"Look to the Hills"
We often feel overwhelmed. We often think that something is impossible. But that is seeing only what man can do. With God all things are possible. Our cry should be, “Look to the hills!”
**No AUDIO this week**
Look To The Hills
A. Jehoshaphat was King of Judah. He was a good king like his father before him. During his reign he fortified the cites of Judah and remained true to the Lord. He sought God first in what he did and God blessed him in many ways. Nations around him feared him. He sent a traveling group of teachers and priests to go around the country and teach what was written in the Book of the Law. He appointed judges to serve the country and warned them that they were not judging for man but for the Lord. But right during this time of prosperity, during this time of spiritual renewal Jehoshaphat gets news that is devastating.
B. A great army made up of three nations had come to make war. They had already made it into Judah and would soon march upon the capital city. The enemy was vast. As good of men as Jehoshaphat had and has hard as fighters as they were, they were no match for this vast army.
C. Jehoshaphat was afraid. He knew what the outcome would be. So he did what he had done in the past, he inquired of the Lord. He proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people came together from every town to seek the Lord. There in front of the temple in the new courtyard Jehoshaphat lead the nation in prayer.
D. He prayed these words (2 Chron. 12:6). In his prayer Jehoshaphat openly brought before God the problem. There is a heathen army out there that wants to destroy them and had the power to do it. He ends his prayer with words that made me stop in my tracks (2 Chron. 12:12b).
E. There was an immediate answer to that prayer. The Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel and he said these words (vs 15).
F. Don’t you love stories like that? I do! Because I learn so much from them. You see, I get caught up in what my emotions feel, my eyes see and head thinks. It’s all human. I look to the wrong place for help.
I. Look To The Hills
A. Just a few moments ago we listened to Ps. 121. I want to come back to that Psalm and take away some ideas of the help that comes when we “look to the hills!”
B. The first is a statement of FAITH. The help that the Psalmist asks about is not that of the hills itself. The mountain is not his protection. The writer of this psalm is unknown. The reason for the writing is unknown, but the truth of the Psalm is clear. The first thing a person must to is to look in the right place for help.
C. I believe the Psalm would have been important to both the exiles coming back from Babylon and the worshipers who attended the great feasts in Jerusalem. Either way, they look to the hills. Sometimes, we look at the hills and see only the enemy that surrounds us. Sometimes we see only the power of sin that tempts us. But where does help come from? The Lord!
D. Vance Havner declared, “When a man makes alliance with the Almighty, giants look like grasshoppers.” Isn’t that a great phrase. For too many people we take the view that 10 of the spies took where we look like grasshoppers in our own eyes, but I say look to the hills and make your alliance with the Almighty. Then you will see power at work.
II. What The Lord Does
A. We often talk about the power of temptation. We feel its allure and admit our own sin. But what we often forget to talk about is the power of God. When we realize what we have fighting for us, the power of sin isn’t so strong.
B. It is surmised that when the people of Israel chanted this Psalm they did so to remember the power and might of God in their lives as they journeyed towards Jerusalem. Look what the Lord Almighty does for us.
C. We’ve all been there. You walk outside and all of a sudden you slip. You didn’t see the ice on your front stoop or the steps and down you go. Or maybe you were out in the summer climbing and in the slick grass or the loose gravel of a hill your foot slips and you begin to fall. READ vs. 3-4.
D. The idea is simple; God is vigilant in watching over you. Every parent understands that. But God NEVER slumbers or sleeps. God is constantly aware of you personally. He will not leave you nor forsake you. Jesus tells his disciple “I will be with you always.” When we were baptized into Christ we were given the power of the Spirit of God dwelling in us. It is the constant love and power of God in you. God is not only on your side, God is your vigilant guardian and protector. Keep reading
E. Read vs 5-8. I have been sunburned and I have felt the cold night wind biting upon my flesh. But the writer seeks to express the idea of God’s protection over us. While I will not play down the hurt that some feel or the loneliness that some face, but I will always proclaim that God is with you – in your darkest hour and greatest joy. God is your protector. When, like Jehoshaphat you say, “I don’t know what to do” finish the sentence, “but my eyes are upon you.”
A. I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD!
B. I draw strength when I look beyond me and see take hold of the power of God that is at work in me. God, who created heaven and earth chose me, loved me, forgave me, saved me and empowered me.
C. Do I ever feel like I am slipping? Let me put it to you in the words of Ps. 66:8-12. God has tested you. God has allowed you to be tried by fire, allowed a burden to be laid on your back that feels like it is crushing you, has a taken you through fire and water – BUT – YET – God has brought you out to a place of abundance.
D. The promise of Jesus is that he came to give life and to give it to abundance. Don’t focus on the failure, the lure, the temptation. For if you do, you will fall. Focus instead on the power of God who never sleeps so that you can rest peacefully with him. If we can help you claim the power God has already given, if we can watch as you give your life to Christ in baptism, the come as we stand and sing.