've come to the right place, and God has a Word for you today. As a matter of fact, there is a song that was written just for you. We're in a series that we're calling "Music to my Ears," and an unknown songwriter, evidently, about 3,000 years ago was in that same kind of jam. He was at the end of a dead-end street. He didn't have anywhere to turn. He thought he was all alone. He thought he had nobody to talk to, but then he remembered there is a God in heaven. There's a God that can climb any mountain. There's a God that can solve any problem. There is a God that can overcome any obstacle.
And he wrote a song that reminds us that there's always help and hope in heaven. No matter what you're looking at, no matter what you're facing right now, don't forget this, there's always help and hope in heaven. Now, God loves music. And how do I know that? Because the largest book in the Bible is a hymn book. It is a book that is filled not just with Scripture, it is filled with songs that you and I call Psalms. Because back in the day, what we're going to read right now was not originally just read, it was actually put to music, and it really shouldn't surprise us because music has been called the universal language. One thing that speaks to every culture and every color and all creation is music.
It really is amazing if you think about it how a song or part of a song or just a little bit of a tune can just get in your mind and can get in your ears and it can put a smile on your face and joy in your heart. And sometimes you go to sleep by it, sometimes you wake up by it. So if you're in a situation right now and you're feeling absolutely hopeless and you're feeling completely helpless, you're at the rock bottom of the ocean of discouragement and you need the rope of encouragement to pull you up, I want to encourage you right now get your mind off everything else, tune in to the station that we're listening to right now, and listen to this beautiful song that reminds us we can always trust God in any situation.
You may not be able to always trust yourself in any situation, you may not always be able to trust your best friend in any situation, you may not always be able to trust an authority with a situation, but you can always trust God in any situation. And this songwriter, who evidently was living where you and I either are or will be or have been, wrote this beautiful song to remind us of three things to remember when we think we've got nowhere to turn and no one to talk to. Here's the first thing we learned. I can trust the Lord to provide for my needs. I can trust the Lord to provide for my needs. Now, this songwriter begins by telling us he's done what all of us tend to do when we're in trouble. He looked in every place but the right place. He talked to every person but the wrong person. He tried everything but the right thing, and he found every avenue that he walked down to be a dead-end street.
So listen to the question that he raises in verse 1. We're in Psalm 121. Listen to this. He said, "I lift up my eyes to the mountains, where does my help come from"? Now, why does he raise a question about mountains? Let me kind of give you, kind of explain this. The mountains in their high places back in Bible days had been centers for Canaanite worship. Canaanites were pagans. Canaanites were the mortal enemies of Jews. They didn't believe in the God of the Jews. They didn't want anything to do with the God of the Jews. They had more idols and more wooden gods and more made up gods than you could imagine.
And so the Canaanite sortified their gods with the mountains. That's why they would worship on the mountains. They thought their God lived on the mountains. In the Old Testament, they are called high places. They're mentioned 78 times. In fact, when the Jews entered the Promised Land, they didn't do what God told them to do. They did not destroy these high places, and here's what happened. They wound up worshiping the very same gods that these Canaanites and these pagans worshiped. So the psalmer says, "Look, instead of worshiping the mountains, why don't I worship the God who made the mountains"? Now, we can bring that up to the 21st century. You know, we don't look to mountains for help anymore, we don't look at other high places, but we do look at other pagan gods.
You know, I can hear the psalmer say right now in 2018, I can hear the psalmer say, "Why don't you worship the God called science? Or why do you worship the God called science? Why don't you worship the God who makes science possible? Why do you worship the God called government? Why don't you worship the God who is over all government? Why do you worship the God called money? Why don't you worship the God who gives you the power to make money and owns the universe"? Then the psalmer reveals where we all ought to look for help. Listen to this, he says, "My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth". He said, "My help comes from the God who made the mountains, who made the stars, who put the moon and the sun in their place, who put the planets in orbit. That's where my help comes from".
And of course, he's talking about the creator of the universe. Now, it stands to reason, just think with me for a moment, for a minute. It stands to reason that any problem you face in the creation, the creator can solve. Okay, you agree with that? Well, think about this. The only problem we ever face is going to happen here. It's not going to happen on Mars. It's not going to happen on Jupiter. It's not going to happen on any other planet. It's going to happen here on this planet, on this earth. Well, God created this earth. And it stands to reason that if God created the earth, then any problem we face in the creation, the creator can solve. I mean, can you tell me this? Who would you rather have as your helper than the God who created you and everything that's around you? A God, listen, who is higher than the heavens, a God who is deeper than the oceans, a God who is above every army.
So now listen to this verse in Job 36, verse 32, listen to this, "He feel", talking about God, "He feels his hands with lightning. He feels his hands with lightning and commands it to strike its mark". Now, I don't know about you, that's the God I want to help me. That's the God that I want to turn to. That's the God that I want to talk to. That's the God I want to trust to provide to me my needs. That's the God I want to turn to when I need help. That's the God I want to talk to when I need help. He is the God that we can trust every single time to provide for all of my needs. So if right now you're in the middle of a problem and you think it's unsolvable, it's unconquerable, this mountain is too high, this wall is too thick, this gulf is too broad, I am telling you we trust a God. We can trust a God, the God to provide for our needs.
Now, here's the second thing the songwriter says, not only can I trust God and provide for all my needs, "I can trust the Lord to protect me in trouble". I can trust the Lord to protect me in trouble. Now, the songwriter goes on to say this in verse 3. He says, "He will not let your foot slip". He will not let your foot slip. In other words, here's what he means. When trouble comes... not if trouble comes, it will. When trouble comes, God will not allow you to fall flat on your face. Because let's face it, let me tell you something about trouble and this is what trouble is so much. You know, trouble would not be as much trouble if you saw it coming and you were ready for it when it hits you. But here's the problem. The reason why trouble is so much trouble is because we don't expect it.
As a matter of fact, it hits us when we least expect it. We're not looking for it. But here's the good news. God's never caught unaware. God's always on the lookout. God always sees what's over the horizon. And so here's what he goes on to say in verse 3, "He who watches over you," that is God. Now listen to this, "Will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep". Now, there's not a parent in the world no matter how much you love your kids, no matter how much your kids mean to you, there's not a grandparent in the world no matter how much you love your grandkids. There's not a parent in the world they can watch their kids 24/7 every single day. There's not a grandparent that can watch their kids all the time, every time, every place wherever they are 24/7. It absolutely cannot be done. You know why? Because even parents have to sleep.
You know, if you think about this, your kids may be in your bedroom. You're not watching over them because you're asleep. And we all have heard unfortunately and tragically kids who've been kidnapped right out of their own bedroom. I mean, it's a gut-wrenching thing to say but it happens because not even the best of parents can watch over their children 24/7 because we have to sleep. And I want you to listen to this. God never does. By the way, that's great comfort to a pastor because I know when I'm preaching at least somebody's not going to sleep, and that's God. So God never sleeps. God is doing more than just keeping his eyes open. He's not just kind of looking with a disinterested spirit about him.
The psalmer goes on to say, "The Lord watches over you". He watches over you. Now, the word there for watches over is that the Hebrew word Shimar. You don't even remember, but the Hebrew word Shimar. It's used six times in this psalm so that tells us something. This songwriter really could have entitled the song "Watching and Watching Over" 'cause that's what the song is all about. Or, you know, I got my eyes on you or something like that. And so the point is that the word for watching over it means to keep, it means to protect, and it means to guard. Well, how does God do that? How does God watch over us?
Now, listen, this gets so interesting. He says in verse 5, Psalm 121, he says, "The Lord is your shade at your right hand". I have to be honest with you. The first time I read that years ago, I didn't have a clue what that meant. If you'd asked me, "Hey, what does that mean, the Lord is your shade at your right hand"? I didn't know. I didn't understand it. It didn't really make a lot of sense to me until I did my kind of my research. Because we're not only told that the Lord is our shade, but you notice the songwriter says he is our shade at our right hand. Well, why not our left hand? What's so big about the right hand? Why is it important to be my shade on the right hand? Well, in ancient days, a soldier had two primary weapons, right? He had a shield and he had a sword, right? He had a shield and he had a sword.
Now, his most valuable weapon was the shield. Why? Because that was the only defense that he had, and almost every soldier had the shield in his left hand. Well, what does that mean? When you've got the shield in your left hand, where is your most vulnerable side? Where are you must open to attack? Even though you've got a sword, you're most open attack from the right side. And what the psalmer is saying is that's exactly where God is always standing in your life and my life, at the most vulnerable point, at the point where we are at our weakest, at a point where we are at our most defenseless. God says, "Hey, I don't just have your back, I've got your side. I'm right where I need to be. I'm going to put my strength at your greatest point of weakness".
So God is always, 24/7, taking up a position so he can defend you and he can defend me and he can defend us no matter where an attack may come from. Well, that raises another question. Okay, I got the right side figured out, but why does he talk about being our shade? I mean, how does that help me? You know, the Lord is my shade at my right hand because, keep reading. "The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night". Okay, now we're going to start understanding what he means by shade, right? He refers to the sun. Why does he refer to the sun? Because the sun gives off heat. Well, we all face heat in our life. I mean, it gets hot in the kitchen of living, but what the psalmers is saying is God will never let you get to a point in the kitchen of your life that will get so hot that you can't stand it.
God will always regulate the thermostat. God will make sure the temperature never get so high you cannot handle it because he is our shade. But wait a minute. Okay, I get the sun. I mean, you can get sunburned, right? I've never heard to get moon-burned. I mean, anybody, you know, do they sell moonscreen? I've never seen it. I don't mind going out, you know, even in Florida when it's absolutely hot and humid. When the sun is down, no problem. You're going out with...you know, if you're a guy, you can go out with a shirt all day long. You don't need moonscreen 'cause the moon's not going to burn you like the sun. So why does he mention the moon? I mean, the moon doesn't cause any harm.
Well, listen to this. This will help you. I just got back from Israel not long ago and our God was reminding us. The Jewish people follow a lunar calendar. What that means is they don't measure days like we measure days. You know, we called days Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. First of all, they number their days. So they refer to day one, day two, day three, day four, day five day six, day seven just like you read in the first chapter of Genesis. Furthermore, we measure a day from morning until night. They measure a day from sundown to sunup. So for example, their Sabbath, which is Saturday, begins at sundown on Friday and it ends at sundown on Saturday. They follow a lunar calendar.
So what the psalmers was referring to, he was referring to days that are represented by the sun and to months which are represented by the moon. And so the psalmers was saying every day, every month, every year, every season, day or night, hot or cold, summer or winter, God always protects us in trouble. He is our shield. He is our shade. He has always at our biggest point of weakness and his strength is our weakness. So you're helpless, you're hopeless, you got a problem you don't think you can solve, you got a problem you don't know where to turn or who you can talk to. You can turn to the God who always provides for your needs. You can turn to the God that always protects you in trouble. And then the psalmer says one last thing. He says, "I can trust the Lord to preserve me from evil".
Now, the psalmers goes on to say this in verse 7, he says, "The Lord will keep you from all harm". We'll come back to that in a moment. "He will watch over your life. The Lord will watch over your coming and you're going both now and forevermore". Now, the word there for keep literally means to preserve. And so what the songwriter said was he will preserve us from all harm, and the word harm there doesn't necessarily mean hurt. A better word for that would be evil. So what it really says is the Lord will keep you from all evil. And the word there for evil, listen, it doesn't mean evil that's done to us. It doesn't mean evil that someone does to us. It means evil that is done by us.
In other words, what the psalmer is saying is, is that God has promised that if we will trust him, and we will follow him, and we will obey him, and we will worship him, and we will love him, and we will serve him, he will not only not lead us into temptation, but he will deliver us from evil. Now, that ought to sound familiar because that's exactly what Jesus told us we should pray when we pray every single day. "Lord, would you deliver me from evil", not from the evil that somebody might do to me. That's a different matter. "Would you deliver me from the evil that might be done by me? Do not lead me into temptation, but deliver me from evil".
Now, let me tell you what that means. Here's the good news. If you are a follower of Jesus, and that's the caveat. That's the condition. That's the asterisk here. If you are a follower of Jesus, there is not a sin that can come to you that you cannot overcome. You may believe there is, you may be convinced there is, you're wrong. Because if there is a sin that you cannot overcome and Jesus lives in you, then what you're saying is that sin is greater than Jesus, and no sin is greater than Jesus. There is no sin that comes to you that you cannot overcome. There is not even a temptation that Satan can throw at you that can defeat you if you will safely live in the flow of God's power.
Now, watch this, God not only preserves us from all evil, he not only watches all of our life, listen again after verse 8, now watch this. Don't miss this. He said, "The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore". Now, this is pretty plain and pretty simple, and it kind of means what it says. Here's what the psalmer is telling us: Every single day that you walk out your door, you go to work, go to school, you run errands, you go shopping, no matter what, every day you walk out your door and every day you walk in, God is watching over you. God is preserving you. God is protecting you. And I want you to listen. He doesn't just work the day shift. He doesn't just work the night shift. He works every shift. He never retires from his job. He never even takes a vacation. He never takes a day off.
What he's saying in this verse is this God, he's going to watch over you today, he's going to watch over you tomorrow, he's going to watch over you forever. No matter where you go, no matter what you do, no matter how hard life gets, he said you know God and you serve God and you love God and you obey God, you walk with God, he will never, ever, ever forsake you. He will never ever let you get into a situation where you're on your own and you're all alone. He will always be protecting you. Listen, let me tell you something wonderful about God. Unlike some people who you may even think are your best friends today, even some people that you may call family today, God will be faithful to the end of your life. God will be faithful to the end of your life.
And, you know, even better, he will be faithful beyond the end of your life. You know, when you feel like you're at the end of your rope, when you feel like you've come to a dead end in the journey of life, when you feel like your enemy is going to win, what your enemy is disease or disappointment or disillusionment or discouragement, I want you to remember some things about God, okay? I want you remember this. I want you to remember who your God is. I'm going to ask you that question right now.
You say you know God, loves God, serve God, obey God, worship God, what God are you talking about? Who is the God that you're thinking about right now? You remember who your God is. Here's the God who made heaven and earth, and then you just remember what your God can do. And by the way, what can your God do? What do you really believe? Not just think, not hope, not wish, what do you really believe your God can do? Let me tell you. He can do anything. You just remember where your God does it. He does it everywhere. You just remember why you're God does it. He does it because of the love that moved him to send his Son, Jesus, to die for you and for your sin. And you just remember when God does it. He does it 24/7. He does it now. He does it forever. This Jesus loves you so much and loves me so much and loves us so much he can't take his eyes off of us. He can't, he doesn't, and he won't. So whenever you hit that point in your life, and you will if you haven't already, whenever you hit that point in your life where all you can say is, "Heaven, help me," don't worry, heaven will.